Scappoose industry, housing, focus of town meeting
Over the past year, Scappoose has annexed 400 acres into the city, added a new park, dramatically upgraded another, welcomed a major new industrial business to town, appointed a new city councilor, tackled a housing needs analysis, and watched announcements of new industry partners at the burgeoning Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center hit the news.
Scappoose city officials highlighted major projects completed, and those still on the horizon, while gathering input from residents about overall quality of life last Saturday, Feb. 10, during the 2018 Scappoose annual town hall meeting.
An estimated 100 people dotted the auditorium at Scappoose High School. One of the hallmark features of the community meeting is a live voting system that allows participants to vote electronically with a small, handheld clicker in response to questions on a screen.
Attendees were asked to vote on which park they used most frequently, whether a parks district should be formed, and how safe they feel in the city.
Of those who attended Saturday, 72 percent voted "Yes" to a Parks and Rec District, and 67 percent said the city should focus on hosting more community events, like a summer concert series. A majority 83 percent of respondents said they felt very safe in the city, contrasted with 59 percent who said they felt safe from property crimes.
Community input was taken again, halfway through the event, when small groups assembled to brainstorm what they liked, didn't like, and wanted to see more of in the city.
"Quiet neighborhoods, I like the fact that it's a safe place to live," one group concluded.
Others said they'd like to see more parks and areas for youth sports.
Growth and housing at the forefront
A recently completed housing needs analysis led to revisions in the city's development code to allow for more density like duplexes and cottage housing, while removing restrictions like an eight-unit maximum on apartment buildings that may have contributed to the city's current lack of multi-family and affordable housing.
"As you can see, the city is growing and we needed to take a look at our housing policies," Laurie Oliver, city planner with Scappoose, told citizens.
Oliver said Scappoose residents can expect the city to grow faster than it has before, as the city expects to add 1,230 new dwelling units, starting with a new 20-unit apartment complex southwest of West Lane Road this spring.
Scappoose's high tech future could help working class
While the impact of OMIC — a research and development center at Parker's Pit — is still mostly talked about as prospective, its footprint is hard to ignore.
The energy of the auditorium took a turn when Sen. Betsy Johnson took the stage, alongside Bill Gerry of the Boeing Company, to talk about the vision for OMIC and recent developments at the site.
"It's a research center to develop new means, tools and technologies, to create manufacturing opportunities for the next generation, and training," Gerry told the audience. One of the center's primary goals is to tackle problems in manufacturing, such as figuring out how to make parts and products more efficiently, or make them more effective.
The end result is not just industry improvements, but, as Gerry says, "to give kids in the community not a job, but the hope of a job."
"Be mindful, we're not going to build airplanes at the Scappoose airport, but what we are going to do is create technologies that allow Boeing to burn down a $500 million backlog in orders," Gerry added.
With OMIC came a long-awaited announcement that Portland Community College would build a physical site in Scappoose.
"The presence of an academic institution changes the entire landscape," Senator Johnson said. "If we have educational opportunities, we have job opportunities right here. We'll change how Scappoose looks, how Scappoose acts, we'll have opportunities right here for our kids."
Saturday's town hall meeting culminated in naming contest for parks, which will be finalized over the next few months after city staff gets survey feedback based on the top 10 results.