Livability in McMinnville

This information
courtesy of Wendy Stassens,
Realtor® specializing in
green building and new construction.


Putting Down Roots in McMinnville

W When choosing a new community to reside in, there are many factors to consider besides locating your dream home. For instance, what measures is the city taking for strategic long-term growth? What about parks, open spaces, and kid-friendly features? Conscientious city planning, preservation, sustainability, parks, and numerous activities for children and families make McMinnville a livable place to call home.

How my family came to McMinnville is not a unique story.  Since moving here, I have heard again and again how people fell in love with McMinnville and how, after having lived in so many different places in their lives, finally chose to come home to McMinnville.  The town embraces you with such gentle grace and warmth that it is hard not to feel like you are home when you arrive.

In planning our return to the mainland from Hawaii with our one year old son in 2005, our search was more head than heart in the beginning.  We were enamored with the idea of choosing the place where we would set down roots for our new family.  Between us, my husband and I had lived in six different states and four different countries in our lives, so we had enough experience under our belt to know what we were looking for.  Our decision making matrix was complex and detailed, and we utilized it to look at places all over the world.

Eventually our path led us to McMinnville.  The bustling downtown nestled amidst rolling hills dotted with vineyards and Oak forests, small-town friendliness with amenities uncommon for a smaller town, abundant parks and activities for kids and families, planning to foster community and connectedness, and conveniently located halfway between Portland and the spectacular coast – are just a few selling features of this amazing community.

We love McMinnville and are so grateful to call this our home.  We hope these resources will help you to get to know the many amazing things that this community has to offer!


Fun Things To Do with Kids

  • McMinnville Community Center and Parks Department Programs: The Community Center regularly holds classes ranging from art, music and dancing to sports camps for children of all ages. These classes are changed seasonally, so check out each season’s course offerings on their website.
  • Discovery Meadows Park
  • Public Library Kid’s Activities: The library has abundant programs for young readers of all ages, including poetry contests, kid’s craft fairs, regular story times and book clubs among other activities.
  • Scotty’s Playhouse – This 3,000 sq. ft. playhouse built as a Memorial to three children who died young contains one of the largest indoor play structures in the Northwest, as well as a tot lot for younger kids and a cafe seating area for adults.  This playhouse has regular hours weekly that it is free and open to the public.
  • Tiny Tots – Tiny Tots is a safe, clean, indoor park for children ages 0-5 and their parents located in the McMinnville Community Center.  Tiny Tots is stocked with toys and equipment that promote fine and gross motor skills of young children.
  • McMinnville Aquatic Center – Dedicated as “A Pool for Everybody,” the McMinnville Aquatic Center’s mission is to “serve the diverse recreational interests of our community at an affordable cost.”  The Aquatic Center has regular family swim times, swim classes and an active Swim Club among other fun kid’s activities through the course of the year.  Check out their offerings at
  • Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation District and Miller Woods – The 130 acres of land which comprises Miller Woods was bequeathed to Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District by Frieda Miller in 2003.  Located just 5 minutes outside of McMinnville, Miller Woods is being developed to provide excellent educational and experiential opportunities in a truly stunning setting. It is the district’s goal to extend these opportunities to various age segments in the local and extended community. Five educational sites are currently under development. These locations will be networked together with a trail and be used to teach small groups of students information related to soils, water, wildlife, climate, and forestry. They often hold classes for children that are both fun and educational throughout the year.  Check out the calendar of educational events at

McMinville’s Blueprint for Livability

For the past decade, McMinnville policy-makers, staff and citizen volunteers have been preparing the City’s long-range plan for growth. When originally drafted in 2003, the Growth Management and Urbanization Plan helped establish the City’s vision for McMinnville: A compact and livable community.

In support of the vision, stakeholders in the planning process also confirmed certain urban design principles to guide development through the City’s land use and transportation plans. These core urban design principles include:

  • preserving open space,
  • preventing commercial strip development along arterials,
  • promoting transit and pedestrian-oriented development,
  • providing for economic growth and housing opportunities,
  • strengthening the City’s historic downtown, and
  • connecting neighborhoods and land uses

For more information about the Planning Goals and Policies for McMinnville visit:


Preservation of Parks and Open Space in McMinnville

McMinnville has a Comprehensive plan for parks in the City which includes an emphasis on having parks within walking distance of all residential neighborhoods.  Many of the City Parks contain creeks and interesting natural environments for children to explore.  Some have running and walking trails through woods, along rivers and winding through neighborhoods.  They offer amenities such as ball fields, water features, play equipment, picnic areas and pavilions for private and public gatherings.  McMinnville has 10 City Parks and 7 mini neighborhood parks totaling 241 acres of park space within the McMinnville City limits.  Visit the Parks Department website for more information about reservations of pavilions and cookout facilities at City Parks for events.

The McMinnville Transportation Plan ~ A Connected Community

In 2009 the City of McMinnville adopted a Transportation Plan for the City following a “Complete Street” concept.  This plan was designed to facilitate multimodal transportation on McMinnville streets, to enhance the opportunities to utilize alternate forms of transportation, like bicycles, pedestrian and bus travel, and to enhance the community connectivity.   For more information about the McMinnville Transportation Plan visit

Focus on Sustainability

On June 10, 2008, the McMinnville City Council adopted Resolution 2008-20, which committed the city to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to promoting sustainability.  Subsequent to this resolution they formed the “Sustainability Committee”.  The committee defined sustainability as: ‘Using, developing, and protecting resources at a rate and in a manner that enables people to meet their current needs and also provides that future generations can meet their own needs.  Sustainability requires simultaneously meeting environmental, economic, and community needs.’  – City of McMinnville Sustainability Committee.  For more information about the City of McMinnville’s Sustainability Initiative, visit

Contact McMinnville Realtor® Wendy Stassens at 503-560-5189 to learn more about real estate in McMinnville and the wonderful community that she calls home.