A motel on the hill

By Tony Ahern
   It's still a few years out before mini conventions can be held there, but the somewhat upscale motel on the north end of Madras will represent substantial change.
   Its conference capabilities will certainly expand what can be comfortably accommodated here. Its largest impact, though, may be as a community builder, spurring further development on the northwest end of Madras, on the west side of U.S. Highway 26.
   Once built, the motel will change the landscape of Madras. Even when entering town from the south, eyes are pulled northward at Highway 26 leaving up the hill. Since last year, the peach-colored Matzatlan Restaurant has stood out from a distance, like a beacon on the north hill. It looks fantastic. This new motel, which will go up west of the highway, across from Matzatlan, should be even more regal and eye-catching perched above town. Travelers might be able to see it from Juniper Butte.
   Madras is indeed awakening from the doldrums that have enveloped it during the early years of this decade. The Urban Renewal District, key in bringing the motel project to light, deserves much of the credit.
   The resurgence has been a combination of the urban renewal, local owners investing in their present businesses, and outside investors discovering that Madras combines good value with outstanding potential. The future is vividly bright.
   Sen. Ron Wyden is back in Jefferson County. He'll be at the fire hall Wednesday 1:30 p.m..
   It is mentioned on this page nearly every time Wyden makes one of his annual county stops: rare is the U.S. senator who visits the hinterlands of their states as often as the man from Portland. Wyden makes it a point to visit every county in Oregon at least once a year. He usually talks about what he feels are important issues, and then listens to what his constituents think are important issues.
   Those visits have paid dividends, directly leading to the soccer fields at Juniper Hills Park, for one. It also puts our citizens a handshake and conversation away from the highest levels of American government.
   Wyden should be careful. If the senator continues to keep mixing with us commoners so often, he might stop getting invited to those fancy Washington parties.