Project Discovery Milton-Freewater

Milton-Freewater evolved from the merging of the towns of Milton and Freewater, and is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Mountains in northeast Oregon. The town is built on a rich horticulture history and has 7,000 residents. Positioned within the newly established Rocks District of Milton-Freewater American Viticultural Area (AVA), the town sees an opportunity to reimagine and rebrand itself to initiate economic growth.

Through community workshops, SERA helped inspired residents and business owners to take charge of planning their own future and building economic vitality for coming generations. The vision repositions Milton-Freewater by focusing on authentic qualities such as its history and picturesque landscape setting. The central theme of the vision is Renaissance — reconnection to the river, revitalization of downtown and redevelopment of the two historic main streets. The vision promotes the idea of local stewardship of nature and the landscape, preserving the steep hillsides and reintroducing the Walla Walla River as a natural amenity to be celebrated and enjoyed.

The area between the two original towns, nicknamed “the Hyphen district,” is envisioned as a new vibrant district with redevelopment opportunities related to the local wine industry. The community’s vision offers an integrated and holistic framework that will guide the city toward becoming the beating heart of Rocks District of Milton-Freewater American Viticultural Area–a prosperous and desirable destination for living, working and visiting.