River city success

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012

BY JON BELL

0912 RiverCitySuccess 01
Above: Officials in The Dalles hope a new festival plaza, visible from I-84 and close to a riverfront trail, will spur new activity along the river and in downtown.
Below: The Sunshine Mill in The Dalles sat empty for nearly 30 years. Since 2009 its been the home of Copa Di Vino winery, and though the economy has applied the brakes, plans are to develop the entire building into condos, retail and office space.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears
0912 RiverCitySuccess 02

If there is a single landmark in The Dalles that can best represent the transition this riverside city — a 155-year-old town overflowing with landmarks — is currently going through, it might as well be the historic Sunshine Mill.

Towering seven stories above the Columbia River at the east end of town, the old wheat mill, from a distance, looks every bit of its roughly 100 years: gritty, weathered and, if one didn’t know any better, practically abandoned.

Yet closer up, there are real signs of life. Festive lights dangle from a log fence enclosing an inviting terraced courtyard. Inside, the original mechanical guts — giant pulleys, belts and pipes — speak to the mill’s past life; wine-bottle chandeliers and pyramids of Copa Di Vino single-serve wine glasses reveal its present as the Historic Sunshine Mill Winery.

In 2009 James and Molli Martin, with the help of the city’s Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency, moved their Quenett and Copa Di Vino wineries into the mill. Nearly three years later, Copa is distributed in at least 40 states. The company produces the equivalent of 70,000 cases of wine annually, saw full- and part-time employment jump from seven to 74 in less than two years and is on its way to $5 million in sales.

“I think we’re definitely changing people’s minds about The Dalles,” says the Martins’ daughter, Natasha, who manages the winery’s popular tasting room.

The old mill may be one of the most visible revitalizations in The Dalles, but it’s not the only one. Years of effort from myriad entities — government, private businesses, Columbia Gorge Community College, the Port of The Dalles and The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce, to name a few — are paying off in several high-profile projects that embody both the storied past of The Dalles and its transition into a more modern and innovative destination in the Columbia Gorge.

“When I first got here 11 years ago, it was like a page out of the old West,” says David Griffith, owner of Griffith Motors, a Toyota and Honda dealership that recently moved to a larger location on the west end of town. “Now, I think The Dalles is in a little bit of a breakout mode.”

 



 

More Articles

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Downtime with the director of Barley's Angels

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play with Christine Jump.


Read more...

Shades of Gray

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Are we too quick to diagnose corruption?


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


Read more...

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS