Home Back Issues September 2011 Oregon City revitalizes despite mill closure

Oregon City revitalizes despite mill closure

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Article Index
Oregon City revitalizes despite mill closure
Page 2
0911_OregonCity_05
0911_OregonCity_06
0911_OregonCity_07
Top to bottom: the You Can Leave Your Hat On storefront; JJ Foster from Wynona Studios; Oregon City plays off its heritage with an old-fashioned streetcar that runs through downtown.
// Photos by Alexandra Shyshkina




Several blocks away, Sandra Gillman was hustling to keep up with a line of customers crammed into her tiny boutique hat shop, which opened in late July. The rush didn’t seem to be bothering her at all. “I used to have a very stressful job,” she tells a customer. “Now I get to enjoy myself.”

She wasn’t kidding. Gillman’s previous job was to conducting investigations for the state about convicted murderers facing potential execution, as a mitigation specialist. When she finally couldn’t take the stress anymore, she quit her job to create You Can Leave Your Hat On, a vibrant gathering space of lively music, local chocolates and a wide variety of stylish hats. “I just decided I’m going to spend my days around pretty things instead of criminals,” she said. “Now I’m having a good time and I’m around fun people. And it smells a lot better than prison.”

Not far from the new hat shop, a long-time retail fixture from Portland’s upscale Northwest 23rd Avenue recently reopened on Oregon City’s Main Street. Connie Nicoud grew up in Oregon City and spent the past 23 years running Christmas at the Zoo on Northwest 23rd, which she has transplanted to Oregon City. Now she has returned to her hometown for an easier commute, lower rent, more parking and surprisingly strong foot traffic.

“I actually have more people walking into the shop every day here than I did on Northwest 23rd,” said Nicoud. She said she has absolutely no regrets about the move.

South of Nicoud’s new space, on the other side of  Highway 99E, the former paper plant looms. Some 175 people lost their jobs when the mill closed. A variety of developers are eying the property and the majestic waterfall at its center, “one of the most valuable properties in the Willamette Valley,” in Purdy’s opinion.

The waterfall is the second largest in the nation by water volume behind Niagara Falls, but it’s hardly known as a destination for honeymooners. Whether the Blue Heron property eventually becomes a sweeping new park, an industrial site, a mixed-use attempt at adaptive reuse or some variation thereof, one thing is certain: Oregon City will never be the same.

Ben Jacklet



 

Comments   

 
Lloyd Purdy
0 #1 Welcome DowntownLloyd Purdy 2011-08-30 16:27:59
Visit www.bluecollarcreative.org to see the excitement and energy surrounding Downtown Oregon City.

A mill town in transition. For more than 160 years Oregon City has been a place that reflects Oregon’s roll up your sleeves work ethic. Call it what you want — throughput, results, tenacity, persistence and an unwillingness to surrender no matter how great the pressures are Oregon City exemplifies the creative, commercial and cultural spirit of innovation and entrepreneurism.

See You Downtown.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 26, 2014
0926 iphone6-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

The Diaspora

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

Former newspaper reporters move into brand journalism.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

Gone Fishing

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LORI TOBIAS

Business has been good to Laura Anderson, leading some to suggest she must be awfully lucky to find such success in a business notorious for failure. But luck’s had little to do with it.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS