Downtown revitalization program Main Street Oregon City hired John Southgate as interim director to lead the nonprofit during its search for a full-time director to replace founding director Lloyd Purdy.

Purdy began a new job as the economic development manager for the city of Tigard on Aug. 5.

Southgate is a native Oregonian, and has spent decades in the Portland region, with a strong focus on urban revitalization. He worked with the Portland Bureau of Planning, the Portland Development Commission, and the cities of Gresham and Hillsboro. He was the project manager for the Interstate Corridor and Lents Town Center urban-renewal areas; he also oversaw the formation of the Downtown Hillsboro Urban Renewal Area. 

And he has managed several noteworthy public-private redevelopment projects in Portland and Hillsboro, including the Venetian Theater and the Fourth/Main project (under construction in Hillsboro’s downtown) which is the first mixed-use infill development in Hillsboro.  

“I have a passion for downtown revitalization and the Main Street program; it’s a great model for bringing historic downtowns back to life,” Southgate said.

Southgate, currently working as a consultant on several projects in the Portland area, is expected to serve as interim chief through October, when the nonprofit plans to complete the search for a new director. The nonprofit MSOC began in late 2008 as a volunteer group with a $30,000 budget. This year, the nonprofit has two staffers and is leading and collaborating on more than $350,000 in projects and programs that are helping bring new life to downtown Oregon City.

“I think John Southgate will do good things for downtown Oregon City,” Purdy said. “John has experience in revitalization projects, great connections throughout the region and he likes working with a range of people and partners.”

Southgate will act as a bridge between Purdy and the nonprofit’s next director, he also will coordinate the search and interview process, collaborate with MSOC’s current partners on existing projects, and push forward on initiatives like re-introducing residential capacity back into downtown Oregon City.

Main Street Oregon City was created as a public/private partnership to lead the revitalization efforts focused on the 170-year-old downtown Oregon City. The program is notable for its downtown-focused programs, projects and partnerships that have helped attract more than 49 new businesses downtown, reintroduced two-way traffic flow to support more retail activity on Main Street, and public art initiatives like the upcoming National Endowment for the Arts-funded Illuminate Oregon City project at the Municipal Elevator.