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

Tech makes the world go round

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, March 20, 2014
03.20.14 thumb internetBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

I don’t think anyone can (or should) remember what it was like to get things done without the internet. This milestone in technology has certainly benefited brick-and-mortar companies and subsequently launched a new era of businesses.


Read more...

Speeding up science

News
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
02.25.14 Thumbnail MedwasteBY JOE ROJAS-BURKE | OB BLOGGER

The medical research enterprise wastes tens of billions of dollars a year on irrelevant studies. It’s time to fix it.


Read more...

Green eyeshades in the ivory tower

News
Friday, April 04, 2014
EducationCosts BlogBY ERIC FRUITS

The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?


Read more...

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Green your workplace

News
Thursday, April 03, 2014
100Green14logo200oxBY OB STAFF

Learn how to green your workplace and lower your environmental footprint at the office. Oregon Business presents a two-hour "Greening Your Workplace" seminar on May 28th, 2014 at the Nines Hotel in Portland.


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