Size of proposed hotel on Oregon's south side reduced to 52 rooms

A proposed hotel on Oregon’s south side has been downsized from 75 to 52 rooms. 

The change was presented to the Village Board Monday, which accepted it without much comment. In fact, several officials, including Village President Steve Staton, said a three-story hotel with 52 units seems more reasonable.

“I’m certainly no hotel expert, but that 70-room hotel seemed kind of big to me,” Staton said.

Eric Lund, owner of S&L Hospitality in Verona, had asked the village for $1 million in financial assistance on the original proposal, a Sleep Inn and Suites Hotel on the site where the former Waterfall Restaurant sits on Park Street. But that number is likely to be reduced.


Oregon Planning Commission to again consider banquet facility

A proposed banquet facility for the old Union Sports Club building is returning to the Village of Oregon’s Planning Commission Feb. 4.

The commission first heard about the proposal at its November meeting, and since then it has scheduled two public hearings for the facility and requested further information each time. The public hearing is scheduled to continue at Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. meeting at Village Hall.

Commissioners will also hold a public hearing for a detached Jefferson Street garage, further discuss the timeline for the proposed sign code and consider scheduling a public hearing for the idea of lighting the “Tin Man” water tower.


Town of Oregon: Four candidates for two board seats

Town of Oregon voters will have a choice to make at the ballot box in April.

There are four candidates for two open seats after the Jan. 16 nomination caucus.

Newcomers Jason Marshall and Arlen Christensen will challenge incumbents Phil Van Kampen and Steve Root.

Christensen, who has lived in the town for 73 years and was on the board years ago, said he’s been reading up on meeting minutes since his nomination.

“I’ve been on some other boards … and you learn what’s going on,” Christensen said. “I thought I’d learn some more.”

He said he left the board years ago because he did not have enough time with raising his children, as well.


Oregon ranks among best, safest communities in state

Two separate organizations that rank Wisconsin municipalities for safety and best places to live have named Oregon among the top 10 places in the state in both surveys.

The Village of Oregon placed at No. 5 on HomeSnacks list of Best Places to Live in Wisconsin, and No. 7 in a list of Safest Places to Live in Wisconsin, compiled by

Both organizations used data provided by municipalities to the FBI and other governmental agencies. used such criteria as burglary odds, changes in the burglary rate, police officers per capita, crime rate per 1,000 population and crimes per day in naming the Village of Oregon one of the state’s safest places to live.


Brooklyn woman killed in crash

An 80-year-old Brooklyn woman died Saturday afternoon near the intersection of county highways MM and A, in the Town of Oregon.



Village of Brooklyn: New village hall hours begin Feb. 1

The Village of Brooklyn Hall will be closed on Fridays beginning Feb. 1.

The Village Board decided at its Jan. 11 meeting to make the change on a trial basis because clerk Carol Strause will be on medical leave for six to eight weeks beginning Feb. 18.

Village President Pat Hawkey told the Observer in an email the clerk and deputy clerk work 10-hour days to keep the office open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. With Strause out, deputy clerk Linda Kuhlman will be the only employee covering the office, plus meetings.

The change, which Hawkey said should not have a major effect on the community because the hall has a drop box the public can use to drop off documents, will be revisited at the board’s April meeting, according to meeting minutes.

For information on the hours change, visit


OPD rolls out police cams

Photo courtesy the Oregon Police Department. This photo, posted to the OPD Twitter account (@VillageOregonPD) Jan. 22 shows the new cameras being used by officers.

Residents might notice a new kind of equipment on its police officers, mounted on their ear.

As of Saturday, Jan. 22, officers began wearing a small camera as part of their standard equipment. Oregon Police chief Chief Brian Uhl told the Observer that after a short training session, the cameras were deployed.

Uhl said the department purchased 18 cameras – one for each officer and a spare. Last week, the Village Board authorized the use of $22,000 to purchase the cameras, which had been included in the 2016 budget.

The department announced the deployment on its Twitter feed.


Department of Transportation: U.S. Hwy. 14 will stay the course

U.S. Hwy. 14 between Oregon and Brooklyn will remain in its present corridor for the foreseeable future.

That’s the message the Wisconsin Department of Transportation sent to village officials in a letter dated Jan. 8.

DOT project development supervisor Karla Knorr informed village administrator Mike Gracz that the DOT’s plan to realign Hwy. 14 between Hwys. 138 and 92 near the Village of Brooklyn has been replaced with a new plan to simply improve the road, sometime in the “early 2020s.”

The letter states “alternatives to construct a new highway alignment have been postponed,” and that the DOT has elected to improve the existing highway instead.

Gracz said he wasn’t expecting the change of plan because the DOT has held numerous meetings with the public on the project.


Academy of Sound moves out of downtown location

Photos by Jacob Bielanski. Academy of Sound was packing boxes to move from its location on the second floor of 101 S. Main Street on Monday, Jan. 25. The school is expected to have begun operations at the First Presbyterian Church at 403 N. Bergamont Boulevard as of Friday.

A music school will leave its prominent downtown space, and possibly the village, after a settlement reached last Friday in a months-long dispute with its landlords.

Academy of Sound manager Keith Hampton told the Observer in an email it would move to a temporary space in the First Presbyterian Church at 408 N. Bergamont Blvd., commencing lessons there as of Jan. 29.

Academy founder Erin Chisman told the Observer that they are looking for a more permanent space, and estimated there was a “25 percent” chance that the company would stay in the Village.

The landlords, Bonnie and Jerry Thiel, filed an eviction against the Academy of Sound Dec. 21 for violating a noise clause in the lease at the building on 101 S. Main St., which had been drafted prior to the Thiels’ purchase of the building.


Oregon Village Board postpones decision on downtown parking proposal

Photo courtesy Google Street View. The house at 159 S. Main Street, where a parking lot is being proposed, was photographed in 2011. Owners Jerry and Bonnie Thiel said they don’t wish to make a profit from the sale of the building.

Village officials are interested in a proposal to buy a home located on the edge of downtown, move the house and build a parking lot. But not for several months, at least.

No decisions will be made until after consultants and the Village Board complete a civic campus plan they’ve been working on, village administrator Mike Gracz told the Observer this week. He said the plan could be done sometime this summer.

Earlier this month, Jerry and Bonnie Thiel proposed that the village purchase a house they own at 159 S. Main St., where the street transitions from businesses to a residential area, and convert the property into a 65-stall parking lot. The couple said they aren’t looking to make a profit from the sale, but they believe more parking would benefit downtown businesses, including ones in buildings they own further north.

The board met in closed session last week to discuss the proposal.


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