About Alberta Main Street

Winner of the 2019
Great American Main Street Award


Alberta Main Street advances efforts to develop Alberta Street as a vibrant, creative, equitable and sustainable commercial district serving residents, businesses and visitors of our community.

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  1. Create a sustainable business district, with positive social, economic, & environmental impacts
  2. Strengthen the district’s ability to attract and support local artists and other creative business owners
  3. Support existing and new small businesses and building owners


  1. Include, honor & celebrate all of the diversity within our community
  2. Ensure accessibility to all income levels
  3. Prioritize the safety of residents and visitors
  4. Be open & flexible to the changing landscape

As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Alberta Main Street is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.


On November 29, 2010, almost 100 people with a stake in the Alberta Street business district gathered at the Alberta Rose Theatre. The conversation was rich. What follows is the result of this meeting, mostly unedited. As we continue to seek input for the long term community vision, this document will remain organic and responsive to our community.

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By 2030, Alberta Main Street created a network of committed and invested community members (business, commercial property & residential property owners) who worked together to:

  • Create the most sustainable (social, economic, and environmental) business district in Portland
  • Foster the development of Alberta Street as a world class arts/creative district
  • Solidify the local, non-corporate small business base on the street
  • Create the most sustainable (social, economic, and environmental) business district in Portland:
    1. Social
      • We have retained and expanded diversity in our neighborhood, which is defined by culture, race, age, multi-generational, income, household type and sexual orientation. Our neighborhood has attracted more diversity by bringing a variety of people together.
      • We have attracted regional and national attention for our progressive attitudes.
      • We have developed set-asides for affordable housing in new residential developments on Alberta Street and helped to create living wage jobs in the district. We keep dollars in the community by shopping and working in the community.
      • We explored partnership opportunities with other organizations to create a community center that is well used. Through outreach with key community leaders, we identified the people most likely to use a community center and educated our partners on the type of community center our neighborhood needed.
    2. Economic
      • We maintained a successful mixed-use district, with residential, office, restaurant and retail space and created a commercial district that brings beauty and enjoyment to the nearby residents and visitors from Greater Portland.
      • Alberta Street supports a good mix of businesses and nonprofits serving customers of all income levels. We have increased the diversity of goods and services available with new stores selling hardware, office supplies, and books. We also have a new credit union and businesses that add to the nightlife. Alberta Street is a regional draw for nearby neighborhoods (i.e. Sabin, Woodlawn, Humboldt) and beyond; these customers bring in outside dollars to the neighborhood.
      • We used our room for development and new zoning tools to increase density, encourage excellent design, and keep commercial rents affordable so that people can shop locally. Our mixed-use district balances residential and commercial interests.
    3. Environmental
      • We created strong and walkable commercial district making a safer neighborhood and providing opportunities for a healthy lifestyle.
      • We have improved the public and environmental safety of our commercial district by creating green spaces, (i.e. bioswales, more street trees). We helped reform the municipal permitting process and also got private property owners committed to our goal of more green and safe space. We have a maintenance system in place for our improvements. Our clean district has adequate garbage recycling receptacles throughout it.
      • Alberta Street is the core of a model 20-minute neighborhood that is walkable and bike-able. By providing advice on transportation issues, we have created safer traffic patterns. We have prioritized alternative modes of transportation over cars by encouraging more walking, biking and use of mass transit.
      • We have achieved designation as an Eco District which means that we are resource self sufficient, especially around water and energy. We achieve social, economic, and environmental sustainability because we are a 20-minute neighborhood. We have food sustainability through activities such as farmers markets, local gardens, personal gardens, availability of local farm produce with food services using locally sourced products. We embody the idea of think globally, act locally.
  • Foster the development of Alberta Street as a world class arts/creative district:
    1. Alberta is known as a world-class arts district and is home to art and craft galleries, studios, workspaces and other arts and crafts businesses.
    2. Celebrations along Alberta Street are funky, frequent and friendly to the neighborhood. Our reputation for being the best funky neighborhood in Portland has grown in the past five years. We celebrate Alberta’s roots through photography, art, events, and other activities. We recognize that the history includes a significant African American heritage and Native American heritage. With a strong signature event, Last Thursday, organized by other leaders, Alberta Main Street has been able to create new events that celebrate our locally-owned stores and the strong commitment to the arts. Sometimes we close the street for special events.
  • Solidified the local, non-corporate small business base on the street:
    1. We have worked to create zoning compatible with our vision so that progressive property owners and developers could enhance our district. All of our buildings are attractive and colorful.
    2. We worked with police and other public safety officials to reduce crime. The partnership between the business community, residents and public safety officials has become a model for other neighborhoods.
    3. We have small businesses — no big corporate businesses — that provide goods and services needed by residents. Our local businesses work together as a network, for example, cross promotions and cooperative purchasing.
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Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is responsible for establishing program policy, approving the annual program budget and determining the goals of the program. All board members have responsibility for governance, fundraising and being ambassadors of the program within the community. In addition to program oversight, the Board:
• Hosts business & property owner mixers
• Recruits new Board members that increase the diversity of leadership
• Increase Board member accountability & improve internal structures
• Explore sustainable funding options & engage commercial property owners in our work
• Strengthen volunteer outreach for Alberta Main Street committees and events, recruiting new volunteers of different races, ethnicities, ages, genders and sexual orientation.

Design Committee
The Design committee is responsible for getting Alberta Street into tiptop physical shape, including physical improvements to buildings, businesses and public space. The Design Committee also:
• Maintains Historical Markers/Cultural Artwork Project
• Administers matching mini grant program
• Maintain Inventory, conduct research and photograph Alberta Street art
• Manage maintenance of existing projects

Promotions Committee
The Promotion committee is responsible for promoting Alberta Street as the place to live, shop, eat and play for both residents and visitors. We also:
• Pilot Retail Happy Hour
• Coordinate the annual Alberta Street Fair
• Organize the September Sidewalk Sale
• Coordinate Trick or Treat Alberta Street
• Coordinate Lit Up & Local: A Month of Merriment on Alberta Street
• Host the Earth Day District Clean Up

Business Development Committee
The Business Development committee is responsible for analyzing current economic condition and identifying opportunities for market growth, strengthening existing businesses, recruiting new, and supporting the overall health of the district. We also:
• Coordinate bi-monthly seminar series
• Link businesses/local youth with mentorship & internships opportunities
• Maintain the new business welcome packet
• Conduct bi-annual business census to track economic indicators

Equitable Alberta Street Grant

Community Plans

“Everyone has the right to live in a great place. More importantly, everyone has the right to contribute to making the place where they already live great.” -Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces

Alberta Main Street is a nonprofit community organization focused on advancing the vibrant neighborhood we’ve all cultivated over the years.

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