Woodburn urban renewal officials are keeping their options open with the Association Building

The city of Woodburn is now accepting proposals from any corner in an unprecedented effort to see the historic Front Street property commonly called the Association Building renovated, bought, leased or otherwise utilized by a public or private TYLER FRANCKE | WOODBURN INDEPENDENT - Woodburn city officials are stepping up their efforts to find a user or buyer for the Association Building.

The request for proposal (RFP) was issued June 2, with a deadline of Aug. 20, and a tour of the building scheduled for July 9.

“The RFP was written in such a way that developers can request help (from the city) based on whatever their need is,” said Urban Renewal Manager Robyn Stowers, explaining that grants, loans, potential price reductions or even outright donation of property are “on the table” for discussion. “At this moment, anything will be reviewed by the (Urban Renewal Agency). They’re accepting all proposals and all requests.”

Originally built in 1891 by Woodburn founder Jesse Settlemier, the two-story, 10,000 square-foot brick structure was seriously damaged by a 5.7-magnitude quake in 1993. It’s been vacant ever since, though it was the recipient of an $850,000 project by the city in 2005, which included seismic retrofits, fire and life-safety upgrades and a complete exterior makeover.

However, the city — which has owned the building since 2000 — did not address the building’s interior, which currently lacks finished walls, floors, stairs, elevator, plumbing, electrical wiring and other infrastructure required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and occupancy codes.

A feasibility study conducted by Portland-based Constructive Form Architecture and Design LLC, presented in January, estimated it would cost a minimum of $600,000 to bring the building up to a baseline, market-ready level.

Constructive Form’s feasibility study, which cost the city about $50,000, used site evaluations, market research and copious public input to identify three concepts the firm believed represented “the highest and best uses for the Association Building”: a neighborhood activity center, business incubator with a studio arts focus or a micro-brewpub/beverage distillery.

In keeping with those recommendations, Stowers said the city has solicited proposals from a number of entities that might be interested in those kinds of uses, such as the Family YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties and the Oregon Brewers Association.

The city could also sell the building without an identified use. Though the property’s real market value, currently about $535,000, would not fully recoup prior investments, this option would still be less expensive than any of the three concept models highlighted by the study.

Stowers said the city is optimistic about the process.

“At this point, there has been interest, which is positive,” she said. “It’s only been a couple weeks, but it’s received a very positive response.”

For more information, or to view a copy of the RFP, visit the city’s website at

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