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City recognized for economic development efforts

by: KATIE WILSON, SPOTLIGHT PHOTO - Bob Short of the Columbia County Economic Team, left, presents Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge and the rest of the City Council with an award Dec. 3 celebrating the steps the council took to expand the Urban Growth Boundary and develop the Scappoose Industrial Airpark.After a long, hard slog through debates about Scappoose’s Urban Growth Boundary expansion and the future of the Industrial Airpark, the city of Scappoose was honored with an economic development award at a council meeting Dec. 3.

“This has been the culmination of a 30-year vision,” said Bob Short, with the Columbia County Economic Team, who, along with State Sen. Betsy Johnson and developer Ed Freeman, presented the award to the City Council.

Johnson called the “Economic Development Initiative of the Year” award the culmination of a “robust public debate.” While the discussions were difficult and often heated, Johnson said the result has been closer working relationships with a variety of groups.

The UGB expansion and Industrial Airpark development has paved the way for a “bricks and mortar” project with Portland Community College, Johnson said.

“Out of this has come much goodwill,” she said, referring jokingly to Short, who worked as a spokesman for mining company CalPortland that had once planned to mine much of the property surrounding the airport for aggregate, as her former “nemesis.”

While the UGB expansion has been appealed by two residents, the city expects to be able move forward with its plans.