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Revitalization in Downtown Roseburg: 48 New Businesses Open in the Past 6 years

4:03 PM · Dec 24, 2022

Downtown Roseburg seems to have been infused with new life in the past few years. While downtowns always go through changes with the community, Roseburg Tracker looked at new business data and identified 46 businesses that chose downtown as an ideal location since 2017. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1f9n9wlQqRimdAe73J5ASCJs_DIcGPo0&usp=sharing The data was gathered primarily from the City of Roseburg Master Business Registry and the map was created with the Google Maps application. The map is interactive and more details may be added soon. Businesses that move have to register again with the city. We counted businesses that moved because they chose to move downtown for their new location. Lisa Cavens opened True Kitchen + Bar in 2015 after Mark V closed. She wanted to keep that vibe for her business and opened a restaurant that aims to be comfortable for everyone. When she opened, there was no Old Soul, no North Forty, and Salud wasn’t where it is today. She's watched all of that change from her spot on Main Street. Nearly a quarter of the businesses that opened in the last six years are restaurants. Cavens believes the restaurants aren’t competing with each other, especially with the addition of the activity places like Sunnyside and Tuck's Place. “I think it's going through a revitalization, definitely,” Cavens said. “It will be exciting to see what else comes down here and I think that the more businesses, obviously, the more traffic we get, there are a lot of people that don't come to this side of town and I think the more businesses that are down here the more people we get down here. I think they're kind of coming down and going, 'Oh my gosh, I didn't know they had this over here,' which is great. It's just always exciting to see.” Diversity of businesses is one of the key attributes of a desirable downtown, according to Jane Jacobs in “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” “The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and support well-located parks that can thus give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity.” Just down the street from True Kitchen + Bar at Old Soul Pizza, owner Ray Bartram agrees with Jacobs. The pizza place opened in 2016, when Brix, Alexander’s, and Mariachi Loco were already catering to the downtown dining crowd, but they are all different and there are different types of businesses moving in all the time. “It's becoming a little more diverse as far as the shops that are down here,” Bartram said. “I like to see that. They have moved in and created what I think a downtown should be with attractions for lots of people besides restaurants. Restaurants tend to gravitate downtown. There are now things to do if we're busy or if you want to come in before or afterwards. There are some options.” Both Bartram and Cavens have been working in the downtown area since long before they opened their restaurants. Bartram moved back home after college in 1983 and told people then, while he was living at the Kohlhagen Apartments, that would stay downtown. “I just love downtowns, pretty much anywhere.” “I like the feel, the community of it, the creativity - I think that's the biggest thing,” Bartram said. “You can be more creative in a downtown than almost anywhere else and you should be. That's what attracts people to downtown. I grew up in Roseburg and the downtown was always something that drew people in. It might be kind of going back to what it was.” Cavens said True was made for downtown. She decided she wanted to open the restaurant after the Mark 5 closed around 2013. She had been a server there and has been working in restaurants in Roseburg for over 30 years. “I loved working at Mark V - the vibe was different,” Cavens said. “It's just a different vibe down here. And I think that history of being downtown and just that feeling - we needed to expand upon that. I want to see the downtown area more of a destination for people and I just felt like it was a good fit for my concept." Of the 48 businesses to move into downtown, 34 of them are places to visit either for a chiropractor visit, a tattoo appointment, a phone repair, pottery painting, or shopping for groceries, clothes, trinkets, or craft supplies. “I'm very excited about what's happening,” Bartram said. “Changing is probably the keyword. I'm not sure downtown's growing. Although, I think we're at a point right now where we see some growth going on for a number of reasons. Roseburg is at a weird size. It's probably too big to make a lot of changes, especially quickly. Too many hands in the pot.” Downtown Roseburg has and will continue to work through growing pains and trying to keep up with the changing world. Cavens said that despite all of the issues, complaints, and changes through the years, she still chooses downtown and is encouraged by the energy of the new business owners, like Sarah Everman at the Wine Destination who helps with the (Re)Discover Downtown events. “I just want to see the downtown be a place where people can feel proud to live in Roseburg again, and come down here, and spend a couple of hours and support all the local businesses that are down here,” Cavens said. “And I do think that we're going in the right direction. I encourage more businesses to come down here. It's a great community. Everyone down here supports each other and it's very nice that we can all play off of each other.” The past six years have seen significant progress in the revitalization of downtown Roseburg, with 48 new businesses choosing to locate in the area. While there is still much work to be done, the momentum is clearly evident. From cozy coffee shops and delicious restaurants to diverse retail and service establishments, the downtown area is becoming a vibrant and desirable destination once again. As we continue to work towards a bright future for downtown Roseburg, it is exciting to see what the next chapter will bring. *** A previous version of this article miscounted the years between 2017. Other businesses have been added to the map and article since the original posting. For any questions regarding the data, please contact Janelle James at janellethejourno@gmail.com.

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