By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: New decade brings unfinished business

Let’s take a first look into 2020:

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

> See his column

Christmas is in the past, New Years looms large, and the glow of a new decade rises in the east. But instead of thinking about resolutions, we find ourself contemplating all manner of unfinished business.

The next 10 years — perhaps fewer — will shape decades of local community livability. As we prepare to enter the first year of that decade, here are a few pieces of the puzzle.

Downtown McMinnville, an icon of community identity for 100-plus years, faces crucial challenges. Those include ongoing reorganization of McMinnville Downtown Association; urban renewal decisions related to parking, traffic flow, streetscape and other infrastructure; review and planning for the future of downtown city and county facilities.

Some major downtown projects will reach or approach completion next year, including Taylor-Dale, Falcon Suites and First Federal. Those developments, combined with the Atticus Hotel, Mac Market and other recent additions, will produce urban renewal property taxes that will finance bonding of significant public projects.

The half-block Mack Theater / Cook’s Hotel property, now for sale, would be a project challenged by building deterioration, application of stringent building codes, and potential city response to non-permitted construction work that has occurred behind the closed doors of that property.

Outside downtown, McMinnville is experiencing an onrush of Beaverton-like residential growth that is changing the traditional community character for reasons many people don’t understand. A decade hence, we will see how that trend has impacted local livability.

Controversy surrounding Evergreen Museum properties enters yet another decade in January. A new local buyer – not publicly identified but becoming widely known – promises to combine business interests and civic philanthropy to finally bring stability to the museum and surrounding developments.

Those local challenges draw our attention inward because we can’t really impact the great tests beyond our reach: Disastrously partisan politics that threaten the future of Oregon; an impeachment case that will surround and define 2020 presidential politics; lack of solutions for immigration and health care; lack of will even to acknowledge the impact of climate change evidence.

Returning closer to home — here inside the newspaper itself — we are working on business model initiatives to further the survival of print newspapers. Those efforts, shared with newspapers across the country, will determine if Google, Facebook and Twitter are the real future of local community journalism.

And so, we have no clear resolutions to share as 2020 nears. Just unfinished business.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

gregtompkins

Jen you could always sell out to Pamplin like all the other local newspapers did. I subscribe to them as well and kind of like how I get alerted from all the other small community papers of nearby towns in their network.

gregtompkins

Jeb I meant dang autocorrect :) sorry ...