CDBG Funds Pump New Life Into Downtown Rogue River

City: Rogue River, OR

The city of Rogue River in northern Jackson County has struggled economically like many other small timber industry-dependent communities. So in 2003, the Oregon Downtown Development Association (ODDA) developed a plan for the Revitalization of Downtown Rogue River, identifying the need to encourage the public and businesses to come back into the downtown area by improving the safety and walkability of the downtown core.

The plan identified numerous commercial buildings available for business development and noted the community would benefit greatly from the economic stimulus new and expanded businesses would likely provide. In response to these community goals, the Infrastructure Finance Authority joined city leaders to help fund the community's downtown revitalization plans.

The IFA provided Rogue River a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant that was combined with approximately $15,000 in local funds for the project in late 2009. Plans called for the construction of streetscape and sidewalk improvements including the creation of ADA-compliant curb extensions at intersections; textured or colored crosswalks to improve and emphasize the pedestrian scale; the addition of street trees with permeable pavers to allow for watering; inclusion of pedestrian-scaled lighting with self-watering flower baskets; and new sidewalks, curbs and gutters to improve pedestrian circulation along Pine Street and East Main Street. In addition, the project added permanent benches, trash receptacles and bike racks to the downtown area that helped encourage pedestrians and bicyclists to visit.

With the completion of the project by the end of 2011, the plan's goals to improve the walking experience in the downtown core for residents and visitors and to encourage people to walk and shop in downtown Rogue River have been achieved.

The community received more good news in early 2011 when the Murphy Co., announced it would reopen a shuttered plywood plant in the community and create 108, full-time jobs. Business Oregon provided $6 million in industrial development bonds to help fund the reopening of the mill.