Regional report: Valley city evolution

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

BY LINDA BAKER

1012 ValleyCityEvolution 01
The Broadway Commerce Center, a project of Portland's Beam Development, opened in downtown Eugene last fall and has attracted a range of technology, design and architecture tenants.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

The Willamette Valley is noted for its rich farmland, world-class wineries and charming covered bridges and byways. But if the region attracts plenty of accolades, the midsize cities themselves tend to fly under the radar. Portland generates its own gravitational forces, attracting and spinning out all that is green, tech-driven and hip. But the smaller I-5 corridor cities — Salem, Albany, Eugene and Springfield — don’t get a lot of buzz, and not just because of their size. Lacking a clearly defined “brand” — the rugged individualism of Bend, the tourist orientation of Cannon Beach — these midtier urban areas occupy a relatively amorphous role in the Oregon popular imagination and post-recession economy.

Salem is at once the seat of state government, a center for agriculture and a commuter destination for Portland residents, says John Wales, Salem’s urban development director. But as the Salem economy continues to founder, “We’re really trying to figure out what we do well and who we are,” he says.

In search of the corridor-city identity, we traveled down I-5, stopping in Salem, Albany, Eugene and Springfield. Snapshots of each town reveal different approaches to brand development, along with a few challenges and success stories. Salem is pursuing economic-development strategies that specifically represent the state’s second-largest city, Albany is evolving beyond its heavy-industry roots, and Eugene and Springfield are experiencing a long-awaited downtown renaissance. Collectively, these changes spotlight the evolving identity of a region often described in context of the surrounding landscape and not the individual character of its cities.

 



 

More Articles

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Water World

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


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