Oregon Main Street announced its 2017 “Excellence in Downtown Revitalization” award winners on October 4th, at the Evening of Excellence Celebration in Oregon City, Oregon. Baker City was honored with four awards.

The Birdcage, an art piece placed in Downtown Baker City, won the award for Best Placemaking Project. Local artist, Tom Novak, designed it and local businesses, Baker Welding and Natural Structures, helped fabricate and finish the cage. This piece is one of kind and has started the conversation among other store owners to look at providing something interactive and fun for visitors and locals.

The Mann Block won the award for Outstanding Upper Floor Renovation. Robert Anders gave new life to the second floor of an historic building in downtown Baker City. The project included an interior staircase so that access wasn’t through the neighbors exterior entrance, ceiling insulation covered with corrugated metal, restored windows with the original moldings, interior walls, paint, new plumbing, heat and electrical.

Baker Technical Institute (BTI) won the award for Outstanding Partnership. BTI’s Natural Resource Brownfield Program has become the local champion through student led projects for identifying Brownfield sites and recognizing the economic need to turn them into viable pieces of real estate. The students shared their survey and assessment results with Baker City Downtown, the Baker County Economic Development Council, and City officials.

Projects in eleven other cities in Oregon were honored with awards. “The award winners reflect some of the highest achievements in downtown revitalization efforts across the state,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator, Oregon Main Street. “It is simply amazing to see the people and partnerships that develop focused on enhancing the vitality of the historic core of their communities and the projects they implement primarily through volunteer efforts.”

The wide range of awards is reflective of the comprehensive Main Street Approach(R) to downtown revitalization developed by the National Main Street Center. This model is used by the communities participating in the three-tier Main Street Track of Oregon Main Street Network. From 2010 to 2016, communities participating in the Performing Main Street and Transforming Downtown levels — the top two tiers — have seen $75,740,994 in private building improvement projects, $91,222,600 in public projects, 1,082 private rehab projects, 561 net new businesses, 121 business expansions, and 2,699 net new jobs. In addition, close to 176,000 hours of volunteer time has been contributed to local main street organizations.

Oregon Main Street is part of Heritage Programs, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For additional information, visit: www.oregonheritage.org