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News Release
Astoria Receives Two Excellence on Main Awards - 10/07/21

SALEM — Oregon Main Street announced its 2021 “Excellence on Main” award winners today and released videos of all the recipients. A total of twenty-one businesses, projects, partners, and people were recognized. Two of those recognized were from Astoria based on nominations submitted by Astoria Downtown Historic District Association. Videos of the following award winners can be found here

  • Outstanding Downtown Housing award went to the Merwyn Apartments. For over 30 years, the Merwyn sat vacant and was threatened with demolition. The Astoria Downtown Historic District Association saw this project as vital to their goal of restoring 100% of historic district buildings. They approached Innovative Housing Inc. (IHI) to gauge their interest in the project. With interest from IHI, ADHDA received a $100,000 Oregon Main Street Revitalization grant that they marketed to other funders as 'first-in money'. Astoria's desperate need for workforce housing compelled many important partnerships to help this project succeed. Both historic tax credits and Oregon's LIFT program were used to fund this project. All told, the building received a new roof, cleaned brick, restored facade including windows, new west wall, and a full interior restoration. Once about 80 hotel rooms, now the Merwyn Apartments features 40 housing units, 36 of these units are affordable. Astoria is passionate about preservation and this restoration is a case study in careful consideration of architectural heritage and modern needs. The facade remains nearly identical to its original structure but includes a fortified store front and additional emergency exit. Most remarkably the original bar and staircase in the lobby have been beautifully restored. Now the dozens of tenants who call The Merwyn home can walk to work, get a bite from the food carts on their way home, and access wider transportation just two blocks away.

 

  • Volunteers on Main award:  Patsy Oser moved to Astoria in 2013. Astoria Downtown Historic District Association’s president at that time, Dulcye Taylor, sensed a volunteer in need of a job and put her to work on the Promotion Committee. Since then Patsy has joined the Board of Directors, served as Board President during the Pandemic, and is now serving on the Organization Committee. Patsy has consistently raised thousands of dollars for ADHDA by being the 'door-knocker' of their membership campaigns. She'll take home mailing projects and has go-to volunteer positions at every event so staff can focus on other responsibilities. Patsy is a people person in the best sense of the word. She has a love for difficult to love individuals, the patience of a saint, and remembers every child she has ever read to as a former librarian. Her time commitment, dedication to kindness, and 'lead-by-example and nudge when necessary' attitude have been incredible assets to ADHDA and Downtown Astoria. Patsy was one of six volunteers receiving this recognition.

Oregon Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards were created in 2010 to recognize the efforts of those who work day-in and day-out to revitalize Oregon’s historic downtowns and traditional commercial neighborhoods. 13 other towns in Oregon were honored with awards this year. 

“2020 was a particularly challenging year on Main Street,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator, Oregon Main Street.  “Our main street communities demonstrated amazing resiliency, working tirelessly to support, encourage, and nurture the people, businesses, and property owners in their communities. These awards recognize the outstanding efforts of local programs in creating and supporting projects and activities that exemplify Oregon Main Street’s mission to build equitable, livable, and sustainable communities that will grow Oregon’s economy while maintaining a sense of place.”

The wide range of awards is reflective of the comprehensive Main Street Approach™ 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 2020, communities participating in the Performing Main Street and Transforming Downtown levels – the top two tiers – have seen $125 million in private building improvement projects, $124.6 million in public projects, 1,347 private rehab projects, 639 net new businesses, 163 business expansions, 126 business acquisitions, and 3,961 net new jobs. In addition, 250,348 hours of volunteer time has been contributed to local main street organizations in the top tiers.

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage, a division of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For additional information, visit www.oregonmainstreet.org.

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