Driving around Oregon, who doesn’t pay attention to the small historic Main Streets? The brick storefronts that once housed independent hardware stores, clothiers and groceries. If they’re neglected and punctuated with boarded up windows? Depressing! Makes a person want to hightail it rather than hangout. Restoring historic main streets should be a priority for our state governments.
But a repaired and cared-for downtown is something altogether with the past helping to create a brighter future. There’s a sense of place. This town can see where it’s been and so understands where it’s headed.
Knowing this, Indow signed on as a supporter of Restore Oregon’s Revitalizing Main Street Act, which was just introduced in the Oregon legislature as SB 565. It’s no secret we care about and saving historic buildings with their historic wavy, leaded-glass windows. The act will create a Historic Rehabilitation Fund to provide a 25 percent rebate for rehabbing historic commercial buildings including stores, hotels, theaters, apartments, factories and mills. Restoration, seismic retrofitting and code compliance all cost loads of money and this rebate would offset that. Restore Oregon commissioned an economic study that shows the act will lead to:
- More jobs
- New businesses
- Higher property values
As Restore Oregon Executive Director Peggy Moretti said in a statement, “There is a small army of intrepid citizens eager to buttress foundations, re-shingle roofs, re-point brick, restore marques, re-glaze windows, and open businesses.They see the potential to remodel upper floors into housing, transform warehouses into office lofts, convert shuttered movie theaters into arts centers, and open restaurants that showcase local produce and microbrews. These entrepreneurs of Main Street lack just one thing: a complete financial toolset.”
Thirty-four states have enacted similar tax credit programs. Oregon is too awesome a state to let its Main Streets fade into history. Help bring them to life by adding your name to the list of supporters too!