City begins honing ideas for Riverfront Master Plan
Newberg's Riverfront Master Plan Citizen Advisory Committee will soon begin looking at possible alternatives to the original plan as it works to implement a new one.
The city first began updating its 16-year-old master plan in 2017, although it had to put that off to begin construction of the Newberg-Dundee bypass. The original 2002 plan also suffered several setbacks, such as the economic recession and the closure of the WestRock mill in 2016. However, the city began to reconsider the riverfront master plan, in part due to a $200,000 grant from the state's Transportation and Growth Management Program.
The goal of the plan is to look at what mix of uses, both residential and commercial, should be in the riverfront area; planning a walking, biking and automotive network to increase connectivity within the area and the city; and protect open space.
Newberg City Planner Cheryl Caines said committee members heard a synopsis of prior public input, and will then begin looking at three alternatives to the 2002 plan. She added that the first alternative would be similar to the 2002 plan, and would include a bit of commercial space at the end of River Street, but would leave most of the mill site as it is for industrial use. The remaining alternatives look to introduce different types of comprehensive plans and zoning that would allow for other commercial use areas and different types of smaller industrial – such as tech uses – or mixed uses that aren't currently allowed.
Caines said all the alternatives include interconnected trail networks.
The city began anew on the work in April and hopes to have the plan completed by summer 2019, although dates are subject to change. The city has held a handful of meetings prior to the Tuesday reveal, including a public event in August and two meetings of the committee in late spring and early summer.
In addition to holding an open house event in August, the city also held an online survey for residents to weigh in, which was viewed by about 150 people and received 45 responses to questions. According to results in a city memo, respondents were "very supportive of the project vision and goals, with suggestions about particular features and concerns to emphasize."
The city went on to say most respondents do not frequently go to the riverfront area, but said park activities, businesses and better biking and walking connections would make them want to visit.
It continued by saying pedestrian connections were listed as very important for the area by respondents, while improved vehicle access was not as important.
"Trails were by far the most desired feature for the riverfront area, followed by picnic and playground areas and non-motorized boating activities," the city's memo stated.
Likewise, continued industrial activity was not considered a priority. The memo stated that of the nearly 30 residents who responded to a survey, 86 percent either "agreed or strongly agreed with the project vision statement."
The city also has a second public event planned for early December to hear the committee's thoughts on the alternatives. After this, Caines said the city will gather all the feedback to begin producing the preferred alternative that will be returned to the advisory committee.
"From there we go toward adoption," she said.
The original plan encompassed roughly 260 acres from Wynooski Street to Ninth Street, as well as 115 acres of mill land, the Rogers Landing boat ramp and part of the bypass route. That vision had a mix of residences and businesses, as well as walking, biking and improved transportation in the area.