River City Singers Performing at Carnegie Hall Memorial Day Weekend

Columbia County, OR –   Columbia County has a strong, long-standing community choir called the River City Singers.  The River City Singers will soon represent Columbia County at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Memorial Day, May 29th.  If you are a local, you can enjoy listening to this group perform year round.

Director, Alice Boyer shared how the group was chosen for the opportunity.  Alice said,” We were very excited to be invited by Dr. William Skoog who is the Chair of the Department of Music, and Director of Choral Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, to come be a part of his mass choir performance of Ola Gjeilo’s “Sunrise Mass.”  This is a contemporary mass setting that will be performed with one of the New York Philharmonic Orchestras.  Dr. Skoog and I have a long history of musical collaboration. I participated in the Dvorak Festival in Prague, the Czech Republic in 2001 as part of his festival choir. When he heard that I was directing a choir here in Oregon, he was eager to have us come be a part of this endeavor at Carnegie Hall.”

Understanding the group’s history is important; it shows their strong foundation as a group.  The community choir group started in 2001 under the name Columbia Chorale of Oregon. The group has between 25-40 members depending on the season.   With no auditions and no fees, the Columbia River Singers are a diverse group of men and women of various ages who love to sing.  Performing in a variety of venues across Columbia County and Portland for the past 16 years, they typically perform 3-4 concerts a year with the first rehearsals starting in late August or Early September. Participating in a few community events such as Doughnut Day at St. Helens Police Department fundraiser for Columbia Pacific Food Bank allows them the opportunity to share their music with their community. They are a true community choir with a strong past and a bright future.

“We are always looking for singers and non-singers who love to support the growth of the arts in Columbia County to join us as members.  While the chance to sing in Carnegie Hall doesn’t come along every year, we believe the chance to sing and perform meets a valuable need in our community.  It’s been shown in recent studies that singing is a very health-promoting exercise,” Alice commented encouraging the community to get involved.

Want to show your support the local singers? If you like to sign, join them for practice on Thursdays at 7:00 PM at The First United Methodist Church, 560 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens.  They are a 501(c)3 non-profit so donations are tax deductible.   Alice mentioned the goal for the trip to New York is to raise $2000-3000 to offset the costs of this trip.  Some of the choir members are using personal funds to cover their expenses, however, the group is setting up an “Angel” fund to help offset the costs for members on fixed incomes. Alice hopes to have as many singers who want to go be able to make this trip.  For most, it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

I’d venture to say, our community is proud of the group to represent not only Columbia County but Oregon.   Go to their Facebook page to stay up to date.

 

River City Singers Photo Courtsey of Facebook

 

 

 

 


Local Business Soon Featured on Cooking Channel

St. Helens, OR –  In today’s world of too much TV not enough time, Carnival Eats might be a new show for you.  It’s a series on the Cooking Channel hosted by Noah Cappe who travels the US in search of the best carnival food from hot dogs to funnel cakes. The show can bring it’s fans back to their childhood memories like fairs have the tendency to do.

This past summer Carnival Eats stopped by the Columbia County Fair.  Host Noah interviewed local business owner Matt Freeman, St Helens Grill, which offers quality products to create the best hamburgers and eats.   You’ll see the St Helens Grill featured on the upcoming episode on 3/23/2017 – Dawn of the Bread.  Matt made Noah the Marionberry Volcano dessert pictured in this blog.  Catch the show to find out more about the food.

Marionberry Volcano Dessert to be featured on Cooking Channel Carnival Eats.

When asked about being featured on the cooking channel series, Matt mentioned he was equally nervous and excited when the producer called.  He said, “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to not only highlight St Helens Grill but to also showcase the Columbia County Fair.  Butch, the fair board, and the countless volunteers put so much time and effort to bring us a quality event each year they deserve the spotlight.”

Matt is no stranger to the food scene. In 2014, he opened his first company Batter Me Up operating out of a tent at 13 Nights on the River, St. Helens. At that time Batter Me Up was battered and deep fried foods; corn dogs, Oreos, Twinkies, and funnel cakes.  As the business grew, so did the business plan with a 16ft concession trailer.  St Helens Grill put their prior experience to use taking the menu up a notch by adding burgers and nacho/tater tots hybrid, Totchos.  They are different from fair food due to our focus on local, quality ingredients. They procure fresh, not frozen NW raised hamburger from a Portland butcher, buns from Portland French Bakery, and other local products such as Bob’s Red Mill.    They use quality ingredients, cooked to order resulting in a great end product for their customers.

Matt said he opened a food truck because, “My dream is to have a local burger joint serving burgers, fries, dogs, and shakes. The food cart allows me to practice for when that dream becomes a reality.”You can get some good food from St Helens Grill this summer at 13 Nights on the River events, Columbia County Fair and Rodeo and home games for St Helens Youth Football.  You can also keep up with new events they add on their Facebook page or Twitter.

#dinelocalcc #columbiacountyfairrodeo #sthelensgrill #qualityeats #carnivaleats #footnetwork

Thumbs up by Noah Cappe, Host, Carnival Eats and Matt Freeman, St Helens Grill

 


New Name & Location but Same Mission

St. Helens, OR-    The mission has been the same even with the new name change to Accumulations a local nonprofit that assists adults in Columbia County to help get them back to work.  The organization has changed names and locations in the past few years but it is always true to their mission of helping individuals receive on the job training working within a retail establishment.

My Next Step has changed their name to “Accumulations” and relocated to 1271 Columbia River Hwy, St Helens, OR. Accumulations is a 501c(3) nonprofit that offers a Job Readiness Training Center set in a resale & consignment store. The store raises money by reselling items and re-purposing items into something different for sale.  This win/win mix helps the adults by providing in-class education and on-site job skills for participants of the Job Readiness program.

Shopping at the location helps the organization.  Donating new to gently used items also helps the nonprofit.  100% of all cash and noncash donations are deductible and stay in this County.

#shopsmall #keepitlocalcc #shopforcharity #donatelocal

 


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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Columbia County Holiday Fun!

St. Helens, OR –  As the holiday season approaches, many of you may have children on school break or are anticipating company visiting.  It’s always a good idea to be proactive with a few ideas in your back pocket should the question come up “What is there to do around here?”

Just a few ideas to help jog your memory keeping everyone full of holiday cheer.

Both St. Helens and Scappoose have great libraries.  They offer programs for adults and kids such as the Dash & Dot Team Challenge on Dec 29th from 1:00 PM -2:00 PM.  Find more information at Scappoose Public Library Events and Details.    Go to St. Helens Library Calander to find interesting classes such as Beginning Ukulele maybe for the teenage kids or just quality time with your mom or dad.

Scappoose Public Library Dec 29th Event

Eisenschmidt Pool offers a variety of options for kids of all ages or exercise if you need some me time!  St Helens Pool Schedule

Photo Courtesy: SHEDCO

Around sunset is the perfect time to check out all the beautiful lights at the Courthouse Plaza Square in St. Helens. Thanks to local nonprofit SHEDCO (St Helens Economic Development Corporation), you should leave feeling that Holiday Spirit.  Plus, it’s a great spot to take family photos.   Open Anytime & FREE.

It’s not always the specific activity with family that we remember.  It is how we felt when we spend time with our family.  How hard we laughed and the memories we shared.  It’s the moments we spend together that matter.  Keep it simple and wonderful all rolled into one.  Happy Holidays Columbia County!

 

 

 

 

 


Brown Butter Bakery Now Open

Photo Courtesy of Brown Butter Bakery
Brown Butter Bakery 

Scappoose, OR – Brown Butter Bakery has been creating baked-from-scratch desserts for Columbia County families since 2010 .  They have expanded their business to a brick & mortar location.  Brown Butter Bakery is located at  52310 SW Old Portland, Rd, Scappoose, OR.  They are open from 6:30AM-3:00 PM Wednesday thru Saturday.  Be sure to stop in for a hot, strong cup of coffee and a one of a kind sweet treat.

Darcy McDonald, the owner, sells all natural, baked-from-scratch items with a great taste, nothing artificial.   She enjoys making cookies, cupcakes, scones and cakes. She can even make it Gluten Free if you ask!  Follow their Facebook page to keep up with daily treats!

Photos are Courtsey of Brown Butter Bakery Facebook Page.

 

12718218_1326903793991400_7869952271325464839_n
One of Brown Butter Bakery’s Custom Made Cakes 
13238863_1355644981117281_6320957402615790580_n
A variety of homemade treats!

 


Scappoose Farmers’ Market 14th Season

23433_101502389893541_2811927_nScappoose, OR- Every  Spring, one thing is certain.  That’s the opening of the  Scappoose Farmers’ Market.  May 21st marks the 14th Season open from 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM.  This year you will find some of the favorites such as veggies, plants, and artisan gifts.  You’ll find a few new things in the mix this year.

* Demonstrations focused on Art of Food Preparation using local ingredients, grant by Columbia County Cultural Coalition.

*Planting Ideas & Master Gardeners Tips

*Kids Programs

*Live Music courtesy of Columbia River PUD’s Community Grant

*Burrito USA using local fresh ingredients where possible

*Scappoose Community Club will occasionally  feature their Sauerkraut Sandwich.  Stay tuned to Scappoose Community Club Updates.

If you haven’t been, it’s a must to check out in Columbia County.

See you at the Scappoose Farmers’ Market located behind in City Hall Parking lot at E 2nd Street.


Artists Row in St Helens

Within the past few months, two new artists have appeared to ignite the Art Scene in Saint Helens on 1st South Street.

Located at 289 S 1st street, right across the Courthouse plaza, you’ll find the Phil Fake Studio.  Phil Fake is one of the new artists in St.Helens.  His current show, On the Voyage to become Captain Joe Studley, Fake Pirate, A Life/Art Project by Unknown Artist/Owner, Phil Fake.  You can view his work at Captain Jim Studley Gallary.  Phil is offering a series of art classes starting May 1st.   Be sure to stop by his studio and introduce yourself.  Phil works in character as Captain Joe Studley, a real pirate dressed just as you would imagine.  He often paints outdoors so you may even meet him while he is painting.

The second artist to arrive on 1st South Street is Steam #33 at 295 S. 1st Street, St Helens.  Owner, Johnnie Grinder explained that he and Orange,another featured artist at Steam #33. spent the last 9 years traveling around Taiwan.  He mentioned that they painted last summer in Florence Italy.  When they found St Helens, they felt they had found something special.  To view their work, go to Steam 33 Art Gallary or stop by and say hello .  You can find them also at the Portland Saturday Market.  We want to welcome both these artists to Columbia County.  #artistsincc #hereincc #keepitlcoalcc #welovecc

FullSizeRender (2)
Steam 33 Gallary, 295 S. 1st Street, St Helens, OR
FullSizeRender (2) (1)
Phil Fake Gallary, 291 S. 1st St, St. Helens, OR
FullSizeRender (4)
An example of one of the many Art classes offered at Phil Fake Studio.

 


2016 St Helens Spring Into Artwalk

SIAbizsign

St Helens, OR-   Join in on the fun at this new event hosted by SHEDCO (St Helens Economic Development Corporation), Columbia Arts Guild and the South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.  Start at the Columbia County Courthouse & Museum from 3-4:00 PM to get your Artwalkmap for the Spring Into Art Walk on March 31, 2016.   The map has a variety of artists  featured at local businesses.  This is an opportunity to visit over fifteen local business that will host local artists plus artistic demonstrations like Native Drum Making, Clogging, and much more.

Want to join in the artist fun?  You can participate in the SIAcoloringcontest with prizes given for three different age groups.  Must be present at the wrap-up party to win prizes.  Participating artists and local residents will meet at the Visitor Center at the South Columbia County Chamber, 2194 Columbia Blvd., from 6:00-7:30 PM for a wrap-up party and a chance to meet your neighbors.

#hereincc #keepitlocalcc