» CARA backs pastry chef’s plan


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

CARA backs pastry chef’s plan

Written December 13th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Pastry chef Jolene Wilson at City Hall after getting approval of the CARA board of a loan to help launch her downtown business.

The old Tripp and Tripp Building at the corner of Second Avenue and Ellsworth Street may soon house a bakery, with help from CARA, the downtown urban renewal agency.

The CARA advisory board questioned business owner Jolene Wilson at length on Wednesday but eventually voted, without dissent, to endorse her request for a $50,000 five-year loan at 2.5 percent interest. A trained pastry chef, she plans to renovate and equip what used to be the Tripp real estate office and run her Natural Sprinkles Co. Bakery there. She’s renting the space from building owner Seth Fortier, who also is contributing toward what the CARA board was told was a project costing nearly $150,000.

The lengthy questioning and debate dealt with details of how the business would be run and how the loan would be repaid if the venture fails. Among other things the owner, who lives with her husband and children near downtown Albany, is to sign a promissory note.

Only eight of the 14 CARA board members were there, including five city councilors, barely making up a quorum.

Councilman Rich Kellum questioned making a loan of public money to a new bakery that will be in competition with two others that recently started downtown on their own. Wilson said her operation is different from the others. She has run her business online for three years, selling sprinkles made entirely from natural ingredients.

Councilman Dick Olsen, a longtime advocate of CARA and its activities, once again spoke strongly in favor of encouraging downtown businesses.

Once the loan agreement is composed and run past the city attorney, it will come up for final action by the council acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency or ARA.

The loan money will help pay for interior renovations of the space, which the city staff told the CARA board would raise the building’s value 50 percent to an estimated $750,000. But Linn County tax records list the property’s real market value as only $179,030, even though it was purchased for $360,000 in December 2015.

Jolene Wilson is eager to get going. She’s rented the corner storefront since September and would like to start serving customers before too much more time goes by. (hh)

The Tripp & Tripp Building at Second and Ellsworth is to house Natural Sprinkles in the corner storefront.


9 responses to “CARA backs pastry chef’s plan”

  1. Delfina Hoxie says:

    All of a sudden we have bakeries. I just hope one of them will bake with whole wheat and natural products. Pastries without so much sugar would be great for most of us. Welcome to all.

  2. Tricia says:

    What two bakeries are you talking about? I can only think of one, sort of.
    There isn’t one one can go in a buy donuts and coffee downtown.

    • Colleen says:

      I think the 2 bakeries are Westside, which is next door to Big town hero and Little Wuesten German cafe on Ellsworth.

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    How about a dedicated Gluten Free bakery? People with gluten intolerance (Celiac Sprue) have a difficult time finding good pastry that they can eat. Any “gluten free” goods that come from a source that bakes with wheat, barley or rye flours runs the risk of cross contamination.
    Contrary to what many think going gluten free is often the only option to continuing a normal life.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Once again it appears CARA has failed the citizens by refusing to perform adequate due diligence. On the Project Evaluation Grid the CARA staff said a ROI analysis is “N/A” for this project. Huh?

    Every use of tax increment financing (TIF) should receive an analysis that covers three basic things:

    (1) TIF revenue projections,
    (2) Tax Impact Analysis – tax revenues expected to the taxing districts compared to revenues with no project, and
    (3) A “but for” analysis to determine if the amount of TIF requested is necessary to make the project financially feasible, i.e., “but for” the use of TIF, the project would not occur.

    There are free Excel worksheets that are publicly available to do this type of analysis. Why doesn’t CARA use them?

    Finally, the application states the applicant has access to private capital from “Maps Credit Union.” If this is true, why is CARA, a “lender of last resort” according to the city attorney, providing public funds?

    • James Engel says:

      Gordon, once again you are the voice of sound reasonable fiscal property matters in a ballyhoo of false & inflated property values regarding this project. What the heck does CARA care, it’s not all their money in this project. Any dummy can see the overly inflated property values to make this “fit” a CARA pattern of valuable properties….regardless if sugar coated or not!…

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “…false & inflated property values…”
        Those are the sole realm of the county. The URD simply tries to make improvements to use the gain that comes from the improvements. And if the value improves faster because of the improvements, them I’m 100% in favor of it. Many, many, many different folks have been involved in the process over the years — and Albany has been made much better because of it.

  5. John Hartman says:

    The Albany Rumor Mill has it that as a precondition for the bakery loan, the vendor let it be known there would be, per CARA wishes, free doughnuts for CARA members ad infinitum.

  6. Kong00us says:

    This is all great for people trying to start and run businesses in downtown Albany but the city failed to tell them the conditions of streets and sidewalks will take months or years to complete or it seems that way making it hard for customers to get to there business to help them keep there doors open. I feel bad for people who have business’s down there now. I don’t know many people who even try the downtown area anymore. Personal I would prefer to go to Corvallis and deal with there lack of parking than the mess in Albany my 2 cents


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