We are privileged to live in an area where preserving the multi-faceted tapestry of our history is important to us. This is especially evident in Salem's downtown core which was designated as a National Register Historic District in 2001. Recently, folks who are particularly concerned about maintaining a vibrant life in our historic downtown banded together to preserve and promote that area. Hazel Patton, with the Salem Main Street Association, and Sheri Stuart, the coordinator for Oregon's Main Street Program, appeared on our radio program to tell us more about this program and how it can help revitalize the historic downtowns of cities within our state.
The Promotion committee oversees recurring events such as First Wednesdays and On Your Feet Fridays, among other pop-up events. One of their most recent events celebrated the businesses that have been taking over the downtown alleyways by promoting a contest to name the alleyways within the historic district's downtown core.
SMSA reached out to the Historic Landmarks Commission for some historic background for potential names, and the public voted during downtown events this past summer. Eight of the nine designated alleyways were named, with the ninth name being determined by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to commemorate our Native American heritage. The City has installed sign-toppers on the street signs, and the alley names will be marked in the concrete being installed as part of planned upcoming street improvements.
To read the HLC report, click here. To view a larger map of the alleys, click here.
Currently there are 91 communities all across Oregon participating in the program at one of the four levels. The graphic above denotes those communities participating at the higher levels. For a list of all the participating communities, check out their website highlighted above.
We are so very fortunate that a national organization expended the effort and resources to produce and promote a program that could be the very lifeline for our historic downtowns. If you know of a community struggling with its downtown viability and sense of place, share this information with them.
To listen to the full recorded episode, click here.