An additional vote will be required prior to the purchase and renovation of any buildings

The Estacada City Council has ratified an amendment to the city's urban renewal plan that will allow for the purchase of vacant and dilapidated buildings from willing sellers to create space for new businesses.

The amendment was approved at a City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 9, and will focus on properties in downtown Estacada. An additional vote will be required prior to the purchase and renovation of any buildings.

Economic Development Manager Matt Lorenzen proposed the amendment in order to spur growth in downtown Estacada. Though the city offers several grant programs for new and existing business owners to renovate their buildings, many are not engaging with these programs.

"You've got owners who don't see the ROI (return on investment) and lessees who don't have the capital to invest in a property," Lorenzen told the Estacada News during a previous interview. "Observing people not taking advantage of these grants, we felt it was our role to take a more proactive approach to this, in finding a willing seller to acquire the property from, get it into condition and find someone to move into it."

Similar projects have been completed in Lincoln City and The Dalles.

The cost of the first renovation project would depend on the needs of the specific building and would be covered by Urban Renewal funds.

"We'll start with what we hope will be a small, simple project," Lorenzen said. "We have those funds in cash, so we wouldn't have to incur any debt.

In the long run, Lorenzen hopes the new program will give property owners the incentive to complete additional development projects in Estacada.

"When we see the private sector developing properties downtown, we're out," he said. "We want to demonstrate a proof of concept and do it once or twice before the private investor community notices and thinks, 'Hey, we can do this, too."

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