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Taking Yamhill County history into the future

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Monday, January 01, 2007
Springbrook0107.jpg Springbrook once boasted a cannery and busy train depot.

NEWBERG — Before there was a Newberg, there was a Springbrook, an agricultural hamlet with a hotel, a school, a church and a cannery.

Over the next few years, Springbrook will rise again, under the watchful eye of philanthropist and entrepreneur Joan Austin.

At the end of November, Austin announced her intention to develop 433 acres with a mixed-use community including a luxury inn, spa, restaurant, retail village, parks and a collection of homes.

Austin, executive vice president of Newberg dental equipment manufacturer A-dec, says she hopes the inn will open sometime in 2009. “We’ll have to move along to get that to happen.”

The plan is getting love from winemakers who applaud the fact that the development will happen on land inside the urban growth boundary and won’t compete with the vineyards.

“It’s a really cool project because it meets the requirements of so many stakeholders,” says Mary Arnstad, a consultant working with Austin.

Arnstad, who has held management positions at Portland’s Heathman Hotel, Bend’s Broken Top, the Ashland Springs Hotel and the Salishan Lodge in Gleneden Beach, says it’s an honor to be working on the Springbrook project. “I feel like I’m back with John and Betty Gray at Salishan,” she says, referring to the hotel’s original developers.

Austin says she entertained offers from other developers to buy the land, but she wanted to keep control of how Springbrook would look and feel — and that includes preserving the old schoolhouse and making sure the agricultural past is remembered.

— Christina Williams

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