For the sake of jobs, please vote in favor of Scappoose UGB expansion


Looks like Scappoose will have the urban growth boundary issue at the Scappoose Industrial Airport on their ballot to vote on.

I won't go into whether this is the correct process or not, but I will go into why Columbia County needs this industrial property at the airport.

It is our best hope for attracting family-wage jobs in industries that will be vibrant for years to come. It also puts us on the map nationwide to attract these businesses, as there are very few airports in the country with our access to rail, water, an interstate system and buildable land.

Our county has 12-13 percent unemployment, but the true number is much, much higher, with a huge number of self-employed log truck drivers, dump truck drivers, construction workers, contractors and - with the new budget - county workers that are now unemployed.

Then, of course, we have a huge number of our work force driving out of county for work. All of these factors are reducing our county's wealth, and human wealth, because our commuters will spend their money outside of the county and, instead of being able to be home to help raise their families and volunteer for the community, they are sitting in their cars for an hour or two a day.

Our community has really suffered with the loss of our paper, timber and mining industries and we need to fill those vacant jobs with new industries that the airport could provide.

Yes, I am selfish. I have five kids, three of which are married, with two grandchildren and one on the way, and I want my kids and my grandchildren to live, play and work in Columbia County and have the time needed to raise their families, volunteer as football and baseball coaches and eliminate the time and dangers of commuting.

So if you live in Scappoose, please do the right thing by voting for the UGB expansion, and remember that we can't just sell each other pizzas.

- Jeff Kemp, Board Chair, South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

[Editor's note: This letter first appeared in the June 14 South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce weekly update.]