On the road

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Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
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BY ROBIN DOUSSARD

If you live in Portland or on the Coast, the best thing about the Newberg-Dundee bypass that will be completed in 2016 is you won’t have to sit through the legendary traffic jam on Oregon 99W as it runs through the center of both towns.

But if you live in Newberg or Dundee, the best thing about the new bypass — 25 years in the making — is that it gives you the chance to rethink, rebuild or recover the charm of your wine-country town. Now that the first phase of the bypass is a reality, it opens up possibilities for each city and allows the conversation to begin — or accelerate — about the shape of the future.

For Newberg, the opportunity to reclaim its remarkably intact and historic downtown in a lasting and meaningful way is another building block in its ongoing growth and revitalization. As you try to speed through town on the highway, it’s easy to get the impression that Newberg is a tired, hard-by-the-highway town. Indeed, this is one of the state’s worst choke points, and it has stymied business growth for decades throughout Yamhill County. But that windshield view misses Newberg’s graceful buildings, the Willamette River, the town’s strong civic leadership and a good jobs base. The ingredients for the burgeoning success of Newberg also include “just damned good luck,” laughs Mike Ragsdale, the executive director of the Newberg Downtown Coalition.

Ragsdale has no problem ticking off what he sees is working. “Even without the bypass, Newberg has great potential; even with the traffic, we are seeing a resurgence,” he says. “Downtown has great potential. It’s got great buildings and density. There were 11 vacancies three years ago; now there are only three. Now there are eight or nine wine-tasting rooms.”

With the bypass, Ragsdale and other town leaders see a huge opportunity to speed up progress, likening Newberg right now to McMinnville’s potential 20 years ago, when the highway still ran through its downtown heart, and before Third Street became a lovely haven of boutiques, wine-tasting rooms, restaurants and robust retail.

“They are going to be getting their downtown back,” says Dave Haugeberg, McMinnville attorney and chair since 1988 of the Yamhill County Parkway Committee, who worked for 25 years on the bypass project. “The bypass won’t get it entirely back, but getting rid of truck traffic is huge. Having 20,000 cars go by your business that don’t want to stop is not conducive to business whether you own a McDonald’s or a small boutique.”

Despite a recent Sunset magazine article that declared it a “former pass-through town” with the kind of food, wine and art “you used to find only deeper inside the Willamette Valley,” Maureen Rogers, owner of the Chapters Books and Coffee on First Street for seven years, says much more is needed to create a thriving downtown. Just reducing the flow of traffic won’t be enough to turn it around. “We need more reasons to get out of your car,” she says — reasons such as more restaurants, more retail, more parking.

But it’s a great start. Over the next several years, as the bypass gets built, the town plans to continue rehabbing downtown buildings and making street improvements, and it is just beginning the process of revisiting and sharpening its strategic vision. “We have a vision of what we could be, not what we used to be,” says city manager Dan Danicic.

“The bypass will help solidify our goals, like getting our downtown back,” says Newberg mayor Bob Andrews, “and to create a greater physical connectivity in the community. We want to establish a neighborhood lifestyle.”



 

Comments   

 
Guest
-2 #1 Not happyGuest 2012-11-09 00:26:00
Yea! Great! Not! The bypass is running thru our back yard, literally! Taking away our view of the fields and tress and instead getting to look at cars and hear them. We moved to Dundee to get away from cars and people, not to have it in our back yard. Thanks a lot!! Great planning people!
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Guest
0 #2 Agree with aboveGuest 2012-11-15 00:06:21
I'm glad the traffic will be less going through Newberg and Dundee. But I also empathize with the above comment as the bypass will also be right in front of my house. Cutting down two beautiful HUGE trees. And my view from my bedroom window will now be a highway. Well here's hoping we can sell our house before all that happens.
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Guest
0 #3 Another guestGuest 2012-11-20 15:36:00
The most expensive project in ODOT history to save six minutes driving time. This 3.5 mile two lane highway is an economic waste, besides being dangerous. It is projected to only carry 40 percent of the traffic on the route. The rest of 99W through the area remains in pitiful condition.
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Guest
0 #4 Excited about the possibilitiesGuest 2012-11-21 14:47:18
I would love to see Dundee revitalized! It is such a prime location in wine country. As it is, I've avoided this stretch of road for decades -- not only Newberg and Dundee, but McMinnville and the entire route to Lincoln City due to the traffic. (I once spent more than 30 minutes between Newberg and Dundee. That was the tipping point.) I feel for the people who are losing land and views. I hope the benefit to the community will make it worthwhile.
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Guest
-1 #5 Long Overdue...Guest 2012-11-27 17:02:30
Sorry about the folks who will be impacted by the new Bypass however its been years in the making so if you didn't plan accordingly, you're going to be impacted. I disagree with one commenter...it won't save 6 minues off going around Dundee and Newberg...try more like about 20 mins or more.
This project is long overdue. I hope it also leads to construction of the long delayed I-5 to 99W connector project.
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Guest
+1 #6 Plan accordingly???Guest 2012-11-28 23:26:38
I've lived in my current home since 2008. When we bought the house we were not aware of the bypass project and did not know it was going to be in front of our house. As someone who is not a long time Newberg resident the bypass project is not something I could have "planned accordingly" for! And even in the few years we have lived here the bypass plan has changed many times.
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Guest
0 #7 Yes, Plan AccordinglyGuest 2012-11-28 23:45:57
The concept of a Newberg Dundee Bypass has been tossed around since the late 1970s. The 1995 Oregon Legislature passed a bill allowing for a Newberg Dundee Bypass toll road to be built; it was not built 'cause it was determined at that time not to be feasible. An Australian Company was going to build the Bypass but its investigation into the project revealed it was not financially do-able.
Do a google search for the ND Bypass and you will see articles going back at least 20 years on the Bypass. If your Realtor didn't disclose this information to you when you bought your house then you might have a case against them. My girlfriends parents were going to buy a piece of property along the golf course at the west end of Newberg near the hospital about 10 years ago and I strongly advised them not to 'cause the Bypass will go right by it one day (this will be phase II)
This Bypass is not new news...its been in the works for a long time. Sorry it will impact you.
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Guest
0 #8 True but.....Guest 2012-11-28 23:56:39
It may be old news to you, but as I stated before I am not a long time resident of the Newberg area. I grew up in Eastern Oregon and what happens in Yamhill county is not news over there. I am not trying to start anything with you, just telling it from the thoughts of someone who will be directly affected by this. Our house will not sell for what we still owe on it at this time, so we are just hoping that in the next few years we can put it up for sale and move before the construction starts.
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Guest
-1 #9 Resident(Former )of Newberg..Guest 2014-01-05 13:07:32
People:Before you invest in a home,DO THE RESEARCH.I spent much time calling(wasnt even online to deeply investigate the"bypass"that ,indeed,has been in the making since I did my homework in 1996.Contact O.D.O.T:I bought in Beautiful SunnyCrest.Dayt on Av./N.side were going to be a problem.All homes/sites should be researched before you invest in something as sweet as your own home.Dont blame Bypass:It's called"Relief". Coping w/ALL those trucks everyday was nauseating!
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Guest
+1 #10 Really??Guest 2014-01-08 00:28:20
For all of you that say do RESEARCH, think about it people. When you have lived in the same house FOR YEARS it's kind of hard to do RESEARCH and PLAN ACCORDINGLY when the By Pass location wasn't set into stone or even known back then!!!!!! It's really easy to give unsolicited advice isn't it?
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Guest
0 #11 Really??Guest 2014-01-08 14:46:36
The Newberg Graphic and the Oregonian (or Oregonlive.com) had numerous articles about the Bypass. ODOT also publicized notices about hearings and had a few open houses around the area which I went to several of and they explained the corridor and impacts on residents and businesses.
It helps when you read the news and stay cognizant of whats going on in the world around you.
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Guest
0 #12 BypassGuest 2014-01-09 03:30:12
Well I have been in my home since spring of 2008. The bypass will be literally right in front of my house. When we first moved in the bypass was not finalized and the route it was going to take had not been decided yet. There were no meetings or hearings at that time that we were made aware of. And sorry but I don't read the Newberg Graphic.
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