By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Who’s ready to plan  for county facilities?

Setting aside comment about the long wait: Hooray for Yamhill County and its new $95,000 contract to assess the use, condition and future needs of county government facilities.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Now, let’s see who else stands up — who from among many with major interests in the topic.

About that long wait: Decades ago, our company learned first hand that Yamhill County lacked a coherent plan for cost-effective growth. We offered the county first rights to the 6,000-sq.-ft. “Old News-Register Building” at 4th & Evans streets, complete with low purchase price, off-street parking and existing leases for income.

We were surprised by the rejection, and quickly sold the building to a private party. The county then spent large sums of money leasing space in the building, and continued its disconnected, long-range sprawl into surrounding buildings.

Today, the city of McMinnville is considering future demolition and replacement of facilities because costs to renovate and expand could exceed costs to replace. Yamhill County may face similar realities after this study is finished.

Here’s another reality: Yamhill County facilities — all non-taxpaying — block the orderly future expansion of McMinnville’s downtown commercial district; county employees and visitors dominate the city’s parking structure and nearby on-street parking; citizens drive downtown streets in circles looking for poorly marked locations of myriad county services.

What’s the answer? That’s not apparent, nor will it be easy. Perhaps development of a new, multi-story downtown facility combining core county services with parking; perhaps relocation of other services to an area with easier access to all county residents; perhaps just acquiring property and memorializing future intentions so others can plan accordingly.

Let’s hope that process doesn’t produce disorganized, knee-jerk opposition as it did in January when one county commissioner proposed a task force for needed analysis. Let’s not strangle downtown McMinnville because of fear than no one will come to lunch if the county moves some of its operations.

More important, let’s not constrain possibilities for McMinnville’s major downtown urban renewal project with assumptions that Yamhill County will continue to dominate the entire landscape of the downtown’s north side. Let’s not waste millions of urban renewal dollars that might better have been spent based on coordinated long-range planning for county facilities.

Are there strategies for serious engagement in all this by the city of McMinnville, its urban renewal district, the downtown association, Chamber of Commerce and other key figures in the future of downtown McMinnville?

If not, why not?

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



Since we want so many illegals to overpopulate our area like they did in California , best plan for the future and build a fifty storey or higher building!