By News-Register staff • 

Denial of Gwendolyn project appears likely

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I'm so very disappointed in our council!


Me too.


Clearly we have enough revenue coming into this town that we do not need more. Remember this the next vote!!

Local Yokel

Seems like an overstep of power. Keep that in mind during the next election cycle. Also keep in mind that these are also local business and property owners that may some day wish to do something different with their own properties.

Bill B

Surprised that Geary and Garvin are against. They are both business people and seem to have a good grasp on what is good for the city. Clearly not in this case.


Adam Garvin, who is in firm opposition to the Gwendolyn project, stated this on his campaign website for City Council:

“I am committed to an open and transparent process promoting a flourishing city and economic prosperity for many generations to come..."

If Mr. Garvin campaigned on a platform of openness, transparency, and economic prosperity, but his opposition to the Gwendolyn project contradicts those goals, this could be seen as hypocritical.


It's truly appalling and unforgivable that anyone would turn down a massive investment of 60 million dollars into their community. Such a reckless decision shows a complete disregard for the well-being of the community and the potential benefits that such an investment could bring.

Refusing an opportunity to create hundreds of jobs, boost local businesses, and enhance the community's infrastructure is nothing short of negligent. This kind of short-sightedness sends a clear message to potential investors that this community is not interested in growth and development, which could have serious long-term consequences.

This decision is not only a missed opportunity but also a dangerous one. It represents a failure of leadership and a lack of vision that the community cannot afford. The City Councilors who are responsible for turning down this investment should be ashamed of themselves for neglecting the community's economic well-being and squandering a rare opportunity for growth and prosperity.


As constituents, we will remember your opposition to this project when it comes to the next election. It's your responsibility to act in the best interests of the people you represent, and by rejecting this project, you're failing to do so. We urge you to reconsider your stance and make decisions that will lead to economic growth and development in our community.


If this is opportunity is denied, Zack Geary will never get my vote again.


I've seen this story play out countless times in other places. City Councils tightly clutch on to the idea of a building being of "historical" value based on the simple fact that the building is old. Decades pass while various proposals for development are denied countless times. Eventually the old building becomes so run down that it becomes a liability for the area and City Councils then feel the urgency of the situation and end up approving a later proposal from sheer desperation. The approved proposal ends up not being near as preferable as past proposals that City Councils had passed on when they didn't feel any urgency to it. Often times the "less preferable" approved development that results from this desperate scenario is one that yields a situation where the property ultimately fails due to its shortcomings and again sits vacant for years. My advice for any City Council is take more control of the situation by doing their own "due diligence" and obtaining an independent feasibility study of their own to determine what their options truly are and to avoid any "fantasy island" ideas. And to know when the proper time is to develop and what is feasible financially for the area.


Since Mr Garvin has decided that the owners of the buildings should simply take less money than they are offered, I think Mr Garvin should be forced to charge no more than $100 for auto detailing. And when he flips cars on 99w he can only make a profit of $500. It’s very easy to tell some one else to not make as much as they deserve.

And why is Ms. Cunningham so worried about restaurant staffing when another article in todays paper says they are sub leasing their old space for a new restaurant. Seems like someone wants to tell people not to do something but then goes and promotes that same thing.

I voted for Mr. Geary but will not do it again if he runs again. I hope his construction companies buy the three properties and sink their own money into them to retrofit them. Then have buildings that are not financially feasible to make any money.

If we aren’t growing we are dying. That $60 million will go to another community who is waiting with open arms.


Right on WO and Bleepbloop...completely agree. I think people remember how things used to be in Downtown. Back when Turkey Rama had booths lining the streets, complete with carnival rides. Back when locals shopped at, and supported a variety of local businesses. But we have evolved, and tourists are flocking here. Mac is on national radar as a destination. Tourists are what keep many local downtown businesses afloat. Remembering the good old days won't keep us from progressing. This is an opportunity to embrace the future. (And, by the way, about remembering the good old days downtown and the beauty of Third Street we all fell in love with: that's all going to change when they tear out the trees).

Think the loud minority has struck again! Cannot believe local businesses can be short sighted on benefits to their businesses. The labor shortage is a hangover from the pandemic nothing to do with smaller towns and is improving!
I hope by some small miracle the council can change their position.
Moved here 3 years ago and the downtown has some charm but adding a nice hotel could only enhance the district and a boon to establishments who some cut hours due to lack of steady customer base

Think the loud minority has struck again! Cannot believe local businesses can be short sighted on benefits to their businesses. The labor shortage is a hangover from the pandemic nothing to do with smaller towns and is improving!
I hope by some small miracle the council can change their position.
Moved here 3 years ago and the downtown has some charm but adding a nice hotel could only enhance the district and a boon to establishments who some cut hours due to lack of steady customer base


How much do you think the city is going to have to pay in attorney's fees to defend their emotional decision at LUBA? Maybe they can tack on an addition buck or two to our water & light bills to cover it.


The appalling fact is that they have been making these kinds of decisions for 40 years or more, this one is just very high profile and very high $$. Countless times projects, rehabs, retrofits, etc., have been denied because of downtowns 'historic' charm, effecting peoples lives. People who don't have another million dollar hotel around the corner, but people just trying to live. My favorite example is linked below. The downtown is beautiful and I love it, but this is a perfect example of why government should have as little to do with yours and my life as possible. Its a small taste of the socialism everyone is clamoring for.


Bigfootlives is so annoying. I basically agree with her point but then she blames it on socialism at the end. This has nothing to do with socialism. Turn off Fox News, ONA, and brietbart. Your “talking points” are out of control.

Joel R

Keep an eye on Daniel Kiser. When all of the dust settles from this it will be very interesting to see what motivated him to go to all of that effort to sink this project.


Your representatives are not mind readers. On land-use applications, they must make their decisions on evidence in the record. It’s easy to submit: Just write a letter or email, or show up at a meeting and speak, within the specified time period. Please don’t punish them for not following your advice if you haven’t given any.


Three thoughts: 1) NEED: Visit McMinnville 2021-early 2022 stats indicate existing hotel occupancy rates in the the 60-70% range when profitability target is 85-90--and that was before Tributary came online. 2) SCALE: The size of the proposed hotel, in spite of adjustments, is out of proportion with the other buildings on the street. 3)CITY COMMITMENT: That said, I share BC's concern about whether, given it's financial challenges, the city is prepared financially to defend a reversal in court.


Sounds like again... Cater to a few at the detriment of all!


BB. Don’t watch any of those, like to think for myself. If you don’t think that government control of your life is key to socialism (communism light) you might be the one that needs to turn off the talking points.


And BB, don’t worry, they won’t take away your secret decoder ring because you agreed with me.


I walked downtown last week to get another look at how anyone could want to keep these eyesore buildings. I noticed a historic plaque on the NR outside wall. I wondered what the owners would pay me to remove the plaque and magically remove the building from the historic list.

No one would accept these buildings as a gift, much less pay for them. They are useless and we're stuck with them.


If anyone was paying attention, there were 4 appeals being presented. The council decided to hear the first three (the demolition of each building) together. If the appellant won, there would be no point in even talking about the 4th appeal - the building of the Gwendolyn.

However, the council seems to have lost their focus within the looming shadow of the Gwendolyn, and seemingly based their votes not on the demolition (which was on record as the appeal being heard), but on the construction of the hotel.

I'm not sure what the rules are when the council bases its decision on something not even officially on record yet, but it needs to be brought to light.

Even without the hotel, those buildings deserved to have their own merits analyzed. They're old. They're decaying. They're not safe. They're going to be an eyesore in the very near future (probably already are for some). Tearing them down wouldn't set any precedent as there have already been historical buildings demolished in the very recent past (or conveniently removed from the historic district prior to demolition).

I have to wonder how council expects the citizens to follow the rules when they don't themselves.


I went into the 1882 grill today to take photos of these “historic” building from above. They literally have zero window panes upstairs in the windows allowing water access into the building. Go look for yourself.

Also the Chevrolet painting has a pool of water above it where it won’t drain. There is also a window with rotting plywood over it on the North side of the Hawaii 503 area.

This is so ridiculous.

The mindset seems to be let’s approve any project presented by “a Townie” aka local but deny anything useful from someone who wasn’t born and raised here.

Nepotistic behavior and closed minded locals make up the City Council.

Remove / Recall those who voted against progress.

Recall Geary

Recall Garvin

Recall Drabkin


RE: BC's comment, the hotel comes up in demo deliberations in relation to a criterion which says, “…Whether the historic resource is a deterrent to an improvement program of substantial benefit to the City which overrides the public interest in its preservation.” The program the developers cited is Mac-Town 2032—an economic improvement program. So, a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg situation: The hotel has to be feasible in order to go toward meeting this demo criterion.


I initially did not understand why the Gwendolyn Hotel was being opposed. I thought that if the developer met all the requirements for the project it should be approved. After watching the City Council hearings last week, I now understand the conflict.

Guidelines are part of the laws and regulations including regulations that include "should". The should guidelines provide a level of flexibility within reason. It is clear that certain guidelines were ignored or glossed over for the Gwendolyn Project because the the developer did not consider them to be mandatory.

If some of the Gwendolyn project ignored guidelines would have been ignored when the Atticus Hotel was proposed, we could have a 10 story hotel on that location with 2 levels of underground parking.

Factors that adversely impact the functioning of the main core of the city for a period of more than a few months should be considered. This project will disrupt the city for a minimum of 18 months and, with potential unforeseen obstacles along the way, possibly for 2 - 3 years or more.

As one of the last speakers suggested, the city council has to decide if they want an historic district in downtown McMinnville. If any historic guidelines (“should requirements”) are ignored we will not have a historic district.

The Gwendolyn Project should be denied if the guidelines for the historic district are followed. A similar proposal outside the historic district most likely would be approved.


Remember these votes as we look to the future re-elections. I'm disappointed as well, especially with Garvin! I do believe he is running for the new Fired District Board..


BlueDak - I don't believe it's chicken/egg at all.

I could be wrong in my logic, but here goes: If the demo on these three buildings is denied (regardless of current or future proposals for the vacant land), I believe the no-demo sticks to those addresses like an easement. The three buildings would be protected from demolition from here forward.

The Gwendolyn can be denied on it's own without sticking a no demo ever onto three crumbling buildings.

Again, my interpretation could be mistaken, but if not, I stand by my original comment.

Official comment on the intent and actuality of the consequences would be welcome.


They are historically ugly deathtraps and not worth saving. Probably the ugliest buildings on the street IMO....and they are in their final few years of service before they will be condemned. No other buyers are lining up to fix them up and they have been for sale for YEARS with no takers in sight. Finally, there is a business that wants to remove and replace them with a stunning hotel that would be an economic BOOM to the town.

I also find it stunning that any of the current restaurant owners would disapprove of this project as it would pack their places with hungry diners every night. Whining about lack of workers....please! Maybe pay your restaurant workers what you should have been paying them from the start and you wouldn't have this problem.

This project would be the safest and smartest thing to do for the future of 3rd Street.

Anything else is negligence....and we voters remember on election day.

Local Yokel

History is for books and photos. I saw take all the buildings down, widen the street and start over from scratch!


Listen up citizens of McMinnville! The City Council is on the brink of committing an unforgivable act of negligence by rejecting the Gwendolyn Hotel project. Such a decision would not only impede the city's progress but also violate the trust that the community has placed in its elected representatives.

Let it be known that the councilors who stand against the Gwendolyn Hotel project do so at their own peril. The people of McMinnville will not stand idly by while their future is threatened by a group of myopic and self-serving politicians. If the councilors persist in their folly, we shall exercise our democratic right and launch a recall campaign against them. We will not rest until those who stand in the way of progress are removed from their positions of power.

It is high time for the councilors to recognize the gravity of their actions and put the interests of the community before their own narrow agendas. The Gwendolyn Hotel project is a crucial development that promises to revitalize the city and create much-needed job opportunities for the local workforce. The council must seize this opportunity to demonstrate true leadership and support this visionary project wholeheartedly.

In the face of this impending threat, the councilors have a choice to make. They can either choose to stand with the people of McMinnville and work towards a brighter future, or they can face the wrath of the community and be held accountable for their actions. The people of McMinnville are watching, and they will not forget those who put their own interests above the greater good.


We should remove the City Councilors who vote against this opportunity and replace them with the Planning Commissioners who voted in favor of the hotel.


Sad to see such a lack of vision for McMinnville from city council. We have the opportunity to improve the downtown area with the addition of this hotel, which will be a far cry better for Third Street than the removal of most of the trees called for by the design that was circulated last summer.
But no, let's keep "our history" by refusing to allow demolition of buildings that have been proven extremely costly to restore. We have a builder who is willing to take on that cost AND bring economic value to the community but sadly many voters prefer to yearn for the "good old days" rather than dealing with current reality. If folks are so anxious to preserve the buildings, I suggest they band together to buy them and put the money into restoring them. Otherwise you are just complaining and preventing the current owner from selling his own property, which he has every right to do. Yeah, let's keep those buildings in a constant state of disrepair. That would be very quaint indeed.


BC, I’m sure a demolition denial is not binding in perpetuity as you describe. If conditions change in such a way that the demolition criteria can be reconsidered, then a demolition application can be made again.


@ BlueDak - I truly hope you're right, but unless I hear it from someone official, I'd rather not bank on it.

Joel R

Kind of cool to see all of us come together and agree on something in the comments section. Rare!

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