Home Back Issues October 2012 Regional report: Valley city evolution

Regional report: Valley city evolution

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Article Index
Regional report: Valley city evolution
Salem
Albany
Eugene/Springfield

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

A Good Leap Forward

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nick Herinckx, CEO of Obility, and Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID, share what they've been reading.


Read more...

Gone Fishing

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LORI TOBIAS

Business has been good to Laura Anderson, leading some to suggest she must be awfully lucky to find such success in a business notorious for failure. But luck’s had little to do with it.


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...

The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Proud, diverse and underpaid.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


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