A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On Sunday night, discovering downtown

Written November 29th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Downtown on a winter evening. No traffic, and the Albany Carousel lights the way.

If you want to ride your bike around perfectly smooth city streets without any other traffic for as long as you want, try downtown Albany on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving. Or any Sunday night.

Except for the restaurants open only for take-out because of Covid-19, most of the shops are closed this Sunday night. There’s the occasional car and even a pedestrian or two, but otherwise you have the streets to yourself.

Some of these streets were rebuilt in 2018 at a cost topping $10 million, with the central Albany urban renewal program paying about $8.4 million of that. They are are best-paved streets in town.

There are times when the old commercial core of Albany is plenty busy. But if you want to see how empty it can be on a chilly Sunday evening in November, come along on this meandering, four-minute ride:

By now it’s around 5 p.m. and getting pretty dark. Time to get off the bike and take a closer look at the Christmas windows of downtown stores. Like these:

You almost get the feeling that you’re in the kind of downtown you remember as a kid. The only thing missing is the window of a toy store with a model train chugging around a tree.

Downtown Albany: Hard to beat as a place to look around on a winter night before Christmas. But also check it out when all the shops are open, then go inside to see what you can buy. (hh)

7 responses to “On Sunday night, discovering downtown”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    CARA rules.

    I remember downtown in 1990. Vacant stores. Buildings in disrepair, and as CARA redevelopment found out, a couple that were in imminent mode to fail.

    Now, they are restored and safe. And full of businesses .

    Vision is seeing the future as it could be. All that needs is people with the dedication to say “Now!”.

    Albany did that.

  2. Joe Dojcsak says:

    Really enjoyed the wonderful bike ride through town, and especially seeing your face at the end of the clip. You look great–even after all these years!
    Your long-time friend…Joe

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Hey Joe, great to hear from you, and thanks for looking at that amateur’s video. For our other readers and viewers, Joe and I worked together in the newsroom of the Van Nuys News in Los Angeles, while going to college. We started as copy boys before becoming reporters.

  3. William Ayers says:

    Good stuff! Thank you Hasso.

  4. CHEZZ says:

    Thank you Hasso for your ride through Downtown! I am quite isolated and your video gave me hope that Albany’s world is still moving along with good Christmas cheer!

  5. Robert D Stalick says:

    Thanks, Hasso. Nice tour of the town.

  6. Katherine says:

    I too have been exploring Downtown after dark. I love walking and window shopping. Great exercise and it brings simple joy during these tough times. I love the lights. Thanks for the view. Remember to support Small Businesses.


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