Newberg culture — Board looks to sort out rules and issues while establishing an individual identity for the cultural district

With construction on the forecourt before the Chehalem Cultural Center thoroughly underway, the Newberg Cultural District executive board’s job is just beginning. The board held a preliminary meeting Oct. 28 to address board formation, the basics of a work plan and establish representatives from the city, Chehalem Park and Recreation District, the library, the cultural center and a residential spokesperson.

The first official meeting was Nov. 5.

Leah Griffith, library representative and board chairwoman, said the purpose of the board is similar to a neighbor’s lawn. When one neighbor mows their lawn and another doesn’t, it creates a line where grass is longer on one side. They didn’t want the NCD to operate like that — with pieces of the NCD in conflict with others due to varied management — so about a year ago they decided to create a board.

“We have a list of things we need to do. So what are the priorities, what are the timelines?” she said.

This list includes a succinct set of rules for the four-block space, parking issues, signage and establishing an identity for the NCD.

Griffith said this started with establishing an intergovernmental agreement, necessary because sections of the NCD are owned by the city and others by CPRD.

Next is starting work on signage and way-finding, possible through a National Endowment of the Arts “Our Town” grant.

The grant is for $50,000, but the NCD only gets what they can match. So the city and CPRD are putting in $35,000, which Griffith said is plenty to start working.

“The initial amount we have is more than enough to cover architect fees and get those designs and such done,” she said. “(Which is important) because if we don’t have designs it’s hard to get grants and money to fund the project if (donors) don’t know what their money is going for.”

She said the same architect is being used for sign development as is being used for the forecourt — which will include an entrance sign at Howard Street and Hancock Street identifying the NCD as well as the individual entities within — and will only increase the individual identity of the NCD and harmonize with the work already being done.

With those plans underway, then the board can focus on sorting out parking issues, which Griffith said will potentially increase if there are more events scheduled, as they intend.

“When there is a big event here with 1,000 people there’s (potentially) 300 to 400 cars, so what do we do when we have those big events to mitigate when someone comes home on a Tuesday and can’t park anywhere near their house because it’s Tunes on Tuesday?” she said. “That’s really one of main reason we have a neighbor on the board to make sure we have that perspective and keep that perspective.”

She said right now the board is focused on the immediate, but they are also keeping their minds on the future and the potential for the NCD.

“This year is the groundwork. Same as they’re building the street out there, we’re building bases to be able to use this space,” Griffith said. “The Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland’s living room. We’re hoping this is Newberg’s living room.”

The board will meet at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at the CCC. Although the site is not fully functional yet, for more information about the NCD in the future, visit

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