A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

At Santiam and Main, signs of construction

Written April 3rd, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Santiam Road on the left; Main Street on the right. In the middle there’s a hole in the ground.

That big hole in the ground you see at the corner of Santiam Road and Main Street in Albany will become a swale to retain storm water when the warehouse in the background is rebuilt, with parking on the lot in front.

I stopped at the corner on a bike ride Monday. Then I checked with Yohn Baldwin, who bought the property at Santiam and Main from the City of Albany in 2022. (He had previously bought, from the Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District, the two warehouses south of the corner lot.)

The lot is the former site of the old Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which the nonprofit Cumberland Community Events Center group paid to move across the railroad tracks to Pine Street and Santiam in 2021.

Baldwin is president of Baldwin General Contracting, which has its offices next door to the former church lot on Santiam. In January 2023 he filed a site plan for renovating the warehouse on the south side of the corner lot to house a fitness training business.

He had been informed that the change in use of the warehouse would require him to improve half of Main Street adjacent to his property, “which burdened the project with approximately $250,000 of unforeseen additional cost.”

Eventually, Baldwin says, the city agreed to reduce the length of street frontage he will have to improve. “Only saved me about $25K,” he says.

Baldwin says he’s still working with the city on another issue, namely systems development charges.

“I am not a developer,” he told me in an email. “I’m just a builder. My hat is off to all the folks that develop property and work with municipalities.”

But he’s pushing on. He hopes to have the project done in late summer. (hh)

Baldwin sent me this rendering of what the renovated warehouse south of the corner lot will look like.

One response to “At Santiam and Main, signs of construction”

  1. Hartman says:

    Mr. Baldwin’s comment, “My hat is off to all the folks that develop property and work with municipalities.” is droll as to make one inhale sharply. Gentle but pointed sarcasm and understatement combined wonderfully, a rhetorical coup de grâce.


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