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Airpark group ramps up business recruitment

Marketing group hopes to draw new business as economy enters upswing
by: Arwen Ungar AIRPARK VETERAN – Glen Gordon, owner of long-time Scappoose Industrial Airpark business Sherpa Manufacturing, shows the bones inside one of the company’s specialty Sherpa planes. Gordon said he looks forward to additions to the airpark business community, members of which have a history of helping each other.

Hoping to enlist new aviation companies to rent or own space at Scappoose Industrial Airpark, a group of community officials and businesses have come together to create marketing materials, including a recruitment video.

Three months ago a community group composed of businesses at the airport, the Columbia County Economic Team, The Port of St. Helens and the city of Scappoose formed with the goal of retaining current airpark tenants while also recruiting complementary businesses.

David Stocker, executive director of the Columbia County Economic Team, said the group aims to bring aviation-related businesses to the airpark.

'The focus until now has been helping businesses there expand,' Stocker said. 'Now we're working on attraction.'

Stocker said the group aims to capitalize on the cluster of aviation-related companies that already lease or own space at the airpark. Currently, residents include Sherpa Manufacturing, Transwestern Aviation, Sport Copter and the Columbia Aviation Center, among others.

'We're not starting with a clean slate,' Stocker said. 'We've got the strength of the initial cluster.'

The group plans to have a recruitment video and new website completed by July. The video will likely feature current airpark tenants discussing the benefits of being part of a light industrial aviation hub.

Sherpa Manufacturing owner Glen Gordon said he hopes the video and marketing effort will help draw like-minded companies who will collaborate with current companies.

Currently, Gordon said most of the companies share specialty tools with each other, which drives down the cost of manufacturing some goods.

'We all work together and co-share,' Gordon said. 'The video will be promotion for everybody.'

Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge said the target audience for marketing efforts is aviation-related manufacturers and service industries.

'That's the core that we already have at the airport,' Burge said. 'New businesses would feed off of what we already have to work as a family or team.'

Stocker said he's seen renewed interested in development in Columbia County largely due to the uptick in capital markets, and he hopes to catch the improving economy on the upswing.

'If we weren't prepared we'd be less viable,' Stocker said. 'We have active deals in every single community.'

Stocker declined to provide details of potential new tenants.