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.
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.
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.
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.
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, OR – Columbia County art scene has grown stronger over the past few years. One could say, we are in the middle of a thriving art community here in Columbia County. Currently, Columbia County has several groups that are working to put local artists in front of new customers, expose families to community art projects and create a sense of community pride for our local artists and projects.
Local art club, Columbia Arts Guild (CAG) looks forward to a great upcoming new year. In 2016, CAG created August Art Fair in conjunction with the Scappoose Farmers Market conducting local art demos, author readings and presenting their art. CAG will hold the 2nd Annual August Art Fair on August 5th, 2017 from 9:00 am – 2 pm. CAG hosts quarterly show at local businesses or community organizations. The Columbia County Courthouse in St Helens and Brown Butter Bakery in Scappoose are proudly displaying local groups’ art. For $15.00 a year, you can join CAG. Joining is a great way to support the artists. It’s easy to become a member just fill out the CAG Application online. They are an active group of Artists that meet on Thursdays at 10:00 AM for Plein Air Art at the Columbia Learning Center, St Helens. Bring your own art (BYOA) meet in the hallway, work on your project, get advice, share information, listen or join the Urban Sketchers and go out to Paint the Town! Check out, the CAG Facebook Page for more information.
New to Columbia County is the first Art Hive Network at Deer Island Manor, Deer Island, OR. An Art Hive Network is a community art studio that welcomes everyone. The workshops for Art Hive Network will start on Feb 4th, 2017 from 12-4:00 PM. Workshops will continue the first Saturday of the month go to The Art Hive at Deer Island Manor for more information.
It’s a great time to create. It’s a great time to admire our talented local artists. It’s the right time to be in the middle of a thriving art scene with the upcoming economic development in Columbia County. #SupportALocalArtist #shopsmall
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.
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.
Eisenschmidt Pool offers a variety of options for kids of all ages or exercise if you need some me time! St Helens Pool Schedule
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!
Our communities offer many types of activities around the 4th of July to showcase a sense of community pride while celebrating our nation’s independence. These communities are inviting you to join in the fun.
Scappoose – Start your morning off right with a donation only Pancake Breakfast from 7:30-11:00 AM. All proceeds go to Scappoose Firefighters Association Scholarship Fund held at 52751 Columbia River Hwy.
St. Helens- 4th of July Festivities start at Columbia View Park at 11:00 am with an Adult Tail Gate Party down at the waterfront. The Elks Food Cart opens between 11:00-8:00 PM. Elks will be grilling up hamburgers and such to raise funds for Veterans. Other family friendly events like a Pie Baking Contest,Watermelon Eating Contest, Trash Can Painting Contest all happen during the day. Live music starts at 3:00 PM followed by local sensation Hit Machine at 8:00 PM. For specific events, go to St Helens 4th of July Events Schedule.
Rainer Days starts officially at noon on July 7th. You will find free live music, carnival rides, evening kids movie in the park and more until July 10th. According to their website, they were voted Best fireworks on the Columbia River for 5 years in a row. Make sure to catch the “Fibre Federal / Rainier Days in the Park Fireworks show” July 9th 10:00 PM. Rainier Days 2016 Schedule.
Clatskanie – Heritage Days is a long-running tradition started by pioneers. Many new events have been added to showcase the best of Clatskanie. On the 4th, they have a day full of events to celebrate their local Heritage. Two of the highlights is a live logging show at 6:30 PM followed by a fireworks show at dusk. For more information or detailed events, go to their website.
The Vernonia Chamber of Commerce hosts the Vernonia Great American Bash 2016. They have a parade that starts at 6:00 PM and fireworks at dusk. Looking for daytime activities? The newly upgraded Dewey Pool is ready for visitors. Want to squeeze in a bike ride? You can jump on the Crown Zellerbach Trail. Whatever you choose to do, you will enjoy your time in Vernonia.
Columbia County hosts many community events with free activities that allow you to see your neighbors, meet new friends and participate in what makes small towns so great. #Thankscolumbiacounty #hereincc #keepitlocalcc #welovecc #welovewherewelive
St Helens, OR- Do you remember the old Port-o-Fun? Port-o-Fun was located downtown along the waterfront in St Helens for many years. St Helens Kiwanis decided to bring back the memories and fun with a new name, The River Festival. St. Helens River Festival will start at noon on Thursday 16th with Free Admission. You’ll have plenty to do with 13 Nights on the River open air market from 3:00-9:00 PM and live music starting at 6:00 PM by a band called “Slicker” made up of some of Oregon’s finest home grown, professional musicians.
Another long-standing local tradition, St Helens Kiwanis will also host the 101st year Kiwanis Parade with the theme “2016 Year of Health & Wellness” June 18th at noon at Columbia Blvd and Hwy 30. This parade is great family fun. If you want to get creative, you can participate in the parade by signing up the day of the parade between 9-11 at Emmert Motors. Parade judging starts at 11:00 and Parade at Noon. It’s a not to miss community event. Kiwanis want to invite Columbia County to join in the celebrations.
Yes, there is adult fun involved. When was the last time you attended a street dance? This upcoming weekend, you’ll have the option to attend two street dances. One on Friday 17th by Stevie Marie & Jackson Road and The Wieners will play on Saturday both start at 8:00 PM with a $5.00 cover for each dance. River Festival Facebook Page follow along for details. Spending time at community creates great family memories.