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Mayor raises concerns about branding, zoning

A recurrent refrain from city leaders is that Estacada is on the precipice of a major transition.

“I feel like we’re right on the verge of some significant change in Estacada in some very positive ways,” said Mayor Brent Dodrill.

Broadway Street in downtown is about to be reconstructed, the city is an anchor point in a freshly designated scenic bike route and a brand new cycling plaza is under construction near City Hall.

Dodrill usually speaks of these developments with an air of excitement, but at the City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 27, he introduced a note of caution.

Dodrill said that he expects the remade Broadway Street to attract a lot of attention and new business.

But certain businesses, he hopes will settle outside of the downtown core area, such as adult entertainment and marijuana dispensaries and recreation establishments, if legalized.

“I want to make it clear that I’m not questioning the right of those businesses to exist, I just think we have a responsibility to make sure that that doesn’t compromise all that we’ve invested in the downtown core,” Dodrill said.

Dodrill said his main concern was businesses such as these settling on the revamped Broadway Street or close to schools. He asked city staff to look into zoning options.

Secondly, Dodrill brought up the seeming lack of a unifying identity to guide Estacada’s new development.

“Who are we as Estacada?” Dodrill asked, bringing up such familiar taglines and slogans as “The Gateway to the Clackamas” and “Close to everything but away from it all.”

The town’s identity, or the identity it wants to have, has not quite been nailed down, Dodrill implied.

Dodrill said he thought selecting a clear identity for Estacada should have been done before the Broadway Streetscape Project.

“I think we’re behind the 8-ball on this one,” he said.

Councilor Michele Conditt noted that branding cities is expensive: there is a cost bringing the website, letterhead and vehicles in line with the intended message.

“There’s definitely a price tag for that,” she said.

Councilor Sean Drinkwine also remarked on the expense.

Drinkwine recommended the city hire a professional to guide the rebranding effort. He also suggested asking other cities that have recently gone through rebranding about the process.

Dodrill said that he though the Estacada Area Chamber of Commerce and Estacada Development Association should be involved with any rebranding efforts, not just city staff.

City Manager Bill Elliott said that rebranding would be “quite a process” and take a great deal of time.

Dodrill cautioned that the city’s money could be spent more efficiently after tackling these projects.

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