Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

Everything old is new again: How the EEOC is reinventing itself

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.


Read more...

Finding a Balance

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 29, 2015
012915-passinvst-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Active vs. passive investing: what you need to know.


Read more...

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

All Rise

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Don’t just sit there. For a healthy workplace, move up and down — and all around.


Read more...

Tweeting Portland's State of the City address

News
Friday, January 30, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.08.19 PMBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

For those who were working, here are a few highlights of Charlie Hales' State of the City address.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Grassroots movement pursues carbon bills

News
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
eventthumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.


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