Ontario, Oregon, faces challenges similar to those faced by many other small towns in the west: the city has a small, struggling downtown competing for relevance with big box stores on the periphery of town. As result, there are many vacant or under-utilized buildings downtown with a deteriorating public realm, though the downtown still has “strong bones” that make it a unique and potentially very attractive part of the city.
The revitalization plan focuses largely on priority improvement projects for the downtown that encompass land use plans, urban design, and transportation plans. These projects aim to bring some energy back into downtown and improve vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle connections into and through the city center. Some specific improvements are:
- Gateway improvements at and near the intersection of West Oregon Street and Idaho Avenue.
- Streetscape and storefront improvements along South Oregon Street and adjacent east-west streets.
- A new downtown park, located at the southwest corner of South Oregon Street and First Avenue.
- New mixed-use development and plaza adjacent to the historic railroad depot.
Improved railroad crossing along Southeast Fifth Avenue.
- Traffic circulation improvements, new bicycle lanes and paths, high-visibility crosswalks, and
- ADA upgrades at intersections.
Working with input from local residents, city staff, and a team of consultants, the plan also incorporates technical studies, cost estimates, and potential funding sources and implementation strategies to help the city government, residents, and businesses make the plan a reality.