Oregon City, Oregon - A "Main Streets in 3D" Community

Oregon City Oregon DowntownOregon City, Oregon, (31 square blocks, 170 buildings, pop. 35,000) was selected as one of the 2010 Main Street in 3D project communities. This page will track the community's progress as it models its downtown using Google SketchUp and Earth and shows how this 3D visualization tool can be used for revitalization and presservation.


Oregon City, at the end of the Oregon Trail, has a lot of history and a bright future. It plans to use a 3D rendering of its downtown to explore the potential of its historic buildings, public spaces, and downtown environment. The Main Street program and its partners are excited to apply a single tool to its comprehensive, multi-faceted revitalization work – for current, ongoing projects as well as future activities. The group hopes to empower local artists, photographers, city government officials, and aspiring designers to learn new design skills and improve the downtown area. They plan on turning the city's 2D downtown redevelopment plan into a 3D plan that envisions an improved pedestrian environment, enhanced sidewalks and streetscapes (in time for a planned $3 million project), and sensitive design changes to historic buildings. Last year, the city saw 14 new businesses open and $1.3 million invested in building improvements. Main Street Oregon City plans to use its 3D downtown to attract more new businesses and investment by helping potential investors visualize the potential of empty lots and dilapidated buildings. "Pop ups" in Google Earth will not only showcase heritage attractions, but also provide an interactive business directory that will give entrepreneurs an added incentive to open businesses in the city. Lastly, the organization's partnership with Funnel Box Motion Pictures Studio will incorporate the 3D model into a creative video that will document some of the most creative adaptive reuses of Oregon City's historic buildings and will serve as an innovative marketing and investment tool.

October Progress Update 

Oregon City 3d Model Elevator
3D Model of the Oregon City Elevator created as part of the community's SketchUp class. 

Carter Stein, chairman of the Main Street Oregon City Design Planning and Preservation Committee, reports that the Sept. 14 on-site training with Alex Oliver, CEO of Igloo Studios, brought a great range of volunteers to the project, including representatives from the city, county and regional government.

The volunteers got a fast-paced introduction to so the group says it is ready to quickly model the downtown. The first part of the course focused on introducing the SketchUp drawing tools in order to create a mass model of Independence Hall, and to apply photos as “texture” to make the form more realistic. In the afternoon, Alex led the class in an exercise to model the Clackamas County Courthouse on Main Street, and to demonstrate how the completed model could be shared with the Google 3D Warehouse and viewed in Google Earth.

Main Street Oregon City is on the lookout for a volunteer coordinator to lead the volunteer projects and is developing a work plan that guides the volunteer effort and focuses attention on downtown blocks.