By editorial board • 

New milestone planned to enrich downtown Mac

Soaring cathedrals and towering skyscrapers are built block by block and beam by beam, just like their more pedestrian counterparts. The key is finding the right materials and placing them in the right way at the right time.

So it is with McMinnville’s magical downtown, ever changing and evolving, yet still steeped in tradition, history and tree-shaded charm. Many of its buildings date from the nineteenth century, and the rest look as though they might, thanks to the wonders of modern architecture and design.

For a resplendent example, look no further than Bob Emrick’s KAOS complex, situated at Third and Galloway. It’s new, but has a period feel allowing it to serve as a fitting bookend to McMenamins Hotel Oregon.

Now comes The Atticus, McMinnville’s answer to The Allison in neighboring Newberg, which has been placed in the hands of the same architect.

It’s designed to offer the kind of high-end amenities befitting a nationally and even internationally renowned wine country destination — something Third Street Flats and local B&Bs reach toward, but can’t fully provide. And it promises to make our cherished downtown an even bigger and better draw, to the benefit of us all.

If there’s a downside, it lies in the elimination of 37 of the News-Register’s 50 parking spaces.

Most of those spaces are destined to go unreplaced, even though the four-story, 36-unit hotel will create a significant workforce and cater to a notable clientele. That’s liable to add upward of 100 new competitors for downtown parking spaces.

But we predict some upside as well, as it promises to prod the city and its business and tourism allies into taking some long-overdue action on parking.

Cynics might wonder if our pitch stems from the involvement of Publisher Jeb Bladine in the development end of the project. However, the record will reflect how we have been harping on the issue for decades.

We see development of another municipal parking garage, or some sort of equivalent, as essential to the long-term health of the wonderful downtown we have created here. And we see the city’s recent adoption of a lodging tax and creation of an urban renewal district as helping establish the groundwork.

We also see forcing employees to park outside the core, freeing priceless parking on Second, Third and Fourth streets for shoppers and tourists, as a virtually essential accompanying step. In that, we will merely be following the lead of countless cities elsewhere.

We say that even though we have among the most employees commuting downtown, outside city and county government, so would be among the most affected.

The McMenamins brothers’ Hotel Oregon project helped give our downtown an electrifying transformation. The advent of Harvest Fresh, rejuvenation of the Granary District and development of Golden Valley Brewery & Restaurant are among a lengthy list of other memorable modern milestones, each adding texture and richness to the overall mosaic.

The Atticus represents an opportunity to add another jewel to our downtown crown. It demands we rise to the occasion.

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