2nd Annual Columbia Century Challenge

Vernonia, OR – If you’ve visited Vernonia on a Saturday in the Summer, you’ll see many cyclists. Vernonia known to many as a bustling cycling community will be the start of the 2nd Annual Columbia Century Challenge Race Saturday, June 17th.  A local group of volunteers that involve business owners and community leaders from across Columbia County have been working over the past three years to bring this race to Columbia County. The Columbia Country Challenge is the only organized cycling race in Columbia County put on by locals who care about enhancing the cycling opportunities in Columbia County.

In 2016, the group held their 1st race the 3rd Saturday in June which brought 100 cyclists out to explore the scenic views in Columbia County. The 1st year race also was voted #2 race by Bike Oregon for the category of Best Bike Ride.  The volunteers are building off the first year success receiving more support from sponsors and volunteers but could always use more support.  The goal of the race is to strengthen the cycling community in Columbia County.  Proceeds from this race help enhance our ride and cycling improvements in honor of Phil Barlow according to their website it was Phil “ who planted the seed for this concept and cared passionately about expanding opportunities for bicycling and fashioning Columbia County as a bicycling destination.”

Gearing up for its 2nd year brings a few changes to the new event.  Last year the race started in St Helens, this year it’s in Vernonia.  You have the option to pick three types of rides out of Vernonia.  The Century Plus 119 miles, Metric Century Plus, 86 miles or the 40-mile gravel ride through commercial timberline.  Go to the website to see the full map to determine which path is the one you shall choose.  Rolling hills, farmland, historic logging trails, scenic views of the Pacific Northwest, what’s not to like?  It’s not too late to join the upcoming race as a cyclist or as a volunteer. You can register online at http://cyclecolumbiacounty.com/registration/    While it lasts use special code CCC17  for a 2 for 1, so grab a friend.  Enjoy your ride whatever one you choose!

Photo Courtsey Cycle Columbia County Facebook
Photo Courtsey Cycle Columbia County Facebook

#cyclecolumbiacounty #cyclecolumbiacentury #cycleoregon #outdoors #familyfriendly #funforall

 

 

 


Scappoose Farmers Market Open This Saturday

Scappoose, OR – Spring signals the return of The Scappoose Farmers Market.  They open their 15th Season this Saturday, May 20th.  The Scappoose Community Club hosts this local Farmers Market which runs now thru September 30th.

You’ll find a  variety of fresh fruits, plants & herbs, vegetables, and handmade goods every Saturday from 9 AM – 2 PM.   The amazing local vendors are located between Heritage Park and Scappoose City Hall.   To stay in touch with events and new vendors follow the Scappoose Famers Market Facebook page.  You’ll also find live music and events at the market.

New this year are vendors like:

Pannikin Ice, Exotic Thai rolled ice cream sold to support job training for local and at-risk youth

YoungFree Designs which create skateboards

Stop by for your local products and say hi to your neighbors.  #shopsmall #shopcolumbiacounty #scappoosefarmersmarket #handmade #fruitsveggies


Business Bits: FinishLine Graphics

Color Charts are Fun. Celeste Hardesty, FLG.

Scappoose, OR –  Have you met Celeste Hardesty?  She’s not your typical business owner and FinishLine Graphics (FLG) isn’t your typical business.   Celeste Hardesty and her husband Todd started their first business in 2011 called Todd Hardesty Fabrication metal fab and cut vinyl.  FLG business has expanded under the parent company Finish Line Technologies as their graphics business has exploded.  In February 2017, the business moved to  Scappoose as they simply outgrew their space.  FLG located at 53303 Columbia River Hwy specializes in branding and marketing.  They can create graphics, signs, printing, custom apparel, customized products and more.  They can also wrap anything from cars to boats, stairs and more.

Once you meet Celeste you can tell she’s not like all the other business owners.  She has Racing in her blood and it runs in her family.  Celeste has both a passion for racing and a passion for design.  When not working, Celeste likes to spend her spare time on the race track.  She currently drives a Dirt Late Model Car.  If you ask Celeste, she will proudly tell you, “I started racing when I was 5 years old sitting on my dad’s lap of an old Jeep. I raced jeeps and off-road vehicles until my family started Mud Drag Racing with the monster trucks when they 1st started. I got to grow up around Grave Digger and Big Foot when they 1st started.”  She explained, “My parents met racing, so I have been in and around it forever. My dad built a special seat in the jeep for me as a newborn to go with on all the relay races. But I got behind the wheel officially when I was 5, racing barrels in our jeep.”  Celeste also shared that her mom was bad @ss too.  She was the 1st female mud drag racer on ESPN and one of the 1st female mud drag racers to compete in King Dome.”  You could say racing is in her blood.

Celeste described how she graduated from one racing level to another, “When I went to college I met my husband Todd and he introduced me to dirt circle track racing. He bought me my first dirt car which I raced at River City Speedway in St. Helens in the Women’s division. After a few years, I finally got my championship and stepped up to run with the Sportsman division. My 1st race with “the boys” as I called it (but there were women competing) I ended up winning. The best part of it all was the fact that my husband had taught me over the years how to work on my car. He had required me to do it all if I wanted to race. So that win meant more to me than anything! I sold that car a few years ago and purchased a Dirt Late Model, which races throughout the tracks here in Oregon. I finished 3rd in points last year and now have my eye set on getting into a Dirt IMCA Modified. With my crew chief, Shawn Etheredge, helping me both last year and this year…. I look forward to the challenge of a very male dominant sport.”

The Racing Season started mid-April.  Celeste is getting excited to get on the track, “but unfortunately my motor program (dad still builds my motors) is a bit behind this year due to the business taking a lot of my time and energy. I hope to have my Late Model motor back by the end of April to start running at Sunset Speedway, Willamette Speedway, and Cottage Grove. Our FinishLine facebook page will announce when the FLG car will be running, but since I am not running for points this year my schedule will be more sporadic with a bit of “let’s go have fun” attitude behind it.”

When she’s not racing, she’s helping her clients.  Her racing clients bring their cars to get decals from all over Oregon. She can design and wrap just about anything from a car to a staircase.  She can work with businesses or families on promotional products where she can print on just about anything creating the perfect customized gift for your clients or loved ones.

Celeste’s Race Car. Photo Courtsey FLG.

Stop by FLG and follow them on Facebook. #racing #carwraps #decals #FLGgrahics #flgwrap #customapparel #racingdesigns

 


Join the 9th Annual Race Against Child Abuse

St. Helens, OR – Established in 2000 as a 501(c) nonprofit, the Amani Center is a community-based assessment & treatment services center, that helps children who have been abused in a child-friendly setting to minimize trauma and raise awareness against child abuse.   Every year since 2009, they have held a walk to promote Child Abuse Awareness in our communities as well as a fundraiser for the organization.  This year marks the 9th Annual Race which you can support our children in our community by participating in a 5k, 10k or Half Marathon or if you’re not a runner join the 1 mile Walk on April 22nd, 2017.

Beth Pulito, Development Director, shared why this race is so important for Columbia County.  Beth said, “Although this is an annual race, just recently we have been trying to consistently hold in in April, which is the National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  This race gives us an opportunity to raise necessary funds to provide forensic interviews and medical evaluations to children of Columbia County suspected of abuse or neglect.  It’s an event that allows participation and support from all ages and all levels of fitness, with distances from our 1 Mile Family Fun Walk to a beautiful and challenging Half Marathon.  We have great volunteers who assist us in many facets of the event, supportive vendors who make our event run smoothly and fabulous sponsors and participants who see the value in supporting our mission and the children we serve.  We see amazing growth potential for this event in the future and look forward to participants and partners collaboration to continue and evolve a long-standing race in Columbia County.’

It’s not too late to register.  Go to https://raceagainstchildabusehalfmarathon.itsyourrace.com/register/ use the promo code special for a discount.  Stay in touch as another race is in the works for July in Clatskanie.  Stay tuned on their FB page for more details  #familyfriendlyfun #childabuseawareness #columbiacounty #halfmarathon #walk #fundraiser

 

 


Spring Clean Up on Earth Day

Columbia County, OR- Columbia County has a habit of celebrating  Earth Day with several clean ups in our communities.  This year they are scheduled on Saturday, April 22nd.  You can get involved by volunteering, cleaning up your property or even donating new and gently used residential building materials, home furnishing supplies.

Organizations like SHEDCO (St Helens Economic Development Corporation) have partnered with SOLVE  Oregon to help make our community a beautiful place to live.  In rural communities like ours, it takes a group of volunteers working together to make a difference.  You can get involved by registering at http://www.solveoregon.org/get-involved/events/shedco%E2%80%99s-4th-annual-spring-cleanup.  The 4th Annual SHEDCO Clean Up starts down at the Courthouse Plaza in St.Helens from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM.   Some of the volunteer tasks include picking weeds, trash pickup, sweeping, and flower planting.  Volunteers are encouraged to bring a few tools and gloves if they have them.  You can volunteer for an hour or two.  You decide.  There will also be fun activities for kids like face painting and free pumpkin starts while supplies last.  Light snacks and beverages will be provided after the work is done to celebrate Earth Day.

Citizens are also encouraged to bring their unwanted items, yard debris, scrap metal, appliances and more see the flyer below for details for Spring Clean Up.  You can also bring your new and gently used residential building materials, appliances, fixtures, and home furnishing picked up by local nonprofit Habitat for Humanity at three convenient locations: St. Helens High School, Scappoose High School, and Columbia City school.   Drake’s Towing & Recovery is available for FREE Removal of your scrap vehicles, Call Ryan 503-438-6099.

This is your community.  Local citizens are encouraged to help pitch in to make their community a cleaner place.  Thanks for getting involved and celebrating Earth Day bycleaning up your local communities. #earthday #springclean #columbiacounty #hereincc

 

 


Art & Food: Community Fighting Hunger with Empty Bowls

Photo Courtsey of Columbia Pacific Food Bank

St. Helens, OR –  Food and Art.  Art and Food.  No matter how you say it, Food and Art is an excellent combination.  Add raising funds to help fight hunger and the event has elevated to a can’t be missed evening out called Empty Bowls.   Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for Columbia Pacific Food Bank and its right around the corner on April 7th from 5:00 -7:00 PM at the McBride School Cafeteria in St. Helens.

What makes Empty Bowls so much fun?   You get to pick out your bowl.  It’s handmade pottery created by local retired teacher, Pat Brame.   Oh, and he has friends that help him as well.  Pat also sells his pottery at the event donating 25 % proceeds back to the food bank.  Pat has been involved over the past 11 years, since the beginning of Empty Bowls.  Then you get to pick out your soup.  The eating part is pretty yummy thanks to local restaurants who donate the food.   The Ridge Runners provide live music for entertainment.

Casey Wheeler,  Executive Director for Columbia Pacific Food Bank, wants the community to know, ” The purpose of this event is to help people understand what food insecure families face in our community.  Often they only have soup, bread and some water for dinner (if they are lucky).  Often the parents do not eat so the children have something to eat.”   Casey mentioned his favorite part of the event is ” Having the St. Helens Middle School Honor Society adopt this as one of their community service projects.  They develop the theme, decorations, set-up the venue, serve food and drinks, clean up and help put everything away. Also, watching the interaction of people as they eat and pick out their bowls.”

This fundraiser is a ticketed event.  You can purchase your tickets for $10.00 each at many local businesses such as Bertucci’s, Sunsations, Grocery Outlet and Scappoose Bagel.    They have been known to sell out so don’t wait if you want to go.  See you there!

Follow Columbia Pacific Food Bank Facebook page to stay up to date. #fighthunger #communityfun #art #food #columbiacounty #columbiapacificfoodbank

 

 

 

 


Business Bits: Hagz, Bagz & The Hutch

Meet Debbie Loomis & Geri Noble.

St. Helens, OR- If you’ve lived here for awhile, you might have been a customer of Geri Noble.  She ran a business called “The Hutch” for 15 years on Main Street St. Helens.  She’s back giving great customer service and sewing up a storm at a her old shop location but with a new partner, Debbie Loomis.  Debbie,  owner of  Hagz Bagz since 2006 joined forces with Geri and merged their businesses on Oct 1st, 2016, Hagz Bagz & The Hutch located  at 400 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens. You can also reach them at  503-397-1352.

Even with a name change, everything else has stayed the same except with added services. When asked how they decided to open their business Debbie replied, “I wanted to have a place to showcase what we love to do, create one of a kind gift items at reasonable prices.”

Geri is happy to be back on Main Street St. Helens and wants her customers to know she’s got a great new business partner.  She wanted to work with Debbie to help her develop her business and sewing skills and they both love what they do.  Debbie wanted to partner with Geri because “she has been in the sewing business a lot longer than me. Her wealth of knowledge was what I needed to go forward with my dream of having a storefront.”

Need a special gift, contact Hagz Bagz & The Hutch.  Follow their Facebook page for ideas to give a gift from Columbia County that is personalized and from the heart.  You can also shop online from their catalog.

 

#hagzbagzthehutch #shopsmall #personalizedgifts #handmadeincolumbiacounty

 


Are you attending “Valentines for Vets?”

St. Helens, OR – Columbia County is home to the new Elks Veterans Bunker located at 125 18th Street in St Helens, OR.  The Bunker opened last summer and is the first of its kind not only in Oregon but also in the United States.  One of their largest fundraisers is the Annual Gala and Auction called  Valentines For Vets Dinner on February 4th this year.

Why support The Elks Veterans Bunker?  The Bunker is located in a comfortable residential setting complete with a fireplace and a dining room table.  Alta Lynch, Elks BPOE #1999 Veterans Chair  & Bunker Founder,  had a dream for Columbia County.  She wanted Veterans to have a place to gather with others for coffee, maybe a game of cards or to tell stories.  A social spot.  A place to get resources.   A comfortable place to receive counseling.  A home to honor our Veterans who have served our country.  All it took was one women’s dream and a driven spirit.  She created a team rallying volunteers to create a safe and welcoming space for our Veterans.  According to local Community Action Team (CAT) Veteran’s officer, Russ Clark; the 2010 census recorded 6,000 veterans that live in Columbia County.

The event will be held in St Helens at St Frederic Church, Buccini Hall at 165 S. 14th Street.  Tickets for the Gala on Feb 4th are $20.00 per person with limited tickets at the door.  Valentines for Vets starts at  5:00 PM with a No Host Bar, A Flag Rising Ceremony by the Young Marines at 6:00 PM with dinner to follow along with a Silent and Live Auction.   To get your advanced tickets and for questions, please call 503-410-5225.  To follow their activities, go to and “Like” their Facebook page Elks Veteran Bunker.  Click here for  Elks BPOE #1999 information.  Your support and attendance is greatly appreciated.

 

Elk Veterans Bunker

“Just a Few Useful Resources”

St Helens, OR-  New to Columbia County or just recently retired?  Are you looking for specific resources, business services or things to do? Want to volunteer but not sure where you should?  Looking to get involved with a local service club?  Or are you curious what is going on in your community and want to get involved?   A one-stop shop, a countywide business directory called Keep it Local Columbia County can help you discover what is available countywide.  Keep It Local Columbia County is an on-line new resource to connect Columbia County.  Other resources for nonprofits and social media groups are helpful to discover all the great things we have going on here in Columbia County.

Keep it Local Columbia County launched a free online business directory for Columbia County that features both businesses and events.  The goal of the website is to help customers find local businesses and events.  The website helps shoppers find out what products and services businesses offer,  hours of operation along with days open and contact information to help increase dollars spent locally in Columbia County.  Keep it Local Columbia County is putting Columbia County businesses on one page.  Go to KeepitLocalCC.com

Columbia County has over 100 nonprofits to serve the citizens of Columbia County. You can find an updated list from Community Action Team (CAT). Go to  Columbia County Resources.  This is a great tool whether you are new or a long-term resident.  You can also find places to volunteer by researching this information.

You can contact the South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center at 503-397-0685 should you have questions about local businesses, travel questions or things to do in St. Helens and Scappoose.  You can also find a list of both business and community events on their website.

Other Facebook Groups that can be handy to follow if you live in Columbia County:

Columbia County Children and Families

City of St Helens

City of Scappoose

Enjoy living Beyond the Burbs, Right here in Columbia County. #hereincc #welovewherewelive #plugintoyourcommunity #smalltowns

 

 


2016 Business Bits Overview

Columbia County, OR – The economic atmosphere in  2016 could be termed “Transformational” as far as future economic development in Columbia County.  Many new small businesses opened across varied industries in St. Helens, Scappoose & surrounding areas which welcomed new restaurants, art galleries, franchise businesses and mom and pop shops.

In March of 2016, Senator Betsy Johnson used the term “Transformational” to describe the announcement of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center  (OMIC) in an article written by The Spotlight.  Chuck Daughtery, Executive Director, Columbia County Economic Team, (CCET) provided a brief synopsis in response to a question, “What are the Goals of OMIC”  on Facebook December 19th.  Daughtery’s response: Create state of the art metals research and development center in collaboration with the Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University, Oregon State University and industry partners including Boeing. R&D projects will be funded by industry partners and executed by the research universities. Industry will get access to intellectual property for use in prospective manufacturing processes.  Current updates are available OMIC project updates The Spotlight December 2016.

OMIC project leaders and partners met November 2nd at the newly purchased building in Scappoose adjacent to Scappoose Sand and Gravel.  Senator Betsy Johnson welcomed not only Governor Kate Brown but a”Who’s Who” of both Oregon Education & Business Community with local leaders and dignitaries for the explanation of the OMIC project and the what it means not only to Columbia County but to Oregon.  OMIC is currently the only Boeing partnered Research & Development Center in North America.  It’s right here in Scappoose, OR.  It’s transformational all right, in more ways than one.   This center will attract additional businesses with similar interests and train for employment after college.  For more information on the project, go to Oregon Business article on Filling the Gaps with Apprenticeships.

The Scappoose Industrial Air Park gained an additional expanding business in Columbia County. One might say, It was a big deal.  In June 2016, Cascades Tissues, a Canadian Based Company, operating in St Helens announced an expansion of a new paper converting company at the Scappoose Industrial Airpark creating jobs.  This expansion is a $63 million dollar project.  The project is currently underway.

South Columbia County not only saw an uptick in large business but also in the variety of new small businesses.  Some examples include two new artists with art galleries in Old Towne St Helens.  Captain Studley offers art classes at his studio and Johnny Grinder & partner, Orange brought Steam 33 to our community.  Big River Bistro opened its doors for great coffee, lunch or breakfast with a beautiful view of the Columbia River.  New neighbor to Big River Bistro,  North Lake Physical Therapy joined the Old Town merchants in the old Muckle building.  Let’s not forget about the re-opening of the Warren Country Inn after years of being closed.  These examples are certainly not all that opened in 2016 but a good sampling of the variety of new businesses.

New small businesses continue to open in Scappoose such as Brown Butter Bakery, Rosebud Cafe and even business services such as a local recruiting company, Normine, Lombard & Associates. Large franchises like Bi-Mart have also joined the mom and pop shops in Scappoose over the past last six months.

Columbia County will enter 2017 with a strong business foundation with many good things ahead for our local economy!  #hereincc #keepitlocalcc #welovewherewelive

Senator Betsy Johnson explaining OMIC (Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center). Photo Courtsey: Keep It Local Columbia County