Downtown O-town explosion

Oroville’s historic center is on the verge of blowing up, in a super exciting way

Downtown Oroville isn’t having much luck hosting farmers’ markets this year. But don’t take that to mean the area is in trouble—it’s actually quite the opposite. The last time I was in downtown O-town, a month or so ago, I noticed a lot of cool new businesses had recently popped up. Apparently it’s happening on a larger scale than I realized.

I reported earlier this spring that the city’s Saturday market, hosted by the Chico Certified Farmers’ Market, relocated from its home downtown to Riverbend Park. That’s because the parking lot where it had been held is being poised for cleanup by PG&E. Then, I got word earlier this week that the Wednesday market, a popular evening gathering à la the Thursday Night Market in Chico, has been canceled. But that’s for a whole different reason.

I called over to Alan Jones, president of the Oroville Downtown Business Association, which sponsors the event, and he explained what happened. First of all, he said, they just launched the market last summer. It started up again for the season this past March. It was successful, he said, but the organization recognized that it could benefit from better advertising, finding outside sponsors, working more with downtown businesses to stay open during market hours. “We’re taking cues from the Saturday market,” he said.

But the bigger problem for the Wednesday night market was all the construction that’s going on. “Downtown Oroville is just about ready to blow up,” Jones said. “It’s going to be awesome, you can just feel the synergy. The buildings—they’re filling up almost as fast as they’re opening up.” He’s particularly excited about the Oroville Inn, which could open up its residential wing to over 100 students from the Northwest Lineman College as soon as November. That, plus a number of restaurants, a wine bar and other shops are all in the works.

As for the future of the market, Jones said the plan is to come back next year bigger than ever, with a better marketing plan and a revitalized downtown core.

From sea to shining sea OK, maybe not quite that far, but damn close. Congrats go out to Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. for yet another milestone when it comes to sustainability. Chico’s beloved brewer announced Monday (June 13) that its facility in Mills River, N.C., has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status. For the uninitiated, that’s the highest you can get. It’s the first production brewery in the United States to reach that status—the Mondavi Institute at UC Davis also is LEED Platinum, but it is focused more on research and education.