TILLAMOOK — Oregon Main Street announced its 2019 “Excellence in Downtown Revitalization” award winners this evening at the awards event in Tillamook, Oregon. The awards event kicks off the Oregon Main Street Conference, Oct. 2-4. A total of twenty businesses, projects, and people were recognized, including Klamath Falls Downtown Association’s Klamath Piano Project for Best Place making Project.

In May of 2019, The Klamath Piano Project placed pianos at six locations throughout Downtown Klamath Falls and six artists transformed the pianos into visual arts pieces. The pianos were left in place with instructions for anyone who happened to walk by to sit down and play if the mood struck.

This project was spearheaded by Klamath Falls Downtown Association volunteer Laty Xayavong and sponsored by local businesses. Since installation, many downtown visitors and residents have been observed playing the pianos or enjoying someone else playing them. Professional pianists have also been scheduled periodically. The project gives local artists a chance to show off their art in a new way and gives the community and visitors a creative outlet to express themselves in a public space. It brings joy and surprise to public spaces in downtown Klamath Falls by providing a space for people to gather, celebrate, and make spontaneous connections with each other.

10 other towns in Oregon were honored with awards. “The award winners serve as inspiration to communities across our Network and reflect some of the highest level of revitalization success,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator, Oregon Main Street. “We are so inspired to see how our historic downtowns across Oregon are coming to life through the creativity, passion, and plain hard work of community members.”

The wide range of awards is reflective of the comprehensive Main Street Approach® to downtown revitalization developed by the National Main Street Center. This model is used by the communities participating in the three-tier Main Street Track of Oregon Main Street Network. From 2010 to 2018, communities participating in the Performing Main Street and Transforming Downtown levels – the top two tiers – have seen $97,901,913 in private building improvement projects, $104,225,575 in public projects, 1,106 private rehab projects, 650 net new businesses, and 3,226 net new jobs. In addition, over 207,000 hours of volunteer time has been contributed to local main street organizations.