By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: In McMinnville, shovels are out

For decades, I’ve watched the steady stream of local building developments. Call it a minor obsession, perhaps, but I have a spreadsheet diary of McMinnville building permit values and major development projects going back to 1975.

During that time, the city has issued building permits valued at nearly $1.2 billion; my project sheet lists about 350 commercial, industrial and institutional developments with total value nearing $700 million. Those numbers would be much higher in today’s dollar.

In terms of diversity, however, I’ve never seen anything like what is happening — and pending — in McMinnville today. The shovels are out.

As evidence:

Groundbreaking this week on Alpine Avenue was a nexus of three long-planned civic initiatives: Urban Renewal, Northeast Gateway District, and the $24 million, 15-year transportation bond voters approved in November 2014. All were vetted through years of citizen input and city deliberations.

McMinnville Urban Renewal Agency, created in June 2013, can borrow up to $30 million over 25 years for development of the downtown and NE Gateway areas. Repayment will be made from increases in property taxes within the UR district.

The NE Gateway ordinance was approved in July 2013 after a $75,000 study and extensive planning. It’s signature Alpine Avenue development begins with a combination of Urban Renewal and transportation bond funding.

Throughout McMinnville, major transportation projects are in clear view while others are preparing for construction. And, of course, outside town but no less impactful, the $262 million Phase 1 of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass Project will open to traffic this fall.

All of that would be plenty for some communities; it’s just a start for McMinnville.

Work continues apace on McMinnville School District projects funded by the 23-year, $89.4 million bond voters approved in May 2016, plus a $7.1 million state grant.

Jackson Family interests from California have purchased area wineries and vineyards; the downtown Taylor-Dale building now in renovation; and two Evergreen Aviation buildings out of bankruptcy for $4.6 million. Another $8 million in work is turning those facilities into a winery, offices, tasting room, storage and lab.

Evergreen building/property buyer Steve Down soon will disclose complete plans for one or more lodges and a restaurant to enlarge the burgeoning Fall Events Center.

Downtown, on the heels of such projects as KAOS restaurants, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar and Douglas Hotel, the $6 million Atticus Hotel project is scheduled for groundbreaking in May.

Whew! With apologies to anyone left off my list, we’ll be watching for more to come.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at of 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

From the article -- "Throughout McMinnville, major transportation projects are in clear view while others are preparing for construction."

Yes they are -- so, maybe someone could explain why Baker and Adams have a cluster of 3 traffic control lights from 2nd to 5th (Baker - lights on 2nd, 3rd, and 5th -- Adams - 2nd, 4th, and 5th).

Is this just a case of spending designated funds? From this perspective, it seems to be a glaring case of waste or overkill!

Don Dix

Jeb -- shovels are a great tool -- in the hands of experience -- otherwise, one is just standing in a hole!

Jeb Bladine

Primary to the downtown transportation project is conversion of Fifth Street to an efficient, higher-traffic, east-west arterial with lights at Adams, Baker, Evans and Lafayette Avenue.

Adams will still have 2 downtown lights (2nd & 5th) after removal of the light at 4th Street. Baker will expand to 3 downtown lights, keeping those at 2nd & 3rd streets as needed, and adding the 5th Street light to facilitate that new traffic corridor.


While they are out and about with their shovels, someone can take down the 20 mph school zone sign(s) on Lafayette Ave at Cook School. There is no school there, no kids there, and therefore no reason for a "school zone".

Reporter Starla Pointer

Actually, Leideedi, the area around Cook remains a school zone, since some high school alternative and computer classes meet in the north wing and in the modular classroom just adjacent to the school. The school zone signs aren't just for the district office staff who just moved into the other section of the building.


Starla, thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that there were no students on site.


Starla, thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that there were no students on site.

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