Although some assessments are stiff, the project is well worth the effort

City Council delays discussion of local improvement district

For years Dundee city officials and residents have spoken of a desire to reinvent the downtown, to take advantage of its proximity to Oregon wine country and to, eventually, become the “Napa Valley of the North.”

And for years that desire has been thwarted for one reason or the other – the primary problem being the town is host to the busiest state highway in Oregon. The attendant poor shape of said highway and the right-of-way that abuts it also did little to convince visitors that this little town was a place worth spending time.

Over the years, some improvements have been made. Businesses such as Argyle Winery have made substantial investments in sprucing up their small portions of the Highway 99W core. But it’s not enough and, realizing that, city officials are attempting to take a substantial step in making Dundee look more like a town and less like a wide spot in the road.

If the City Council and city officials are successful, that effort will manifest itself in construction of curbs, street lighting, driveways and sidewalks along both sides of 99W through most of the town. A large portion of the funding for the project comes via a $1.5 million grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The city of Dundee is responsible for producing a $175,000 match to the grant, as well as $300,000 for a legally-mandated water line project that will accompany the project.

But, and here’s the rub, despite raising all that money, the city is still short and is attempting to create a local improvement district that will place a portion of the burden on the 50 or so businesspeople and residents who own land along the stretch of highway.

And for some land owners the bill will be upwards of $40,000, although most will pay much less. We realize that’s not chump change for a lot of businesses and residents, but we believe the end result will be well worth it.

With the Newberg-Dundee bypass now under construction and the expectation that with its opening the traffic on 99W will be substantially reduced, Dundee has the opportunity to make a substantive change that will make its downtown look, well, like a downtown and not a highway right-of-way.

While we believe city officials should do everything possible to mitigate the impact of the LID on land owners, we also believe this is the right move for the city.

Now, if we could only convince Newberg city officials to do the same.

Contract Publishing

Go to top