Lebanon honored for downtown revitalization

Lebanon was honored with four honors during Oregon Main Street ‘s 2019 “Excellence in Downtown Revitalization” awards presentation Oct. 2 at an awards event in Tillamook.

A total of 20 awards were given, with four mid-Willamette Valley towns receiving nine of the awards; four in Lebanon, three in Albany, one in Independence, and one in Dallas.

Lebanon award winners were:

• Lebanon’s Conversion Brewing won the much coveted award for Business of the Year.

Owners Matt and Rachelle Cowart opened Lebanon’s first brewery in 2015, with help from family and friends to gut and remodel a vacant downtown building.

Before Conversion Brewing, there was very little foot traffic after 5 p.m. Conversion provided a place to go for residents. They participated in or sponsored a number of events that draw people to downtown like The Gambler 500, Swift Summit, and Summer Bands and Brew, and they participated in a campaign to brew a specialty beer to raise funds for those affected by wildfire in California last year.

Alysia Rodgers accepts the award for Outstanding Partnership. (contributed photo)

• The City of Lebanon won the award for Outstanding Partnership.

The city and Lebanon Downtown Association are listed as partners on 20 strategic action items in Lebanon’s 2040 Vision and Plan. This partnership has resulted in the restructuring of the city’s incentive program to allow both micro-grants and interest payment for larger projects, to increased and on-going funding of $25,000 for LDA’s main street manager, to LDA providing assistance to getting Urban Renewal passed without issue.

Dala Johnson won Board Member of the Year. (contributed photo)

• Lebanon’s Dala Johnson won the award for Board Member of the Year.

Johnson, who volunteers many hours in local causes and activities, has been involved with the Lebanon Downtown Association for the past 12 years as either a board member or volunteer.

Johnson has helped the organization create a more diverse funding base, including working with the city for support through the transient lodging tax. She has worked thousands of hours creating posters, doing marketing campaigns, approaching sponsors, working with businesses, gathering volunteers, and putting on events to keep the LDA a vibrant part of the community.

• Lebanon’s T.W.E.R.K. Project won the award for Best Design Education Activity.

Duck Buddies LLC, owner of a historic building in downtown, used its building, popularly recognized as the “Treml’s Building,” as a model for using available resources and best practices in historic preservation.

Duck Buddies did several things to create buzz about the restoration of the prism glass transom windows beneath sheets of plywood including a kick-off celebration the day the uncovering took place, a lighting celebration when the project was completed that included dancing behind the transoms.

It also helped promote awareness of var-ious programs aimed at downtown restoration.

Since this project happened, four more transom restoration projects are under way and Lebanon’s incentive program has eight applications for their next round of funding and another successful application for the Diamonds in the Rough grant.

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