Crackdown on crime helps cultivate business in downtown Springfield

      SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Out with the prostitutes, in with the family-oriented businesses.

      That's the narrative emerging in downtown Springfield.

      "If you think about what it was like back here in 2005 and what it is now, it's like night and day," said Sgt. Pete Kirkpatrick with the Springfield Police Department.

      Kirkpatrick said with the return of a family-friendly environment, not only have downtown businesses not tolerated sexual misconduct, but they're also not afraid to do business anymore.

      "You used to drive down Main Street and see 10 to 20 prostitutes on the same street," he said.

      One of the organizations taking advantage of the safer downtown is Sprout! Regional Food Hub.

      Sprout! sits right across the street from the Justice Center.

      In the past year, the organization has transformed the former First Christian Church of Springfield building into their main office.

      Beginning on Friday, Sprout! is celebrating its first birthday - with big plans for the coming year.