A national fast food restaurant will soon take shape on property along the Columbia River Highway adjacent to the new Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in St. Helens.

Popeyes

This is a conceptual drawing of the new Popeyes Restaurant planned for St. Helens.

The restaurant, Popeyes specializes in fried chicken.

“Permitting has been issued, so they have the green light to start working,” St. Helens City Planner Jacob Graichen told The Chronicle.

Most of the base infrastructure is in place on the property formally known as the Violette’s Villa Mobile Home Park.

“So this project will be simpler than the previous ones on that overall property, Legacy Clinic, the apartment complex, and the Grocery Outlet. The property was formally known as the Violette’s Villa Mobile Home Park,” Graichen said.

Based on city records, Graichen said the old mobile home park on that property was there as early as the late 1940’s.

“It was a subject of code enforcement in the early 2000’s and it was about 10 years ago or so any remaining structure was removed,” he said. “Once Popeye’s is completed, it will be a completely redeveloped site.”

According to the Popeyes national website, Alvin C. Copeland Sr., opened Chicken on the Run in the New Orleans suburb of Arabi, in 1972, serving traditional Southern-fried chicken.

After several months of lackluster performance, he reopened the restaurant as Popeyes after Popeye Doyle of The French Connection movie fame, selling spicy, New Orleans-style chicken.

As of 2020 Popeyes has 3,451 restaurants, which are located in more than 46 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 30 countries worldwide, according to Wikipedia. The closest Popeyes to St. Helens are in Southwest Washington and one is located along the I-5 corridor between Portland and Salem in Oregon.

The Chronicle has reached out to the owners of the St. Helens Popeyes franchise for details about when hiring will take place for the new restaurant and when it is scheduled to open. As we receive more details, we’ll post the update at thechronicleonline.com and in a future print edition of The Chronicle.

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