The Astoria City Council Monday evening voted to name the pond in Mill Pond Village after the man responsible for the redevelopment of the property. Art DeMuro was just 57 when he lost his battle with cancer and died on September 8, 2012 but he left his mark as a respected and successful historic preservationist and a leader in community revitalization in Oregon. Amongst his many achievement’s Astoria’s Mill Pond Village was an important one for the town.
Mill Pond Village is a 16 acre site on Astoria’s waterfront that was once home to an historic mill that in its early years milled airplane struts out of spruce used in world war one aircraft and in the years that followed converted into producing several grades of plywood. For over 100 years the mill was a major hub for the local lumber industry operating from 1870 until it closed in 1989.
The closure left the city with major economic and environmental challenges. In 1994 the site was declared a Brownfield and became eligible for federal assistance. State contractors removed 6,000 cubic yards of soil and contaminated sediment loaded with various toxic chemicals. The 3.7 acre log pond was cleaned up treating and discharging 57,000 gallons of clean water back into the pond.
In 1999 DeMuro’s company, Venerable Properties bought the property from the city and sat down with local leaders and residents to incorporate the project into the Astoria Gateway Master Plan.
Today Mill Pond Village is a vibrant, upscale community of carefully designed homes, connecting streets, and small parks with adjacent multifamily and senior housing. The project encouraged other developers to add additional housing in that river front area reflecting the design standards in place for the mill pond.
Mayor LaMear will hold a public ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the pond in DeMuro’s name and recognizing his service to Astoria at Mill Pond Park on May 15th at 1:30 PM.