I-5 construction presents challenges for local businesses

GLENWOOD, Ore.- Construction of I-5 bridge presents obstacles to the current conditions of Glenwood. Business owners look for alternative solutions to attract new customers.


The main strip of Glenwood where the majority of businesses preside.
Photo By: Alan Sylvestre

Business owners identify positives and negatives to the recent construction on the Interstate 5 bridge that has been in effect since 2011. Members of the community pose some slight problems to the development process.

“The key thing in the redevelopment process was that ODOT didn’t put any off ramps,” Jeff Washington, owner of Washington Auto Wholesale, said. Washington was not the only one to note the change in traffic due to the construction. Other members of the area stated that they’ve noticed less people in the area than before. When asked, they assumed it was because of the construction.


Washington Auto Wholesale
Photo By: Alan Sylvestre

Washington also noted that the lack of accessibility to the area has caused the property rates to change. “The property value is 140% higher than in the Gateway community,” Washington said.

For example, according to Loopnet Commercial Real Estate, the average price for a retail shop is roughly 9$ per square foot in the Gateway community, whereas the same type of shop can cost up to 15$ per square foot in the Glenwood area. This is a large problem because of the ill accessibility as a result of the new construction. Property owners are resorting to drastic means to afford the rent for commercial businesses.

Other prominent members of the community pose different reasons to the lack of traffic through the area. “If I could talk about the current conditions of Glenwood, it would have to be the aesthetics,”Laurie Naba, manager of Signature Surfaces NW, said. “People don’t take care of their buildings.”

On average, the buildings of Glenwood are not taken care of. It’s not a result of the business owners, but a direct result of the high property costs. Some members of the local community said they spend all of their money paying rent, and therefore cannot afford the cost of up-keep and maintenance on the buildings.

“It’s a very expensive place to live,” Washington said. This could be another possible result of the lack of traffic for local businesses.


Signature Surfaces NW
Photo By: Alan Sylvestre

Apart from the challenges being faced by local businesses, there are several that find the area a pleasant place to reside and have plans to remain here. They feel it’s a nice separation between city and country living.

“It’s not Eugene,” Naba said. “It’s much more out of the way, and not so much [a] big city. I like it here.”

About alansylvestre

I'm a professional videographer and photographer My interests in storytelling are related to the way people interact with governing bodies, and vice versa. I find joy in telling stories around human interest. My specialties are in videography and photography.
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