January 07, 2010

The city of Portland and the Portland Development Commission will announce the Portland Main Street Program at a kick-off meeting on Thursday, January 14, 2010, at 6:00 p.m. at Friendship Masonic Center, 5626 NE Alameda St. The new initiative offers opportunities for a limited number of groups interested in forming a Main Street organization focused on their neighborhood business district to receive both financial and technical assistance intended to help build the organizational capacity necessary to revitalize their neighborhood commercial areas.

“Portland’s reputation is built on its distinctive neighborhoods and the Portland Main Street Program will capitalize on those unique community assets,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “We’re excited about engaging neighborhood and business groups along with interested citizens to revitalize Portland’s commercial districts with the Main Street program’s emphasis on local, volunteer-driven, incremental change.”

The Main Street program will have partial financial support from the city’s General Fund, and is closely tied to the Portland Economic Development Strategy, which calls out commercial district revitalization as a key objective. The program is a proven model developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center, known as the “Four Point Approach,” which focuses on organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring of neighborhood business districts. Portland’s program will add an emphasis on sustainability to the National Trust’s four points.

Interested communities must apply through a competitive process that begins in February 2010. Each district selected will receive considerable financial and technical assistance and intensive training. The goal is for each new Main Street organization to embrace and promote its district’s unique assets, while also capitalizing on the abilities of residents, business owners, and volunteers who work and live in the business district. Mandatory training sessions for such groups will take place on February 2-3. Visit the PDC Main Street Program website for more information on the training sessions.

For more information on the Main Street Program, please contact Claudia Plaza at 503-823-3234, plazac@pdc.us. For more information on the Economic Development Strategy, visit www.pdxeconomicdevelopment.com.