A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A plan for the corner of Santiam and Main

Written January 24th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Santiam Road on the left; Main Street on the right. Question: Will this corner be developed as proposed?

Yohn Baldwin has filed the site plan for a proposed development on the corner of Santiam Road and Main Street in Albany. But whether the project goes ahead may depend on how much the city requires to be done on Main.

The property is the former site of the historic Cumberland Church, which was moved a quarter mile down Santiam Road in 2021. Baldwin is the president of Baldwin General Contracting Inc., based next door to the former church site on Santiam.

His real estate company, Benjamen Properties LLC, bought the now-vacant church lot from the City of Albany last year. It is also buying an adjacent warehouse from the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District (ESD).

Now Baldwin hopes to combine the corner and warehouse lots, refurbish most of the warehouse as a fitness club, and build a parking lot where the church was. A stormwater retention basin is planned on the lot’s northern tip.

The north half of the warehouse, about 8,000 square feet, would become the fitness club. A music store would take up about 1,800 square feet. The remaining roughly 1,000 square feet would be warehouse space rented by the ESD.

On the west side of the warehouse, Main Street was never improved. The change of use, from warehouse to something else, apparently triggers a city requirement that Main be upgraded to current city standards.

Baldwin says he’s already spent about $100,000 getting to this point, including architectural plans. If the city sticks with the Main Street requirement, he told me Tuesday, “I may not be able to do the project.”

He also said he was still trying to work something out.

The city’s Planning Division posted a public notice of the site plan review application last week and said it had notified neighbors within 300 feet. The deadline for commenting on the proposal is Feb. 1. (hh)

The warehouse would become a fitness club, with big windows in what now is a blank wall.

14 responses to “A plan for the corner of Santiam and Main”

  1. hj.anony1 says:


    For a hot minute. Looking out those big beautiful windows from your exercise bike.
    You can see the carpet store. Mindless traffic around the round-ah-Bout. Some using their blinkers. Appropriate or many times not. At all…

    You see the randomness at the 7-Eleven. Fun.

    Meanderings from the Linger Longer. Bring me home, please.

    Motivates me to get on the exercise bike!

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    It’s rather pointless since Main is still blocked off at Pacific.

    Would all the other property owners along that section have to improve the street to the same standards?

  3. Mike Patrick says:

    I still don’t understand why the church had to be moved, so the land could become a parking lot?

  4. Antny Yo says:

    Once again, the Albany Planning Division stifling growth one project at a time.

  5. Cathryn Colony says:

    Excellent plan!!

  6. Rich Kellum says:

    I CRY FOUL……………….these folks got the property by explaining how wonderful the corner would be treated and the advantages that would come to the city by selling the property to them instead of others. They evidently did not want to point out that they would not be able to follow the rules…. being a developer, rules that they should have known would be staring them in the face.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      EXACTLY HOW MUCH of the street would they be forced to improve? All the way to Pacific? That’s about 4 blocks worth! Just improving the section in front of the property in question ONLY is pointless, if the rest of the street to Pacific ISN’T improved.

      This is just an idiotic version of passing the blame for the former Mayor/City Council getting involved in the Cumberland Church fiasco. The City was allegedly going to fix that section of street which was the justification for purchasing that white elephant church.

      Would the City be as concerned if Scott Lepman or Bill Ryals were involved?

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Bill, normally; the improvements only happen right next to the property.

      • MarK says:

        Not to worry. If the same folks who did Madison do the work it should only cost about $10 (at least that’s what the work on Madison is worth).

  7. Jacque Phillippe says:

    On another note, Hasso…could you please investigate another corner on Santiam Highway…the one on Santiam and Bain Street. The construction of a Mexican restaurant started many, many months ago, and now has completely stopped! What’s going on with that?!?

  8. chrisj says:

    The city bought the church to sell the land and had the kind people of Albany pay to move it so they didn’t have to pay to have it demolished. They did the jefferson street right of way vacation so they could sell the shelter the area to make a parking lot that they didn’t need. little extra change in their piggy bank using the homeless to justify it. Lets keep paying for them their compassion.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Chrisj, WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      The City mistakenly bought the Church property because they thought it was necessary to make the roundabout, A redesign allowed the roundabout to be built and then the Church was surplus, it sat there for years empty and deteriorating. The Council discussed tearing it down and a group of folks objected, wanting to save the church the Council eventually said no, but if they wanted it they could have it for a dollar. The group wanting it raised the money, bought land, moved the church and are now in process of restoring same. Good on them.

      • centrist says:

        Absolutely GOOD ON THEM
        If there’s an error in the happenings with this lot, it is minor in the grand scheme. Imagine the angst and snarling if the property hadn’t been purchased, and was later found necessary.

  9. CHEZZ says:

    It would be a nice open space for the area – grass, appropriate tree, sitting area.


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