LA GRANDE – Oregon Heritage, a division of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, awarded 28 matching grants worth $5,000,000 to Oregon Main Street Network organizations across the state for building projects that encourage economic revitalization. Projects range from façade improvement to basic facilities and housing with awards ranging from $23,850-$200,000.
The department funded applications that best conveyed the ability to stimulate private investment and local economic development, and best fit within the community’s long-range plan for downtown vitality, and community needs.
Funded projects include:
- Several projects will bring long-vacant buildings back into use including projects by the Chiloquin Vision In Progress, City of Malin, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce (project in Spray), Dallas Downtown Association, Downtown Cottage Grove, Harney County Opportunity Team, Klamath Falls Downtown Association, Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance, and Sheridan Revitalization Movement, Sutherlin Downtown Development, Inc.
- Several projects were for housing increases or improvements including projects in Beaverton, La Grande, and Lebanon.
- Two former local government properties will be refurbished to support local business in Independence and Maupin.
- Roof and electrical improvements will be made to six commercial buildings in downtown Reedsport.
- Several communities were selected for work to repair or restore their historic theaters: Marquee and façade repairs at the Alger Theater in Lakeview; sign restoration and façade repair at the Liberty Theatre in North Bend; and structural work for the Orpheum Theatre restoration in Baker City.
- Restoration of the Malmgren Garage in downtown Talent following near destruction in the 2020 Almeda fire.
Other communities awarded grants include Albany, Moro, Stayton, Gold Beach, Oregon City, and Monmouth.
The grant program was created during the 2015 legislative session, and placed with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. The legislation established a permanent fund for the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant, and provided an initial infusion of funds from the sale of lottery bonds. The legislature included the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant in the lottery bond package approved in 2021. An additional grant round will occur in 2023. The funds must be used to award grants to participating Oregon Main Street Network organizations to acquire, rehabilitate or construct buildings to facilitate community revitalization. The program also requires that at least 50 percent of the funds go to rural communities as defined in the bill.