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Council gets ambitious with goals ranging from new park to master plans and small business growth

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Leigha Boyer makes an espresso drink at a coffee shop in Scappoose. The Scappoose City Council recently made promotion of small business and economic growth top priorities for the current fiscal year.   Boosts to small businesses, housing, parks and the prevention of racial profiling are just a few of the goals and priorities on the horizon for Scappoose.

Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge said the focus on small businesses and economic growth is a byproduct of the city's economic development committee. This year, the city will look into an ordinance allowing food carts, as well as a small business grant program funded in part by kickback funds the city receives from businesses like Cascades Tissue, which pays a small percentage of its property taxes in exchange for extended enterprise zone tax breaks.

"One of the things we do receive from the enterprise zone program is a payment from Cascade, and it's supposed to be used for [economic growth]," Burge noted. "We are looking at an urban renewal district, but my thought is whether or not we get that going, as long as we get these payments from the enterprise zones, we should put it toward that program."

After a housing needs analysis revealed last year that the city may have a dearth of affordable and diverse homes, city leaders updated the development code to allow for smaller homes and more dense development like cottage housing and multi-unit apartment complexes.

At the same time, councilors and parks committee members pushed for more recreational space in the city. As planning for a new park on Seely Lane moves forward, city councilors are also trying to carve out yet another new 12-acre park east of the airport.

In all, eight goals with 63 specific actions were included in a bulleted list, including many pulled over from last year that have yet to be accomplished.

During a review of a lengthy list of goals during a work session last Monday, March 5, Scappoose City Councilor Megan Greisen conferred with staff, asking how to keep track of the city's progress.

The councilor asked for a communication system "where we can really be in the know about what's being done and not done," Greisen said.

"Do you see a way we can better support the staff?" she asked, acknowledging the hefty list of goals.

Aside from citywide projects like parks and improved sidewalks, the council made a note to also delve into community relations and better policing.

At the request of Councilor Patrick Kessi during a prior goal-setting session, the council added training on racial profiling to its list of priorities for the year ahead.

"Pat Kessi requested that be on there, and I think it was just recognizing that we have a changing population and we want to make sure our officers are continuing [down the right path]," Mayor Burge noted.

The City Council adopted the goals last week.

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