An Honorable Mention was presented to the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association for their "Downtown Streetscape Improvement" project at the Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Awards Ceremony in Corvallis.
In 2010, dilapidated street furniture throughout Astoria's historic downtown was removed and upgraded furniture was expected to be put in place. After the furniture was removed, the funds to replace the furniture were no longer available – downtown Astoria remained furniture-less for almost two years. The Astoria Downtown Historic District Association highlighted streetscape improvements as a primary goal in 2012.
At the same time the ADHDA was focusing efforts on downtown beautification, the City approached them and the Astoria Sunday Market to support their application for an ODOT grant that would include funding for street furniture downtown. The ODOT grant was awarded and initial funds supported the purchase and installation of coordinated trash cans, benches, bike racks, bike lockers, bus shelters, and planters. Working collaboratively, the City, the Sunday Market, and ADHDA researched and chose the furniture for downtown. The color, shape, and effectiveness of each piece was evaluated to see if it fit within the downtown. The color, moss green, seemed appropriate considering their high moisture content.
To add a bit of color and be reflective of Astoria's history, they also introduced historic images on a few round trash cans, now called the salmon cans. All of the cans are surrounded by a true label, hand chosen from the archives of the Maritime Museum by one of the city councilors. They enlisted the local waste company to evaluate how to make sure the cans were easily emptied by staff which led to the design of special holders to keep these cans off the ground and for easier trash removal.
Once the process of purchasing the furniture began, the city realized they would have extra money. ADHDA requested the city use the excess funds to pay for the rejuvenation of existing bump-outs. ODOT agreed to allow the funds to pay for the improvements and the ADHDA Design Committee implemented an adoption program for long term upkeep. The Job Corps people at Tongue Point installed all the furniture and did the plantings. ADHDA has been working hard to re-establish itself as a reliable community partner since their re-entry into the Oregon Main Street program in 2010. Over the past two years, it was easier for them to focus on promotional events. The downtown streetscape project gave them an opportunity to work with community partners, focus on a project to improve the look and feel of downtown, and has given the public visual proof of their hard work.
"We are thrilled to present this award to the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association for their leadership in working with the City of Astoria and other partners to create a pedestrian-friendly environment in the downtown district," says Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street Coordinator.
The Awards Presentation was a highlight of the Oregon Main Street Conference, a popular annual conference that brings together people with an interest in downtown revitalization.