The small town of Scappoose is poised for growth. Over the past decade, Scappoose city government has taken steps to facilitate population and employment growth, including a large expansion to the town’s urban growth boundary (UGB). The planned growth includes increased educational opportunities and blue collar jobs to serve the town’s existing population base. Plans for growth also take advantage of the town’s location within commuting distance to employment centers in neighboring counties.

Located in southern Columbia County, near the Multnomah and Washington County borders, Scappoose is home to just under 7,000 people. The small town has a history of rapid population growth. The population increased between 30 and 101 percent during almost every decade since the town was incorporated in 1921.1) The largest increases were in the 1940s (96.1%) and 1960s (101.4%).2)US Census, Decennial Census

The UGB expansion, first approved by City Council in 2011, was controversial among land use advocates. It took four years for the Oregon Court of Appeals to affirm the Department of Land Conservation and Development’s decision. During that time, the city moved ahead with plans for industrial expansion near the airport. In 2008, voters approved a Portland Community College bond measure, with funds allocated to a campus expansion in Columbia County. The following year, the college signed a letter of agreement with the Airport Development LLC to develop a facility near the Scappoose Airport. Modeled on an educational facility in Sheffield, England, the facility is designed to pair educational providers, including Portland Community College and the University of Oregon, with industry leaders, including Boeing. The center will include research and development, apprenticeship programs, and workforce training.

If successful, the new industrial development could significantly increase the town’s manufacturing sector. In 2014, manufacturing accounted for 7.2 percent of the town’s workforce. The majority of Scappoose’s jobs were in retail trade (21.5%), accommodation and food service (16.4%), educational services (16.1%), and health care and social assistance (11%). Manufacturing jobs could mean higher wages for a workforce in which just 20 percent of workers have a bachelor’s or advanced degree.3)State of Oregon Employment Department, Labor Market Information, Scappoose Economic Data.

The town’s existing housing stock is not sufficient to meet the anticipated growth. A housing needs assessment is underway and new development has already begun. In 2017 and 2018, Scappoose expects to add at least 250 new units in single and multi-family developments.

To accommodate the growth, Scappoose is investing in infrastructure. As part of the Wastewater Master Plan, several wells have recently been rehabilitated. The Scappoose School District is looking for a location to add an additional school. There are also infrastructure updates planned to accommodate new roads. Scappoose petitioned the Oregon Department of Transportation for a bypass on Highway 30 which runs through the center of town. While it remains to be seen if Scappoose will achieve its planned growth, its location on the primary route between Portland and most of Columbia County has the ability to dramatically impact the county’s future.

Advertising new jobs at Cascade Tissue.
Planned development will soon change the area around the Scappoose Industrial Airpark.
Cascade Inc's new $64 million facility will bring 80 new jobs to Scappoose.
Housing in a new residential development in NE Scappoose.
New housing on NW Five Peak Terrace overlooking Scappoose.
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References   [ + ]

2. US Census, Decennial Census
3. State of Oregon Employment Department, Labor Market Information, Scappoose Economic Data.