The Scappoose Community Club has gone by many names since its inception in the 1950s, including the Scappoose Boosters and the Scappoose City Club. Despite the name changes, the primary purpose has always been to serve Scappoose and connect its residents.
Josette Hugo, a longtime member and former president of the club, said the organization was created by a group of business owners in the 1950s who wanted to support and enhance the community feel of Scappoose, while also helping drive economic development.
"The whole reason for the organization throughout its iterations has been to support and enhance the community, and it was started mostly by the business people who were here," Hugo said. "They wanted to benefit the community and also encourage economic development by having events here in Scappoose that would raise our visibility."
The Scappoose Community Club has been the driving force behind a number of well-known community events like the Scappoose Farmers Market. It was also one of the original organizers of the long-running Sauerkraut Festival, which returns next Saturday, Sept. 14, for its 30-year anniversary.
Scappoose used to be home to the Oregon Meat Company, which made sausages, and Steinfeld's, a sauerkraut and pickle company. Combining those two local foods was a way to highlight Scappoose businesses and products, Hugo explained.
"When we first started we called it the 'Famous Scappoose Sandwich' because most of the ingredients were from Scappoose," Hugo said of the sandwich served at the Sauerkraut Festival.
While this year's Sauerkraut Festival is being spearheaded by the city's economic development committee, the Scappoose Community Club will still be involved and plans to sell the Famous Scappoose Sandwich along with chips and a drink for just $8.
Additionally, the community club has also been active in helping with the annual Watts House holiday lighting, hosts a Santa celebration, and organizes a spring cleanup day at the high school.
The club was also instrumental in creating the Scappoose totem pole and its "welcome island" just off Highway 30 and Southwest Old Portland Road. In its early years, the community club even helped petition the Oregon State Legislature to allow Scappoose residents to call places like St. Helens or Portland without having to pay for long-distance landline access, Hugo added. One member of the club, Jim Carpenter, also helped bring the annual Hood to Coast relay route across Highway 30 and through Scappoose to help promote the town in the 1980s.
While the club has been a long-standing entity in Scappoose, over time it's been increasingly difficult to involve community members. As more and more people commute for work, it can be tough to get residents to commit to outreach and volunteerism where they live.
Recently, the club has been pushing to attract more people to get involved.
"Well, hopefully we want to inspire them to do something good for their community," Hugo said.
Angela Hammond, the club's current president, only recently joined and discovered it provided a way for her to commit her time to something impactful and to give back to the community where she raised her children.
"With me, I had kids who grew up here, and I really wanted to give back to the community and keep that small-town feeling," Angela said.
While the city may be growing and experiencing more development and an influx of new residents, staying involved and volunteering helps preserve that small-town vibe for residents, she explained.
Hammond and Hugo said the best part about the group is the sense of camaraderie amongst its members. Everyone is encouraged to commit what they can, when they can.
The community club hosts monthly meetings on the second Wednesday of the month at Scappoose Creek Inn at 6:30 p.m. The club also runs an active Facebook page, and Hammond said she is available to answer questions for prospective members online.
"What is important to you, you will make time for," Hugo added.
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