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Grants Help To Restore Historic Theaters

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), which includes the Oregon Main Street Network and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), was awarded $665,000 in federal grant funding to implement a grant program for the preservation of historic theaters.  The grant was one of nine awarded nationally through the National Park Service Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program. 

The grant will support the Oregon Historic Theaters Subgrant Program to offer grants for the preservation of historic theaters in communities with a population below 30,000. The theaters must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or meet the criteria for listing. 

“We’re thrilled to bring these dollars to Oregon to support rural historic theaters,” said Chrissy Curran, Deputy State Historic Preservation. “They are critical economic drivers and cultural resources for communities.”

OPRD will partner with Restore Oregon, a statewide nonprofit, to ensure that historic theaters throughout the state are aware of the grants and to support them through the application process. OPRD will develop the program through the fall and the grant application opening will be announced this winter. The program focus on theaters was born from several years of collaboration around the state.

Pacific Power and Oregon Main Street implemented an outreach program called the “Power of Main Street” to discuss downtown revitalization efforts, downtown needs, and priority projects especially related to energy efficiency. One of the common threads of these discussions was the importance of historic downtown theaters, and issues ranging from major restoration costs to the challenges of ongoing operations and facility maintenance. The University of Oregon Institute for Policy Research and Engagement was brought in to conduct a study and report the value and needs of historic theaters, with funding from Travel Oregon and others. 

The study process brought together organizations around the state including Restore Oregon, Business Oregon, Oregon Film, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, and the SHPO to find solutions to assist historic theaters. Restore Oregon was funded in part by the Oregon Cultural Trust to move the statewide effort forward. 

To learn more about the grant, contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oregon.gov or 503-986-0685.

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