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State of the City / Scappoose

The following is Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge’s State of the City address delivered on Nov. 18 at the Portland Community College OMIC Training Center in Scappoose. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the address was delivered virtually.

Good afternoon from the future campus of PCC here in Scappoose Oregon. My name is Scott Burge, mayor of the City of Scappoose, and I am here to give you the State of the City Address, and information about our Annual Town Hall Meeting, which this year will be virtual.

In the face of the challenges brought on by COVID-19, the ways we connect and meet have changed. This includes the Annual Town Meeting. Requirements relating to gatherings prohibit the kinds of communal meetings we are used to holding. While this year’s meeting may feel and look different, the City is as committed as ever to sharing its successes with the community and taking this opportunity to listen to your feedback.

The City continues to operate at full capacity. While City offices remain closed to the general public, the City does still offer full services upon appointment and request.

During this time, we have had many Coronavirus relief activities that we’ve been pushing forward. We have a small business grant program. We received 75,000 dollars through the CARES Act, which the City Council allocated for COVID-related small business economic relief. This will provide direct relief to between 15 and 25 small businesses in our community. We have a water relief program. The City created a utility bill hardship program to assist those facing difficulties due to COVID-19. Due to its popularity, the program has been extended through December 2020. The City provided a grant from the CARES Act relief fund to the Scappoose School District for computer equipment. The grant helped bridge the gap in device availability for students and families.

Over the last year, the City of Scappoose has accomplished a great deal and met many of our goals. One of our primary goals is supporting a vibrant and diverse local economy. Supporting the development of the OMIC and PCC campus has been top of that priority. The new PCC OMIC training center in Scappoose will become the first PCC campus in Columbia County. We expect it to be completed in early 2021 and look forward to its impact on the city.

Devinair [Titan Aviation] hangar is a new business at our airport. This business will bring 20 living-wage jobs to Scappoose. We will have more to come and more updates on job opportunities in the community in the future.

We continue to support the development of the East Airport Subdivision. The new road on the east side of the airport is nearly complete. With underground utility work and paving taking place this winter and next spring, completing the connection of the new road to West Lane Road. This should be a great enhancement to our ability to attract new jobs.

The council is also wanting to market the city more than we have in the past. We’ve been working with the Columbia County

Economic Team, the south county regional partnership, which consists of Columbia County, St. Helens, the Port of Columbia County, Columbia County Economic Team, the City of Scappoose and others exploring marketing for the south Columbia County region. The City is working with the south county regional partnership on goal setting and continues to be involved and participate in the process.

We want to enhance our livability. One of the things we had to cancel this year but were able to bring back was the Sauerkraut Festival. We will continue to do that as conditions return to a more normal state.

This year, 2021, marks the 100th year anniversary of the city of Scappoose, and the 50th commemoration of the dedication of the World Peace Candle in Scappoose.

In that vein, I formed an ad hoc committee to plan for the 100-year celebration for the centennial anniversary of the City of Scappoose. This ad hoc committee has also been tasked with planning a commemoration for the 50-year anniversary of the Peace Candle. This celebration should take place sometime in the summer.

Just a note. An agreement between the developer and the City was signed to secure an easement for the candle, which ensures that the Peace Candle will remain intact. And the city has budgeted to make improvements to the candle in 2021.

One of the newer goals that we have is to develop a long-term comprehensive community vision. A 50-year look at what the city of Scappoose is going to look like in the future. We will be kicking this off as a multiyear plan to plan for the next 50 years and ensure that we have enough available land to meet our housing, industrial, commercial, economic, and development needs. This process is an important tool and will help us responsibly manage and ensure our community’s full needs are met.

We also have always had a commitment to making sure that we keep Scappoose one of the safest communities in Oregon. Our police continue to work to protect our citizens from criminals and other hazards. Scappoose remains one of the safest communities in Oregon. Scappoose Police Department remains committed to community engagement and maintaining Scappoose as one of the safest communities. Given the challenges of Covid, the police department continues to host socially distanced outreach to our community, like the Halloween Drive Thru and the upcoming Donut Day.

The City is also been very aggressive on expanding our park system. With the goal that every citizen will be within a ten-minute walk of a city park. That goal is to provide safe access to quality parks and green spaces within ten minutes of your home. Currently 63% of the community is within our goal. Let’s work to get to 100% and get parks all through our community.

The most recent acquisition was the Grabhorn Property. The City Council is in the process of updating the conceptual park plan and the Grabhorn Property by incorporating the public comment received from the park survey. The next step in the process is adding the conceptual park plan to our master plan.

As we see the east side of the airport developed the new Trtek Trailhead will be opening soon. With the assistance of a Travel Oregon grant, amenities including an ADA accessible picnic table, benches, bicycle amenities, and an information kiosk are being installed at the trailhead.

When it comes to our aging infrastructure, the City continues to work on addressing aging infrastructure through planning activities preparing Scappoose for the infrastructure needs of the future. That includes the Water Master Plan, Sewer Master Plan, Stormwater Master Plan, and the Roads Master Plan that was updated within the last five years.

Recently, the City’s voters voted to approve a three-cent gas tax. Let’s talk about some of the improvements. The community improvements have already began to take place. Sidewalks along Highway 30, and ADA ramps on SE 6th Street have been replaced. These improvements were made possible by the gas tax.

The City is in the process of engineering sidewalks. Improvements to Old Portland Road, SE 3rd Place, and SE Vine St. Additionally the City has applied to the Safe Routes to School Grant Program to maximize street funds available through State and City fuel tax revenues.

The City remains committed to serving the public through these challenging times. Even though this has been a difficult year, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has overcome this obstacle and remains agile and responsive to the needs of the public by finding new and innovative ways of achieving its goals and providing the best public service possible.

Your voice matters, and the Annual Town Meeting Survey will remain active through the end of January. The feedback from this survey will help us better serve you by informing the City Council’s goal setting process for the coming year.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing your responses.

Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge may be reached at 503-543-7146.

St. Helens State of the City Address is usually held in January. When city officials confirmed the date The Chronicle will post details at thechronicleonline.com and in the Wednesday print editions.

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