Five minutes from Newberg, Dundee is a tiny town with a population of only 3,200 and few of Newberg’s advantages. It has no historic downtown, few commercial businesses and fewer jobs, no university or legendary philanthropists. Only about 25 Dundee residents have jobs in town, with the remaining workforce of around 1,225 leaving each day for jobs elsewhere.
If it doesn’t have the critical mass and growing velocity of Newberg, its plans for the future are no less hopeful. Like Newberg, it has the wine industry (most of its largest employers are wineries), natural beauty and also a chance to begin a reinvention with the new bypass. While Newberg may have McMinnville envy, Dundee sits in the shadow of Newberg, but there is a partnership there, and its role in making the bypass a reality was large.
“Dundee is part of the overall community,” Newberg mayor Andrews says. “Through Ted Crawford’s efforts, we got the bypass done.”
Crawford, Dundee’s mayor, ran for office specifically to help get the bypass built, understanding, as did others, that traffic-crushed Dundee didn’t have a chance for a more vibrant future without it.
He sees economic possibilities in destination tourism and in developing Dundee’s wine identity, along with good food. The high-end Paulée, with its hot Portland chef, opened there this year, adding to the Red Hills Market, Tina’s and Red Hills Provincial Dining.
Ecotourism is another possibility. Crawford helped spearhead the creation of the Chehalem Paddle Launch with Newberg, an effort that won the towns a regional cooperation award and finally gave Dundee access to the Willamette River. He would like to see a series of trails that connect to the river.
“Our biggest competitor is Carlton, but they don’t have the vistas or the Willamette River,” he says. “If we had a Ken Wright, we’d really get somewhere.”
Wright, founder of Ken Wright Cellars, has restored a train station in Carlton as a tasting room and retail shop, has plans for other restorations and is deeply involved in the community and in launching events. Bill Stoller of Stoller Winery is doing something similar in Dayton.
Dundee is on top of several big projects, such as a new $13 million sewage treatment plant and a $3.8 million fire station. There are plans to build sidewalks, add streetlights and repave OR 99W, its main street, now that the bypass will reduce traffic. “It will be a gigantic face-lift,” says Crawford.
“We have the geography, we have the bypass. Now we can be a stand-alone community,” says Rollin Soles, the winemaker at Argyle Winery, one of Dundee’s largest employers. “It’s a struggle to maintain commerce here. But we are here to stay.”