Urban Renewal has changed the face of downtown Oregon City.
Take a stroll down Main Street and you’ll notice an attractive streetscape that welcomes pedestrians, two-way traffic flow that makes parking and driving easier and over 40 newly improved storefronts that provide an engaging shopping experience.
In the three years since the completion of the Main Street Enhancement project, over 48 new businesses have started up downtown. A cluster of creative services firms have found a home in this renewed vitality, even partnering with the city to continue to attract more firms through an initiative called Blue Collar Creative. Other new businesses were made possible by Urban Renewal Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation partnerships that carved out new space within existing buildings. Nebbiolo Wine Bar located downtown when Busch Furniture pursued an Urban Renewal partnership to adapt and restore an underutilized corner of their store. Creative agency SuperGenius partnered with Urban Renewal to modify their office space to create a storefront for a business to open on Main st. Rehabilitating these aging buildings would not be cost-effective without Urban Renewal assistance.
Preparing for future growth
Metro has designated Oregon City as a regional center in the 2040 Regional Growth Concept. Regional centers serve a market area population of hundreds of thousands, characterized by compact employment and housing development served by high-quality transit. Urban Renewal investments are ensuring that the city is prepared for this future growth. The first priority is attracting growth downtown to fully leverage the existing assets and infrastructure already in place. But downtown cannot absorb all the new development needed as our region grows. Urban Renewal prepares the City to extend downtown by improving key transportation routes like McLoughlin Boulevard and the Cascades Amtrak Line. Urban Renewal seeks to direct development where it can be efficiently served by existing infrastructure. This means cleaning up soil contamination around Clackamette Cove and providing technical and financial assistance for developers who will agree to build on the challenging sites of the Cove and the former Rossman Landfill.
Ensuring Oregon City is “Open for Business”
Urban Renewal activities signal to potential businesses and developers that Oregon City is ready to welcome their investments. If they decide to take on the challenge of utilizing an existing building in the historic core of our city, they can partner with Urban Renewal to improve their storefront or adapt the building to a higher or better use. Small business owners can be confident their employees and customers can access their location on high-quality roadways complete with the bike lanes, sidewalks and transit service they expect from a modern, multi-modal city. They can attract employees who will enjoy the amenities of a thriving community, like the natural beauty of the Clackamas River Trail or the historical significance of the McLoughlin Promenade. Oregon City’s first Urban Renewal district, the Hilltop, sent this message to local entrepreneurs and they responded by bringing over 500 jobs to the district and increasing property values by 1,100% by 2005, when the district was successfully closed. The Downtown/North End district is on the way to achieving a similar economic revitalization in the historic center of Oregon City.
Building a livable and sustainable community
An integral part of bringing new jobs and investment to Oregon City is making our city a better place to live and a community that protects the environment and human health. From planting nearly 700 new trees to adding nearly 14,000 feet of new or improved bike routes and 5,900 feet of new or improved walking trails, Urban Renewal is making Oregon City a more livable and sustainable place. Livability means providing transportation choices, preserving community amenities, and creating jobs close to home. Sustainability means taking steps to protect our cherished environmental resources by reducing stormwater runoff through smart landscaping strategies and reducing air pollution by encouraging walking, bicycling and transit. While Urban Renewal strives to revitalize the economy of a specific district of the city, Urban Renewal investments make Oregon City a better place to live for everyone.