On the road

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Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
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On the road
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Part of the town’s “damned good luck” is the Austin family. Ken and Joan Austin founded dental-equipment maker A-dec in 1964, now among Newberg’s biggest employers. In addition, the family’s philanthropy is considerable, such as donating land for a new elementary school. In 2009 the luxury Allison Inn & Spa opened, a personal project of Joan’s. It has garnered national and international press for its amenities and food, and along the way has helped put Newberg in the spotlight. Local leaders give it huge credit for spurring interest in the town and the Yamhill County wine industry, and for giving the region a glossy buzz that had been missing. Jory, the Allison’s restaurant, has been joined by other high-end eateries in town such as Recipe and Subterra.

Loni Parrish, the Austins’ daughter, is making her own second-generation impact. She owns a dozen buildings downtown, including the Art Elements art gallery on First Street, which opened two years ago, and the Chehalem Valley flour mill, which she wants to turn into an artists’ collective. Parrish grew up in the 1970s hanging out in downtown and remembers its slower pace and small-town charm. She wants to see that return.

“I believe in downtown,” she says. She also believes in being responsible to the community, values instilled by her parents, and has been buying and preserving Newberg’s historic buildings. “I know what they used to look like,” she says. Her vision of what is possible isn’t Napa Valley ­— it’s closer to home.

“People say this is what Napa used to be,” she says. “And I’m hoping it won’t turn into that. I wish we could be like McMinnville’s Third Street.”

Newberg’s other ingredients for success go beyond just luck.

With a population of 22,300, Newberg is Yamhill County’s second-largest city after McMinnville. Danicic says the town has a good mix of industries and commercial and industrial land, though not enough. The city hopes to complete a 200-acre southeast industrial expansion in the next five years. He also says that one of the city’s “hidden gems” is the Springbrook property in North Newberg, owned by the Austins, more than 400 acres with plans for residential and commercial building.

Newberg has a diverse job base. “We are not a blue-collar city,” says Andrews. “We have a lot of manufacturing and tech jobs.” Manufacturing employs the largest percentage in Yamhill County, even though manufacturing employment decreased from an average of 6,640 in 2007 to 5,900 in 2011. The bankruptcy of SP Newsprint, which operates a Newberg pulp mill, doesn’t help. The mill has been one of the town’s largest employers. Most Newberg residents were employed in the manufacturing, education and human health service sectors in 2010.

Other large employers include Current Electronics, Newberg Public Schools, Providence Newberg Medical Center and George Fox University, which has more than 2,000 students at its Newberg campus. George Fox is a well-manicured, private Christian college that employs about 500, but being a large employer is only part of its impact on the town. Rob Felton, George Fox University spokesman and president of the downtown coalition, says that during just the summer, the university brings 33,000 visitors to Newberg. The collaboration, which did not always exist between the town and the university, is growing and now important to both.

“The more attractive it is, the more attractive George Fox is,” Felton says. George Fox has growth plans of its own. It will field a football team in 2014, and will complete a $7.2 million stadium and athletic center on 23 acres donated by the Austin family.

The town is thinking in broad, connective ways. Adding to its beautifully restored and expanded Carnegie library and a revitalized summer farmers market are large projects that have been completed in the past few years, including a $50 million expansion of its sewer system now under way; an 18-hole public golf course; and a 15-acre branch of Portland Community College that opened last year, with 630 students enrolled this fall term.

Then there is the Chehalem Cultural Center, a gorgeous rethinking of a historic elementary school, which opened in 2010, showcasing artists and providing classes and performance space. The first third of the renovation is complete, and the 40,000-square-foot center needs another $5.5 million to finish the rehab.

“The impact of the CCC will be huge,” says Parrish, a passionate arts advocate who is on the center’s board and helped curate the Oregon art for the Allison.

Robert Dailey, the center’s new executive director, sees the CCC as an important part of the town’s economy. “An arts facility makes a community more attractive for investment,” he says. “This center fits perfectly into the wine economy.” In 2010, 30% (255) of the wineries and 32% (6,511 acres) of the total vineyard acreage statewide was located in Yamhill County.

Of course, as there is in all cities of every size, there is a long list of ideas that await funding. Town leaders want to eventually turn OR 99W into two-way streets in both directions to further calm the traffic. The Chehalem trail system plan is about 3% complete, according to Don Clements, Chehalem Parks and Recreation District superintendent. The plan calls for roughly 20 miles of hiking and biking trails that would connect the town to the Willamette River and to Dundee. There are also plans for a civic corridor in central downtown, a cultural district and development of the riverfront area that will be traversed by the bypass.

Along with nonexistent or shoestring budgets, declining property tax revenues and high unemployment, there is unlimited creativity and commitment. There’s a palpable sense that Newberg’s time is now.

“This used to be a dumpy little mill town. Now it’s the gateway to the wine country,” says Mike Ragsdale. “It’s time to seize the moment — and it’s an opportunity we can lose.”

1112 OnTheRoad 10

32,000 vehicles per day travel through downtown Dundee on OR 99W.

13,000 vehicles will be taken out of the traffic flow in downtown Dundee with the bypass.

1,500 heavy trucks will be drawn off the highway to the new bypass, cutting freight traffic by 45% in downtown Newberg and 68% in downtown Dundee.

45,000 vehicles per day travel on OR 99W through downtown Newberg.

13,000 vehicles will be taken out of the daily flow in downtown Newberg with the bypass.

50% of travel time on OR 99W during peak periods will be reduced in both towns.

Newberg-Dundee Bypass

Phase 1 of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass will begin at a new signalized intersection on OR 219 and go through South Newberg into Dundee. Southwest of Dundee, the bypass will proceed west, parallel to the Dundee city limits, and cross over the Pacific Railroad tracks and OR 99W. After crossing over OR 99W, it will loop around and connect to OR 99W at a new signalized intersection. The $232 million project was funded with $192 million from the 2009 Legislature, $20 million in federal funds and $20 million in local matching funds.

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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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