OREGON (WTOL) - Oregon is one of the few cities without a physical downtown, but they have been doing a lot to make sure Navarre Ave. is improved and gives off a hometown feel. Now they are adding to that plan in a different way.
About 40,000 cars drive through the intersection Navarre and Wheeling in Oregon daily. That number is likely to grow as new businesses continue to move into town, from national chains like Chipotle to local spots like Deet’s BBQ.
“We’re excited to be in Oregon and we hope people come out and support us,” said Trevor Deeter, owner of Deet’sBBQ.
To accommodate the growth and increase safety about $5 million was spent to work on Navarre Avenue. Now that update is earning state awards for safety and is just the first step to what the area could look like in the future.
“We’re trying to make a space at the heart of the community that really kind of develops as a core that kind of says this is home,” said Mike Beazley, Oregon City Administrator. “We’re doing that to try to make it walkable, to kind of focus our energy and really take advantage of our strengths.”
The city is currently doing site assembly for nearly five plots of land around Navarre Ave. The land is about 60 acres in total and includes the former Kmart, radio station site and more. City leaders said while the idea is still in the beginning stages they have had interest in the development of the area with residential, retail and restaurants.
They are hopeful something will come to connect the area to the businesses and offer a new way of living especially because of the land’s proximity to the hospital and industrial areas nearby too.
”We think that some of those people who work there would like to live nearby, would like be able to walk to work, like to be able to go out to eat and have a different experience,” said Beazley. “We’re trying to build an Oregon that’s really directed to recognize that there’s another generation of residents that are looking to kind of consume life in a different way."
Beazley admits they are excited about the potential, but know it is going to take time. The city doesn’t have any firm plans for the 60 acres. They are still getting the land ready for developers who are expected to pitch their proposals this spring.
City leaders said they hope whatever comes will fill a gap in the community for those looking for quality apartments, condos, villas or even just walkable areas.
“We’ve got to make sure that that next generation of homebuyer has an opportunity to make some connections here and to get their start here,” said Mike Beazley, Oregon City Administrator. “Unless we develop space like this I think we’re missing out on a segment of the market.”
Just down the road from this new potential development is a local restaurant that is expanding. Deet’s BBQ will move into their fourth location, this one on Navarre Avenue, in February.
“We feel like it’s very inviting to food, there’s a lot of options, but there is a lot of fast food and not anything in our category,” said Trevor Deeter, Deet’s owner. “We feel like it is kind of a highway for people traveling in and out of Toledo so we’re excited to be on this street.”Along with their award-winning barbecue Deet’s will bring more than 15 jobs. On Tuesday January 15th they will hold a walk-in hiring event from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m."
City Leaders say that's just the beginning of what is to come. While they can't announce anything official yet, they say a billion-dollar industrial deal is expected in the next several months.
The Oregon City Flag reads “City of Opportunity” and it seems with these plans and more to come that they are living up to that slogan.