Junction City: The revival of the RV manufacturing capital of the world




Junction City Phot

Junction City: The Revival of the RV Manufacturing Capital of the World

 

Just 15 miles north of Eugene, Junction City is a bustling town of around 6,000 people. The small-town feel is ever-present and evident in the downtown area on 6th Street. Neighbors know each other, and the shops and restaurants between Front and Ivy (Highway 99) offer a cheerful, friendly experience. When you see the iconic clock at 6th and Greenwood, you’ll know you’re in the heart of Junction City. The city’s agricultural roots are still visible, as farms remain a large part of its economy.

 

Many large RV manufacturers called Junction City home before the recent recession, earning it the nickname “The RV Manufacturing Capital of the World.” Country Coach was one such company before the recession caused its doors to close. In 2015, Winnebago bought the old Country Coach facility, which included 9 buildings and 41 acres. After hiring more than 30 percent of Country Coach’s past workers, the first RV was manufactured in 2016 and sent to Guaranty RV (also in Junction City), one of the nation’s largest RV dealers. 

 

Founded in the 1800s, Junction City was destined for railroad glory. A twist of fate, however, changed the city’s focus.  While there are two tracks that pass through the city, the railroad is not the city’s main bread and butter. The only way to reminisce on the railroad days of old is to visit the historic Finnish steam locomotive, located in Founders Park. The park and the locomotive are at the center of downtown on 5th and Holly.

 

The park also serves as the venue for the city’s annual Scandinavian Festival. With the construction of Interstate 5 diverting traffic away from the city, one Dr. Gale F. Fletchall had the desire and means to revitalize his business in town. He wanted to draw visitors to Junction City and showcase its Danish roots. Just like that the Scandinavian Festival was born and 2017 marks its 57th year. Facilitated now by the non-profit Scandinavian Cultural Foundation of Junction City, this festival is an August Junction City tradition.

 

Another Junction City tradition is the community fundraiser Function 4 Junction, a classic car cruise and show. During this annual gathering, the City shuts down Highway 99 for the evening. In 2017, however, the highway will be closed for a second evening, allowing for newer cars on Friday, June 2nd, and strictly older, classic cars on June 3rd. While many smaller towns hold just two to three events per year, Junction City holds on average of five events. Other events to enjoy include the Daffodil Festival in March and the Junction City Light Parade in December.

 

This year, the City anticipates the continuation of its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramp improvements on 6th Street in front of the high school to create safer routes to school for students. The City also plans to repave Laurel Street from 6th to 12th. In the next few years, the City plans to begin work on a sewer plant upgrade and develop an initiative for affordable housing through incentives for developers. As one of the fastest growing cities in Lane County, Junction City realizes the need to make housing available and affordable.

 

There are also plans to get the community more involved through improved communication. One way the City proposes to do that is through a website update and more social media activity, as more community members request online interaction and information. Junction City’s population consisted mostly of the elderly, but in recent years it’s shifted to a younger demographic. This shift creates an increasing need for adopting modern methods of communication.

 

Visiting Junction City soon and looking for some fun activities around town? Check out the Community Services page on the Junction City website for information on happenings at city parks, the library, the aquatics center, the community center, and the Viking Sal senior center.

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