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A downtown anchor

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tillamook’s indoor public market at Second and Main aims to create downtown foot traffic.


TILLAMOOK The downtown core of coastal Tillamook is mostly a drive-through experience. It sits hard on the highway and most of the tourist traffic heads straight for the coast or turns north, away from downtown, to visit the popular Tillamook cheese factory.

“I’ve watched this downtown slowly die,” says Doug Henson, chair of the nonprofit Tillamook Revitalization Association. Locals chart the demise of downtown, which is more than 100 years old, to a decade ago when a Fred Meyer superstore opened north of town. Henson estimates that at least 30% of the downtown buildings are vacant.

Henson, a co-founder of the local farmer’s market, is also part of the Second Street Market Committee, which has been working for the past year to open an indoor public market at the corner of Second and Main in the historic Independent Order of Odd Fellows building. If the construction that’s now under way stays on schedule, the market should be open by Thanksgiving.

The Tillamook Urban Renewal Agency invested $95,000 in the rehab of the building, which also received $10,000 from the transit room tax and $20,000 from the revitalization association. The building’s owner, John Janac of Portland, is leasing it to the market.

“We’re hoping that the public market will attract a little different clientele to the downtown area,” says Don Hurd, who sits on the renewal agency. “We hope it brings tourists into that part of town, and more foot traffic.”

Vendors can rent a small stall on the ground floor for around $200 a month, which includes utilities. The market can accommodate between 20 and 30 vendors. Henson says that six vendors are signed up and eight are ready to sign. Five of the vendors will be food-related and Henson wants to emphasize the sale of quality goods. “This is not a flea market,” he says. The low overhead for vendors will allow the market to act as a business incubator. Henson also sees the public market, which will be open seven days a week, as a vital anchor store for the downtown.

Henson says the indoor market is just the first phase of the redevelopment of the Odd Fellows property. There are plans to convert the second floor into a convention center, with a commercial kitchen and ballroom, and office space. Each floor has about 8,000 square feet.

The market is part of the town center plan that is incorporated into the urban renewal plan adopted in November 2006. Hurd says that next steps include improving some of the facades on the storefronts and possible purchase of about 12 to 15 blighted properties. More parking and better signage to attract the tourists from Highways 6 and 101 are also needed.

“Our downtown has not kept up with some of the things that would help,” Hurd says. “It’s locked into a time warp.”



Robin Doussard
0 #1 Update on the Tillamook marketRobin Doussard 2009-12-11 11:06:57
I received this recently from Doug Henson:

As you all know, there has been a small group of people working hard to create the public market in downtown Tillamook. Many hours, weeks, and months have been spent doing all the necessary chores to bring it to the point it is now. I am sure each of the committee members would agree that it has proven to be a rather monumental project, but well worth doing.

We had truly hoped to have the market open for the holiday season but for many reasons it is now quite obvious that we will not make that deadline. It seems that there has been one unforseen obstacle after another that has caused delay in our progress. As each one arises we find a way to work around it but it slows down our progress. Any time you take on a project that requires extensive remodeling of a 100 year old building there is bound to be issues and hurdles that surface. Perhaps it was extremely optimistic thinking on my part to believe that we could get it all done in a more timely fashion.

I have spent the last few days talking with inspectors, building contractors, the building owner, and anyone else that would impact a realistic time frame. After listening to each and everyone of them very closely I then made a reasonable decision on an opening date for the public market. That date will be January 30th. This will allow plenty of time for the contractors to fulfill their obligations and will also allow adequate time for the vendors to enter the building without construction going on to prepare their individual spaces. The committee is already working on making that day a very special one....

I am sure that some of you are disappointed in the delay but I can honestly say that we have done all that we can possibly do to expedite this project. The Public Market committee continues to work toward making the market a highly successful project and we look forward to working with each and everyone of you.

If you have any questions regarding the market please do not hesitate to contact me.

Doug Henson

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