Portland Downtown Wins Big at 2016 International Downtown Association Conference


Portland, ME, September 14, 2016 — Portland Downtown shined in the spotlight on a global stage last week, picking up two highly competitive and prestigious awards at the 62nd annual International Downtown Association Conference in Atlanta. The IDA recognized Portland Downtown with an Award of Excellence for its Downtown Cadet Program, as well as a Merit Award for its recent rebranding efforts. These accolades position Portland Downtown as a leader and innovator in downtown leadership and management — and put Portland, Maine front and center in a worldwide dialogue about what it means to be a great city.

The Award of Excellence is a new IDA award category that acknowledges innovative best practice entries which were uniquely strong and therefore exceed traditional Certificate of Merit status. Portland Downtown’s Cadet Program was among nine qualified entries in the category of Downtown Leadership and Management. This category features comprehensive and unique organizational approaches, projects, or programs that have improved the effectiveness of downtown management organizations.

The Downtown Cadet Program – made possible through a partnership with the Portland Police Department – helps Portland Downtown achieve its mission of ensuring a safe downtown. Cadets are preparing for careers in law enforcement or the military and are seeking hands-on experience in the community. As part of their duties, they make contact with business owners, identify persons in need, and can enforce local municipal ordinances. Due to the popularity of the program, Portland Downtown increased the cadet program to four cadets in 2015, up from two cadets in previous years.

Meet our Downtown Cadets: Dakota, Morgan, Brian and Tony
Meet our Downtown Cadets: Dakota, Morgan, Brian and Tony

“It’s always an honor to receive recognition for the work we do each day to make Portland a great place to live, work, and visit,” said Police Chief Michael Sauschuck. “We’re proud to partner with Portland Downtown on the Cadet Program, and pleased that we’ve been able to expand it over the years due to the positive response.”

The Downtown Cadet Program is a long-standing program that has adapted with the changing face of law enforcement. In addition to patrolling the downtown area, cadets’ duties include talking to business owners and connecting with local homeless outreach teams to resolve issues of loitering and panhandling. Their positions certainly still focus on ordinance issues, but have risen to the challenge of addressing quality of life issues that a tourist or business owner sees, focusing as well on creating positive perceptions of Portland as a clean and safe destination to live, work and play.

“Portland Downtown’s project received the IDA Award of Excellence for conducting innovative best practice work in the industry of urban place management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The Downtown Cadet Program is a shining example of excellent downtown management delivering real value to the city.”

The IDA Merit Award recognized a year-long Marketing and Communications project called “Portland Downtown: Revamped & Revitalized.” In October 2015, Portland Downtown (formerly known as Portland’s Downtown District) launched a rebranding campaign that refocused public attention on the organization’s work and initiatives. Armed with a new name, a new logo and a beautiful new website, Portland Downtown attracted thousands of new fans and followers through fun community events, mini scavenger hunts, contests on Facebook and Instagram, and eye-catching street banners that celebrate the people and places that make Downtown Portland an incredible place to be.

“Portland Downtown is honored to receive two awards from the International Downtown Association and to be recognized among our peers as leaders in the field of urban place management,” said Casey Gilbert, executive director of Portland Downtown. “The success of our Cadet Program is a testament to our relationship with the Portland Police Department and their willingness to collaborate and think outside of the box. Our volunteer board and committees spend countless hours, months and years working on projects and programs like the cadet program and our recent rebranding, which created renewed buzz for our organization. We have an outstanding city and it is truly a pleasure to work with our diverse and involved stakeholders who strive to make it better each and every day.”

About Portland Downtown

Portland Downtown is a 501(c)4 non-profit business improvement district (BID) in Maine’s largest and most diverse city. The BID’s mission is to maintain a clean and safe downtown while building and promoting a vibrant business, residential and tourism destination. Portland Downtown operates in agreement with the City of Portland to provide supplemental services for the Downtown above and beyond basic services provided by the City to include maintaining cleanliness and safety in the district. Working mostly behind the scenes, Portland Downtown has been committed to maintaining a clean and safe environment for residents, workers and visitors since 1992. It has consistently produced popular city events, developed a successful website, distributed printed visitor guidebooks and maps, and worked hard with other partners to create value for its property owner constituents. For more information, visit portlandmaine.com.

About IDA

The International Downtown Association is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Our members are city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. We represent an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit downtown.org.