New development planned on historically controversial land

With news of a planned 500-home subdivision in McMinnville’s northwest corner, we can’t help but let our minds wander to the past, and wonder if McMinnville voters would have made a different decision then if they could see it now. 

The ‘then’ and ‘it’ refers to the five times voters rejected annexation of land east of Hill Road for a large-scale development originally known as the Shadden Claim. The public gushed over its design, but ultimately claimed it was too big for the times. Through successive defeats in the mid-90s and early 2000s, the project changed names and scaled back aspirations, but never received voter approval.

But controversy on that plot didn’t start in the ‘90s. In 1977, the McMinnville council narrowly voted 3-2 for annexation of the land east of Hill Road and south of Baker Creek Road. A citizen petition forced a vote on the council decision, and the annexation was overturned on a 985-983 vote, which included an official recount. 

Salem developer Don Jones’ Shadden Claim coincided with a new law requiring voter approval for all annexations.

Jones presented a 171-acre project that included approximately 1,000 homes, public spaces, parks and wildlife areas, and small mixed-use development of offices and shops with apartments above. Friends of Yamhill County opposed Jones’ annexation attempts each step of the way, despite their praise for the plan’s design. It was too big and too stressful on the city’s infrastructure at the time, Friends and others argued. 

As Jones struggled through one decisive loss after another, smaller adjacent sections of land were annexed with voter approval and developed into subdivisions. 

Now, Stafford Land Company has acquired the property that today all lies within city limits. The Lake Oswego-based developer has yet to submit plans to the city, so we cannot provide any opinion on its merits. The company did suggest pricier homes will be built nearest the country club, with housing much more condensed, more cookie-cutter, as construction moves toward the corner of Hill and Baker Creek. A video on Stafford’s website shows examples of their “skinny homes” developments, which pack about 14 lots on a standard block. 

Groundbreaking soon will occur in the areas for the new NW Neighborhood Park. That, along with the linear park and walking path, will aid in the area’s livability factor when developed for housing.

But northwest McMinnville will have a far different look than it might have had voters decided differently on the Shadden Claim. 


Don Dix

It has been 20 years since Don Jones provided his vision of a completed Shadden Claim, which was significantly different than the present proposal.

Among the complaints by opponents, the density (living units) of the plan was too low. At the time, 'skinny houses' and 'tiny houses' were not an option or even proposed. But today these little structures have taken hold in larger metro areas, including Portland.

The first thing noticed about skinny houses was how cramped and close each was to the neighbors (5'). Garages that could only house a compact car and a narrow (14'), two story home that had little view of the street out front. Assessment ... not at all attractive.

So, if this becomes reality, and many moan about the overall aesthetics, there are a few timeless quotes that fit the narrative ... 'be careful what you wish for' ... 'don't listen to the hype' ... and, of course, to those who came up with all the lame excuses not to grant Mr. Jones his annex ... 'take credit where credit is due, you deserve it!' And thank you very little!


the california ghetto is coming to a neighborhood near you,along with the crime and gangs!

Don Dix

Piling people into small, close quarter structures has never been a successful venture over time. When the newness wears off, the 'curb appeal' diminishes considerably. Opponents of Shadden and all of the other residential annexations put before the voters have always clamored for more density.

As witnessed in the past, some people believe their vision is better than others. If the 'usual actors' oppose this recent proposal (for the same reasons), then clearly the conversation isn't pertinent. And the voters who fell for all the BS in the past will realize they should have consider another opinion.

Once again, 'be careful what you wish for' ...


There was another reason the Shadden Claim was denied, although people don't speak about it.

Don Dix

Lulu -- Since Mr. Jones was a friend and fellow alumni (Linfield), I might be one of the few that were apprised of 'who said what' about Shadden during the chase to approve the annex.

Please, if you would be so kind, impart your knowledge.




Lulu isn't your input equal to a little child with,"I have a secret and I'm not going to tell you"?


Believe me, people knew the reason.
Incidentally, I was always in favor of the Shadden Claim. Too bad it failed. This new complex will be a monstrosity.

Jeb Bladine

Lest anyone think Don Jones did something nefarious that might have contributed to the failure of Shadden Claim, I'm going to guess that the suggestion of "another reason" refers to the fact that Don is a black man.

During the Shadden Claim election years, we did not see any public indications of racism playing a role, but some still believe that was a factor in voter-defeats of the proposed residential developments.

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