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