By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Ray's Auto property listed for sale

The auto repair shop is probably the least compatible enterprise currently operating in McMinnville’s downtown core, and it occupies a key block as downtown development continues its march toward its eastern anchor — the Golden Valley Restaurant & Brewery. So its listing has stirred a buzz about possible replacements, ranging from additional restaurant, lodging and retail development to a parking garage to serve development already on the ground.

The latter includes the proposed KAOS project, to feature restaurants, shops and a boutique hotel directly across the street, replacing a recently demolished glass shop.

The auto shop is owned by Ronald Umbarger Jr. He has listed it through broker David Antinucci, a commercial properties specialist with Prudential NW Properties in McMinnville.

Located at 710 N.E. Third St., the property includes 586 square feet of office space, six auto repair bays, some retail display space, two restrooms and 15 parking spaces on a 13,200-square-foot lot. The asking price is $550,000.

The property has housed a series of automotive businesses over the years. So have other downtown properties — including the glass shop property across the street, which once was the Bennette and Olsen Garage — but Ray’s is the only one that still does so.

The site once featured a set of underground fuel tanks, but they were removed in 1992. The state Department of Environmental Quality declared no further cleanup action was needed after concluding a five-year monitoring program in 1997.

Umbarger worked at Ray’s until 1997, when he bought the business from his boss, Ray Muller. He acquired the building, previously under lease, from Steve Lindell in November 2000.

Umbarger is aiming to apply some of the proceeds to develop a new facility elsewhere in McMinnville. However, he said he would also consider selling the business with the building, in a package deal, to a buyer interesting in continuing to offer auto repair services out of the facilities.

“I’ve been in the business for 32 years,” he said. “It’s not that I’m looking to get out of the business.”

However, he said he is definitely wanting to scale back, and is open to pursuing other lines of work as an alternative, such as woodworking and home design.

He said he’d be interested in pursuing formal training in home design if he had the time. He said he also wants to put his home design skills to practical use by buying a piece of recreational property and building a summer cabin on it.

“I have a lot more plans, but I’m here 60 to 70 hours a week,” he said. “I just would like to have some more freedom.”

With their youngest child now in college, he said he and his wife are “looking forward.”

Antinucci said that the site falls with the traditional Third Street walking area, generally considered to extend east to the railroad tracks. He feels it would be nice to see a more compatible use there, particularly now that the glass shop across the street is gone.

Cassie Sollars, manager of the McMinnville Downtown Association, said the corner site offers a lot of opportunity, due to its size and location. She said she could envision a two-story parking garage there or some type of enterprise that would expand the retail core.

She said the opportunity comes at a great time, as it appears an urban renewal district encompassing the Northeast Gateway District and downtown core is headed for passage. She said re-development of the Ray’s site could give the city infrastructure a welcome boost at the right time.

The McMinnville Economic Development Partnership has posted a link to the listing on its website as well. Although the agency deals primarily with manufacturing and industrial enterprises, Executive Director Jody Christensen said it’s rare to have a high-profile corner site on Third Street on the market, and she thought that made it worth special note.



I'd love to see another hotel down there. We desperately need the rooms.

Yes, parking is an issue but the time to address that would have been at the OMI expansion. Their front lot could have and may still be able to go upward with a facade that would match the building. Other parking options would be the now available lot across from Golden Valley and the one next to the oral surgeon. In LA, they are putting parking underground whenever they redevelop an area. If you want a walkable city, parking must be available for out-of-town guests without sprawling asphalt across a single piece of valuable real estate.

Don Dix

'3rd Street'? --- 'parking garage'? --- Is it just me, or do those two terms just beg for a second option?

soft shoe

The Gateway redevelopment area might prove more suitable.


Salem has several multi-story parking garages downtown. They don't seem incompatible to me. The two newer onces feature interesting architecture and an array of shops.
Parking garages don't need to resemble big concrete pillboxes.
On the other hand, they cost a lot of money.

Don Dix

Salem also has wider sidewalks, one way streets that are 3 times as wide as 3rd, and control lights that are timed properly.

What Salem doesn't have is McMinnville's 'Main Street'. Parking garages can be built anywhere -- 'main streets' are rooted in place.

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