Building a legacy

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009

ATSJoanAustin

Joan Austin's Allison Inn & Spa opens in late September.

NEWBERG Joan Austin is sitting in an office a stone’s throw from her Allison Inn & Spa that’s under construction. And yes, it is her project. As president of the Springbrook development, which eventually will include a shopping village and 1,200 homes, this is her gift to the community and even Ken, her husband of 56 years, is on the sidelines for this one.

Which is why the very elegant Austin, dressed this morning in a bright red suit that stands out against the gray day like an early spring tulip, politely — but very graciously — will not say how much the inn costs, because it doesn’t really matter. It is her legacy and legacies are priceless.

“I hope it will bring prosperity to the town,” Austin says simply about what Springbrook could mean to rural Newberg.

Some might say she and Ken already have made good on that hope: In 1964, they founded dental equipment maker A-dec, which employs about 1,000. Austin, a sharp businesswoman, also has a deep commitment to the arts, children and education. The couple donated the land for the nearby Joan Austin Elementary School (where each year Austin has a tea party with the incoming freshmen class), and founded the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University. The Allison sits on a verdant 35 acres about two miles off Highway 99W in the same neighborhood as A-dec and the school.

Austin has lived here for more than six decades, spending several of them acquiring 450 acres within the urban growth boundary. “I’m a land lover,” explains the elegant but shrewd tulip. “I like the dirt.”

While the recession has put the shopping village and the residential plans on hold indefinitely, the Allison is on track to open the last weekend in September, just in time for the wine industry’s crush (and the bride who has that weekend booked). Construction is roaring to make up for lost time from the Christmas snows, which delayed an August

ATSAllisonInn

Artist's rendering of the Allison's completion. The inn sits on 35 acres and has 85 rooms, a spa and a restaurant.

debut. There are 250 workers now on site (with a weekly payroll of $400,000 until opening), and in June the Allison will begin hiring 165 full-time positions.
The inn, which broke ground in November 2007, is near 200 wineries in the Willamette Valley region, and the tourism industry that comes with it. As of early April, there were 25 events booked through December 2010, including six weddings, and several hundred room nights were committed for the 85 guestrooms and suites, which are priced from $295 to $1,100. The Allison also has a 15,000-square-foot spa, a 6,000-square-foot restaurant that seats 85, and 12,000 square feet of meeting space.

The inn is being built to LEED standards, but sustainability to Austin means more than energy efficiency or green building practices. It means leaving behind something that will last at least 100 years, providing jobs for her community and a place of pride for generations to come.

As the day brightens and a guest tour gets ready to leave, Austin is staying behind. She’s got a letter to the governor to finish and besides, she’s up there all the time, watching her legacy being built brick by brick.

ROBIN DOUSSARD
 

More Articles

Knight Cancer Challenge No Biotech Dream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The Knight challenge is an important instance of philanthropy. But we should not assume it will magically transform OHSU into a business- and job-spinning engine for the local economy.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Beneath the Surface

May 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
0515-goodhacker01 250pxwBY LINDA BAKER

On April 1 I attended a forum at the University of Portland on the sharing economy. The event featured panelists from Lyft and Airbnb, as well as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Asked about the impact of tech-driven sharing economy services. Hales said the new business models are reshaping the landscape. “But,” he added, “I don’t pretend to understand how a lot of this [technology] works.” 


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

The best crisis is the one you avoid

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
crisisthumbBY GARY CONKLING | GUEST BLOGGER

Avoiding a crisis is a great way to burnish your reputation, increase brand loyalty and become a market leader.


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