Longtime program brings light to Canby efforts

Downtown Revitalization Award for "Outstanding Partnership" from Oregon Main Street during the Oregon Main Annual Conference in Astoria Oct. 2.

This award is given to a community that demonstrates how two or more organizations have effectively collaborated on a specific downtown preservation project or ongoing downtown revitalization effort. Accepting the award was Canby Main Street.

“It’s a great program that has been around for a couple years,” said Jamie Stickel, Main Street manager. “It is great to work with Canby Livability, Swan Island Dahlias, Canby High School and the Eccles Elementary School Lunch Bunch. With a program like this we are really able to leverage the funds we have to create a beautiful downtown that welcomes the people who come here.”

Canby Main Street's flower basket program brings a boost of color on First and Second avenues between May and October. It is a partnership between Canby Main Street, the Canby High School and FFA program, Swan Island Dahlias, the Canby Livability Coalition, and the Eccles Elementary "Lunch Bunch" which leverages volunteer efforts.

Canby Main Street coordinates and provides the funding for the program with the city of Canby providing substantial support by installing the irrigation system in the light posts and planters and provides water and technical support throughout the summer.

The Canby High School and FFA program grows and creates the downtown flower baskets as a part of its curriculum. This partnership keeps the cost of the program very affordable at $17.50 per basket.

The dahlias that are planted in the pots along Second Avenue are donated by Swan Island Dahlias. The Canby Livability Coalition arranges for all of the volunteers to plant the dahlias. Volunteers then deadhead the plants throughout the summer.

In October, the Canby Livability Coalition works to remove all of the dahlias from the planters and helps to separate the tubers, which are given to volunteers as a thank you. This year, the Eccles Elementary "Lunch Bunch” — an energetic group of sixth grade girls — assisted with the planting of the dahlias and petunias andcleaned up around the planters.

This year, 13 planters and 78 hanging flower baskets were planted. This program is in its third year and continues to make a positive impact on the downtown commercial district.

"We are thrilled to present this award to the Canby Flower Basket Program," said Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street coordinator. "This project exemplifies what we look for in the partnership award in engaging local businesses, community organizations and school children to help beautify their historic downtown."

The Awards Presentation was a highlight of the Oregon Main Street Conference.

“It’s so nice,” Stickel said of the award. “There are a lot of great programs in Oregon. Obviously, I’m biased, but it’s nice to be recognized for having excellence in what we do.”