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Residents want town to stay small, but roads and public safety could be improved

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - A recent survey found that Dundee residents are satisfied with city services, but added that the town's transportation system could be improved.

Dundee residents are satisfied with city services in general, but not necessarily the city's transportation system, according to recent survey of residents.

Of the 182 residents who responded to the survey done in December, most said they think the pressing issue facing the city is the condition of its roads and streets, whereas 64 percent said they think that Dundee is moving in the right direction and wants to keep it a small town.

"A good business person looks at things and says, 'If I'm not growing at 10 percent a year, then I am shrinking," Mayor David Russ said. "Staying stagnant is death. The whole city council feels that we don't want to grow out of control, we don't want to be Newberg or (McMinnville), but we do recognize the need to grow to maintain stability."

According to the survey, Dundee residents are most positive about the city's fire department, with 84 percent indicating they have a favorable view of the organization.

"Fire guys are awesome; hands down my favorite part of this town. Street maintenance is fair. Water people are pleasant to work with, but the taste quality is something to be desired. Code enforcement, I did know we had …," said one anonymous responder to the survey.

The public works department drew the strongest criticism, with 55 percent of respondents saying the city's infrastructure is in fair or poor condition. Some of the complaints centered on street repair, signage and pedestrian safety on Highway 99W, with some respondents asking for more traffic signals.

As a part of the survey, the city's planning and zoning departments drew a 35-percent rating as either excellent or good, while 30 percent of respondents found them either fair or poor. About 34 percent had no opinion on planning or zoning.

"The city government does not do a good job with zoning issues. Businesses continue in residential areas, motor homes are parked for months in residential areas and short-term rentals appear to be allowed in residential areas. (It) makes the city a hodge-podge mess," a responder wrote.

Other complaints were decreasing lot sizes, short-term rentals, shortcuts in planning and allowing developments without improving roads or installing sidewalks.

"What a lot of people don't understand is there is a lot involved, we were looking for grant money and there is a lot of things to put together," Russ said. "The sidewalks was in the plan on Locus Street. We are getting ready to put them in now."

On the positive side, most want to keep Dundee a small town with its attendant feel, while encouraging community. Many were in favor of Dundee becoming a wine-focused town and others embrace growth, although one respondent suggested a donut shop instead of more wineries.

"I believe in the making improvements to keep Dundee from becoming run down, but get concerned at times that there is a push toward building this city up for tourism," another respondent said. "I want to retain the small town that I moved to."

Officials utilize the information from the survey in order to review the needs of the city and reveals them through a quarterly newsletter and at council meetings.

"Your City Council is very concerned about maintaining the growth that will keep the city strong while simultaneously keeping a lid on that growth to maintain our small town feel" Russ said in his newsletter. "I would like to see us be viewed as a unique little town that makes people curious as they go by so that they want to stop to take a closer look."

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