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|Articles - Nov/Dec 2012|
|Monday, November 05, 2012|
Page 1 of 3
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.”
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
BY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER
Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
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