Jobs and Economic Development on Main Street


The Revitalize Main Street Act 


Thank you for your support of the Revitalize Main Street Act!

Unfortunately despite a groundswell of support from across the state, SB 565 was not included in the omnibus tax credit package approved at the close of session. We just could not overcome the budget shortfall for tax credits. In fact, NO new tax credit programs were passed and many existing ones were allowed to expire.

The GOOD news is that our efforts helped to pass a complementary bill from Speaker Kotek’s office, providing $2.5M in Lottery funding for economic development projects in communities participating in the Oregon Main Street program. This could generate several historic rehabilitation pilot projects to bolster our case in future sessions.
Restore Oregon's Executive Director Peggy Moretti



Peggy Moretti, Exec. Director


Many of Oregon’s historic downtowns are suffering from a downward spiral of dis-investment and neglect. It’s time to turn that around. We can attract new investment to revitalize our Main Streets as desirable places to live, work, and shop.

Restore Oregon is bringing forward legislation (SB 565) in the 2015 session to create a Historic Rehabilitation Fund:

  • Provides a 25% rebate for certified rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings – stores, hotels, theaters, apartments, fraternal lodges, factories, mills, and other income-producing properties.
  • Targets the most important properties – those listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Buildings must retain historic integrity.
  • Requires a minimum rehab investment of $10,000.

The rebate is funded by a public auction of state income tax credits at a capped amount. (Like the film production credit, with the added benefit of creating tangible assets that last for decades.)

Why Do We Need It?

  • The high cost of restoration, code upgrades, and seismic reinforcement often leaves a funding gap, placing rehabilitation out of reach financially.
  • The state rehab rebate can be paired with the federal Historic Tax Credit (20%) to close the financial gap keeping many buildings from being restored.
  • Oregon’s current financial toolkit falls short. Federal and local incentives are available, but the state is the missing partner needed to attract more private investment.
  • Investment in rural communities is especially important. Approx. 2,600 buildings in 77 towns could use the credit. Two-thirds are outside of Portland.

How Would Our State Benefit?

  • Job creation. Rehabilitation of old buildings creates more jobs dollar-for-dollar than new construction, manufacturing, services, and most other industries (Rutgers University Study, 2013).
  • Reactivated Main Streets. Upper floors become occupied, new businesses move in, tourists pull off the highway to eat and shop.
  • More income tax revenues. New jobs will be created through construction, suppliers, services, and the businesses that move into the refurbished buildings.
  • More local tax revenues. Property values go up to pay for local services.
  • Safer, seismically upgraded buildings. with ADA and fire code compliance.
  • Reuse of existing infrastructure. Saves money and the environment.
  • Productive, tangible assets. The state and local economy (and cultural heritage) is enriched for decades.

Well Tested in 35 Other Statesstate-tax-credit-map-RED-GREEN-YELLOW

  • 35 states offer a rehabilitation incentive or tax credit.
  • State incentives create a ripple effect in local economies. In North Carolina, every dollar generates $12.51 in economic benefit. In Ohio, every dollar of state tax credit leverages $6.25 in investment. In Minnesota, every dollar creates $8.32 in economic activity. In North Carolina, it generates $12.51 in economic benefit.

Projected Economic Impact for Oregon

An economic impact study conducted by EcoNorthwest determined that Oregon would benefit significantly from a state Historic Rehab Incentive.  By 2018 with a state investment of just $10.6M we would see:

  • 4X more buildings rehabbed than without the state incentive.
  • 1,369 jobs per year generating income of $25.5M.
  • $2.3M net increase in property taxes per year to pay for schools and services.
  • $13.3M new federal Historic Tax Credit dollars spent in Oregon per year.
  • $33.7M net increase per year in state GDP.

Still not convinced? Here is an article with 10 Reasons to Pass the Revitalize Main Street Act.

Our Main Streets Matter.
Raise Your Voice!

  • Add your name to the list of those endorsing the Revitalize Main Street Act to create a historic rehab incentive (see upper right of this page).
  • Join Restore Oregon and make a donation to support our legislative effort.
  • Contact your state Representative and Senator, tell them Oregon needs this, and ask them to support the Revitalize Main Street Act (SB 565).
  • Email us examples of historic buildings on your Main Street that, but for a rehab rebate, won’t be brought back to life.



Statewide Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation