The Gathering Place in Milton-Freewater

The Gathering Place in Milton-Freewater, Feb. 10, 2021. Milton-Freewater is seeing an influx of businesses applying for land-approval in the town.

MILTON-FREEWATER — For the first time in many years, Milton-Freewater is seeing an influx of businesses applying for land approval in the town. The city of Milton-Freewater reported a total of 212 businesses in the town in 2020.

Columbia Street is home to many of Milton-Freewater’s big businesses, including Dutch Bros Coffee, Safeway and Papa Murphy’s. Recently joining this stretch is Dollar General, and plans for opening a new location of Taqueria Mi Pueblito and Taco Bell on this street also are underway.

Dollar General

Construction for a new Dollar General store at 45 S. Columbia St. began in January. The business employed as many as 10 new hires at its opening in mid-May. Dollar General sells food, health and beauty products, basic apparel and more.

Taqueria Mi Pueblito

The local chain Taqueria Mi Pueblito has applied for a business license to expand to a new location at 105 N. Columbia St. The chain has two other locations, both in Walla Walla.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is undergoing a conditional-use permit process for a brand new building at 124 S. Columbia St. This lot has sat vacant and has served as a parking lot for at least the past 30 years. At the June 7 Milton-Freewater Planning Commission, Taco Bell sought a conditional-use permit for a drive-thru that was approved during the hearing.

Looking ahead

If this trend continues, more businesses could be locating to Milton-Freewater in the near future. According to the Population Research Center at Portland State University, within the urban growth boundary, the forecasted population of Milton-Freewater is expected to grow to about 7,441 in 2025 to 7,633 in 2030 and eventually 8,032 in 2040. With a predicted influx in population, Milton-Freewater could be growing and experience an advent of new businesses.

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