Woodland Cottage Handpicked Showcases St. Helens, Or with New York Style

In 2015 Courtney opened Woodland Cottage Handpicked and St. Helens has never looked so good. Professional photographic skills, combined with a global sense of style and a good head for marketing has created a trifecta of retail savvy in this local store. Their online presence snags the attention of FaceBook followers with fashion shots that feature local St. Helens’ backdrops. The product photos flow like a favorite movie, the scenes giving additional excitement as if you were visiting a film location. The riverfront, public art pieces, and various projects become part of the wonderful fashion line worn by local models. These photos show up on screen in a variety of ways and each time they do, viewers find themselves caught up in the totality of what is inside the frame. Add this depth, this sense of style to a social media promotion and you will see why so many shoppers follow Woodland Cottage Handpicked online. The juxtaposition of style versus layout compares favorably among companies that spend millions on professional, creative marketing campaigns.

Woodland Cottage is owned by Courtney Allison, who has been an entrepreneur her entire adult life. A quick smile and a warm hello is likely the first interaction you will have with her. In 2000 Courtney opened her first retail shop based on trips with her husband to Colorado. These trips encouraged a fascination with microbrews and collecting brewery souvenirs along with the quality creations of local artisans. When you visit Woodland Cottage you immediately sense Courtney’s commitment to impeccable Northwest Style. Beautiful handmade racks offer gorgeous “handpicked” selections. Each collection would easily fit into any world-class shopping venue across the globe. Additionally, Courtney’s shop offers items for anyone on your shopping list – women, men, and children – making this place a home run for local shoppers.

Courtney has always loved photography and decided to get serious in 2005 when she opened her professional photography business just a year before the birth of her daughter Kylie. Having a baby inspired the opening of Lizards & Ladybugs, a children’s boutique. Meanwhile, her photography studio continued to thrive. In 2012 a move from Eugene to Gales Creek reminded Courtney that she needed a break and the 44 acre home provided a much needed nudge to relax and reflect and travel. Spending quality time with family was a reset of sorts and by the time a snowstorm hit in 2014 the family was ready for a change. They listed everything they wanted in a home and found only one that met their criteria. Luckily for residents of Columbia County, their dream home is located here.

After a short time renting space in a vendor mall, Courtney secured her store on First Street and named it Woodland Cottage after their home in the woods. This location has been able to fulfill Courtney’s business goals of giving back to the community and supporting local artisans who provide her with racks and shelves for her new and unique offerings. For local shoppers, Woodland Cottage offers specific lines of new, upscale boutique clothing, jewelry and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else in-county. Quality over quantity, ease of originality is a mantra that seeps into the store description easily. With traffic a consideration and wanting to find something unique, something special in a gift Woodland Cottage rises to the top. It is an easy choice for shopping in Columbia County before braving the road to faraway places.

Woodland Cottage is also home to a new idea for St. Helens called Night Market. This exclusive event highlights various artisans who create their own brand and need more recognition to encourage product awareness. It’s another way that Courtney encourages new businesses in the area and into her store, as guests reap the rewards. Others have discovered the easy online component of Woodland Cottage by having their gifts directly shipped across the country. Don’t be surprised if you find a gift from Woodland Cottage showing up from a good friend. Just enjoy the pleasure it’s about to bestow on you and smile because it’s also supporting a local artisan. After selecting multiple treasures, you make your way the counter only to discover that Courtney has an additional surprise for you. She has a loyalty program which gives credit towards future purchases. “Come back again,” she says to you with a wave and a smile. Don’t be surprised to find yourself waving back while you wonder check to see what time Woodland Cottage opens tomorrow.

Woodland Cottage Handpicked is on fb and twitter and located on First Street St. Helens, OR



Recreation & Parks Department Need Some Green

Recreation Program Funding is Open for Discussion.

By Don Patterson

The City of St. Helens is looking for a way to finance operations of the newly formed recreation program when grants expire, which is set to happen in 2020. Unless a stable source of funding is found the new City recreation center may have to close.

The Recreation Program, which started in June of 2018, opened a new Recreation Center located at 1810 Old Portland Road, formally known as the FARA Building. The City acquired the building when it took ownership of the Boise White Paper Property back several years ago.

When the current money paying for the Recreation Program is used other funds must be found to continue the programs and keep the activities scheduled. The current money that pays for the Recreation Program was comprised of both grant and matching approved budget committee dollars.

In addition to the Recreation Program, The Parks Department is also currently reviewing fee structures and funding options. Currently, Parks maintenance and staff is paid out of the General Fund. This General Fund supports the resources for the Police, Library, Planning, and several other departments that are housed from the General Fund.

City Finance Director, Matt Brown, oversees the recreation program right now. Brown said he began taking an active part in managing the program during the Council’s review of a potential sugar beverage tax in 2018 which would have provided funding for both Parks and the Recreation Program in the future. The Council chose not to pursue the tax after public outreach.  “Now,” Brown said, “how do we finance all the projects and programs we want to do?” Brown maintains a list of possible funding sources in his office. Nothing is off the table, he says, and no idea is too crazy to consider. Those options include searching for additional grants to continue operations and potential improvements around the local parks to potentially a local option levy, bond, or separate taxing district for Parks and The Recreation Department. This would be approved by voters during a general election.

Any levy or tax-based solution is likely to encounter stiff competition, brown acknowledges. St. Helens School District plans to go to voters for additional funding to upgrade the high school facilities even after getting approval for a $50 Million Bond and Columbia County has a jail operations bond coming up too. Now add the potential tax levy for operation of CC Rider to the docket as well.

Another consideration of the City Council is to possibly approve a utility fee to cover the Recreation Budget Requirements. The afterschool program is one of the most important new offerings which invite children from kindergarten through 6th grade a place to go when parents are not at home. New, as well on the schedule, are specific days for middle school and high school students to engage in positive activities. Most funds would directly go to covering the cost of full time staff to accommodate community needs and keep the doors open during daytime and evening hours. Additional funds are also collected based on the activity directly from participants of the programs.  A plethora of other options include a wide array of choices that appeal to all ages and encourage student and adult participation.

As of the last open forum a $2 per month fee is being proposed based on conversation and surveys as one of the better options for funding. Grants are also possible and have been applied for. There are 2 more times for comment at City Council Chambers on April 17th and May 1st before a decision is made. Come and let your voice be heard.

Recreation Building


Building for Tomorrow While Reclaiming the Past

Building for Tomorrow While Reclaiming the Past

By Stephanie Patterson

Have you ever had one of those days when you plan to go in one direction, then suddenly take another fork in the road and discover the place you were really meant to be? That’s precisely what happened to the Jane Garcia Team of Keller Williams Realty when they went looking for an office location in Scappoose, Oregon. A real estate office in Scappoose made perfect sense with the town’s evolving commuter culture and the excitement generated by Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center’s rapidly expanding membership of global partners – Boeing and Haimer among the noteworthy. There’s a lot of growth happening there with the anticipation of more to come.

“We were ready to sign on a lease,” Jane Garcia admits, “but something was missing.” Jennifer Pugsley, Jane’s twenty-year life partner, as well as co-owner of the real estate team’s new digs adds with a glint in her eye, “We were looking for something more, so Angela and I jumped in the car and went looking in St. Helens.” Angela refers to Angela Kane, the third member of the Jane Garcia Team who’s in charge of practical matters and making certain every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed in the business practice. She is also tasked with keeping the team’s collective feet on the ground.

On that fateful day Jennifer and Angela found 50, Plaza Square. The vacant building, constructed in 1928, was once the home to Columbia County Abstract Company, and more recently, St. Helens Computer. A brief conversation with the building’s owner revealed his interest in selling the property outright. Jane, the team’s ‘Negotiator’ moved to secure the purchase and work out the million and one details necessary to make their dream of a new office space, a reality. Jennifer Pugsley is the team’s visionary. She handles the marketing component for the Jane Garcia Team as well as acting as the driving force behind the renovations currently being performed on 50, Plaza Square. “This isn’t a Home Depot (style of) remodel,” Janes explains as she tells the story of Jennifer’s relentlessly search through old photographs, her consultations with local historians to come up with a plan that would return the 1920s charms of the structure. While this is not the only property renovation Jennifer has overseen, it is certainly the most ambitious to date. Not only was there the usual permitting process to navigate as in any remodel, but as part of the Downtown Historic District, the existence of the building’s previous features had to be proven before those original elements could be restored.

Deconstruction of the building has revealed historical treasures hidden for more than sixty years – the brickwork of the original façade, roof tiles and a bank of window framing that revealed there was once a row of mezzanine windows, similar to the ones previously exposed across the plaza on the City Hall building. These are all in the process of being restored as near to their original state as possible. “I felt like we were unwrapping a package. Every time we took something off (the building) the feeling would change,” says Jennifer. Arguably, the biggest discovery was a skylight that had been hidden from view by a drop ceiling since the 1960s. Jennifer and Jane intend to see it rebuilt with the assistance of CWA Designworks, LLC and Custom Made Wood Windows and Architectural Designs, LLC who have taken part in many historical renovations Portland.

In the meantime, there are countless other decisions to make, components to analyze from the quarter sawn oak, interior wood trim and rolling doors for the conference room, to the installation the period-style tile for the bottom of the exterior façade. In a few weeks, a team who specializes in replicating period, reverse gold-leaf painting will arrive to assess work for the door and windows of 50, Plaza Square. That’s particularly exciting for Jennifer who’s felt a connection to the property, the ‘something more’ she was looking for from the moment she stepped inside the building. She points to a shadow image of the address projected by the sunlight streaming through the door. “This image moves across the inside as the sun moves during the day,” she says. “It’s magical. So many things have just fallen into place with this project.”

The Jane Garcia Team is also looking forward to blending new technologies along with historic charm in their new home. Keller Williams Realty plans to launch a break-through app for buyers at the end of 2019’s second quarter which will allow them to search for their particular points of interests like white kitchens, or southern exposures. It’s just one of the things Jane, a forty-one-year veteran in real estate admires about Keller Williams, a real estate company who ranked number one nationally in 2018 for sales volume and units sold. “It’s an amazing business model,” she says. “It’s different to anything I’ve been involved with.” The blog, Smart Asset tags Keller Williams as, “a real estate force to be reckoned with.” Not surprisingly, so is the Jane Garcia Team.

NOTE: You can follow the progress of the renovation of 50, Plaza Square on it own FaceBook page  https://www.facebook.com/50-Plaza-Square-1928723733848059/


George Hafeman

A Conversation with George Hafeman Jr.

St. Helens resident, George Hafeman Jr. has never been one to let grass grow under his feet for a couple of reasons: First, he came to understand the value of property early in life and second, he likes to keep busy. Getting him to stay put long enough to talk can take some coordination because even at seventy-six, an age where most of us plan to spend our days relaxing under palm trees, Hafeman sits on the board of Scappoose Economic Development while heading up the three offices of Windermere/ St. Helens Real Estate with his brother and co-owner, Mike Hafeman. George Hafeman’s response to all queries about his retirement plans is a standard, “Why would I do that?”

Hafeman has always been active and can’t see his life any other way. “Independence helped me,” he says. From early childhood, living abroad in a military family, he explored much of the world on his own, in both post WWII Austria and Japan. His spirit of independence often served him well in his career paths. As a pre-med student at the University of Oregon in Eugene, he worked at a sorority house preparing food and doing dishes to pay for his own room and board. While enrolled in pre-med studies, he met and married his wife Judith. “She would bring my lunch while I was working with the cadavers,” he recalls with a grin. “She refused to come in (the building) so I would meet her out front.” As Judith kept them together body and soul, Hafeman worked two and half nights a week at the Weyerhaeuser mill, in Springfield to pay for college and support them. Ultimately, financial considerations changed his course of study from medicine to education. It was challenging to say the least, but when he graduated with a degree in education in 1966 he graduated debt free.

After coaching and teaching both math and physical education in California, Hafeman and his wife relocated to Newberg, Oregon where he taught math, as well as coached football, basketball and track. In 1971 George began selling real estate during summer recess, and also bought an insurance agency. “Like I didn’t have enough to do,” he quips, “but I like being busy.” In 1978, they moved to Columbia County where he joined his father, George B. Hafeman, Sr. at St. Helens Real Estate, a brokerage his father started in the mid-seventies. In those days Columbia County was quieter and far more rural than it is today. Hafeman Jr. states that building four houses back then earned him recognition as the biggest builder in the county. Since those days Hafeman, along with his brother Mike have sold countless properties and expanded their father’s company, St. Helens Real Estate to three offices now operating under the Windermere banner.

When asked about growth in Columbia County Hafeman spoke enthusiastically about the future and the partnership formed between Portland Community College, Boeing and the City of Scappoose. “Portland Community College is very progressive. Scappoose is the growth area right now, but with Boeing, it (the opportunities) will ‘leapfrog.’” He looks for the spillover, or leap frog effect to benefit the other communities of Columbia County, but cautions that the opportunities presented require preparation through education and innovation. He cites Cascade Tissue, located in St. Helens as a prime example of the future in manufacturing and long removed from the old notions of assembly line production. “No industry is safe from the mechanization coming in the future,” he warns. “At Weyerhaeuser I drove a forklift, but at Cascade Tissue a robot drives the forklift now. In ten years industry will look totally different. We don’t even know what that will look like yet.”

Hafeman sees a need for modern educators to shift the direction of education for today’s students in order to prepare them for an industrial landscape where manufacturing jobs require technological expertise rather than physical stamina or manual dexterity. Embracing technology is key in Hafeman’s book – not surprising given his early adopter status in the field of real estate technology. He also believes certain conditions are necessary for creating an environment conducive to growth opportunities: First, a progressive attitude towards new ideas and systems, second, a competitive fee structure, combined with a streamlined permitting process.

Economic development isn’t the only area where George Hafeman chooses to be of service to the residents of Columbia County. Under the umbrella of the Windermere Foundation, he, his brother Mike, and their agents work to assist Columbia County’s disadvantaged children, families and seniors by providing emergency assistance through programs like their “Share the Warmth,” coat and blanket drive. This year the popular, Windermere Masquerade Ball raised more than $20,000.00 to assist approximately forty-four local charities. Hafeman acknowledges that the need for assistance is great within this county and insists on a hands-on approach to giving. “I vet the requests for assistance myself,” he states. “There’s a lot of need and all the money we raise stays right here in Columbia County.”

Hafeman credits his desire to help others to his childhood spent in post-war Japan and Austria. George Hafeman Sr., a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, served in both countries as part of the United States plan to rebuild both nations. “We lived in the American section,” Hafeman Jr. recalls, “but my Dad would frequently travel and sometimes, he’d take me with him.” These were eye-opening experiences for young George – ones that have stayed with him for life. “We would go to the Japanese schools and there would be children there deformed from the atomic bombs. In Austria, they were living behind the Iron Curtain. They had nothing.” While Hafeman remembers taking these situations in stride at the time, he looks back and knows they not only created his desire to help others, but to understand what it takes to rebuild on a grand scale. As George Hafeman looks out on Columbia County today having witnessed both its past and present, he looks towards to helping secure its future.



Marks on the Channel – Keeps Palates Happy

Discovering one of the most inviting restaurant locations doesn’t happen every day. In a town of wildly publicized hot spots it’s both unexpected and unusual to stumble upon an “Undiscovered Oregon” location like Mark’s on The Channel. This glowing gem is just a mere 15ish minutes north of Portland on the west side of the Willamette serving up cool cocktails, craft beers and a plethora of menu choices that are medal worthy, but it’s the getting there. Don’t blink or you might miss the sign alerting you to turn towards the river from the main road just as you barely scrape the border of Scappoose.  It took Mark 10 years of looking to find this location and he lived in Columbia County. Consider the hard part done – you have now found a re “mark” able floating restaurant on the water where the menu compliments gorgeous views of St. Helens, sheep grazing, blue herons in flight and boats with intriguing names like Star Ship. Forget any of Captain Kirk’s offerings from the replicator that might be aboard though, Mark isn’t serving up anything  except fresh caught goodness.

As early as high school Mark was attracted to knives and shinny pans but gives credit of his craft to Stuart Hinerfeld of Des Moines Ames, Iowa. Mark was able to learn and hone his cookery in an amazing restaurant that was wildly popular for the high level of innovative cuisine with flair. When he opened Mark’s on the Channel Mark brought his bold seasoning with him only to find the locals didn’t enjoy the trends so much. They wanted good “normal” selections. For awhile Mark fought it, but finally gave in and decided to put a menu together that suits a casual diner or someone wanting to explore their quest for something a little unexpected. Menu options range from everything fresh seafood to mushroom pate’, saganaki and juicy burgers with some innovation thrown in like bacon jam and caramelized onions. Diners get hooked on the Mac “bar” – a clever take on the standard mac and cheese. Mark’s on the Channel is a favorite of both locals in the know and those that who delight in a chance encounter to any wonderful dining experience – lovely food and an incredible view. Add some good company and you’ve just found a dining experience that is “out of this world.”


Running Dogs Brewery – we both swipe right.

The Run Down on Running Dogs Brewery – Twenty Minutes North of Portland – Craft Brewing is Open for Business.

Running Dogs 2018.

At first you might be fooled into thinking that the new dog-hip craft brewery in St. Helens, OR is run by some “kids” just having millennial fun. Jaron and Maggie exude friendly charm and genuine home grown sensibility, but when you take a glimpse inside their world you quickly realize they are astute and progressive and have identified their objectives and key results for a successful business. They smile brightly and are enthusiastic about what they are doing in St. Helens, OR, the little city with the big river views. I ask Jaron how he got interested in craft beer and he gives a bit of a laugh as he explains. Double tap expand.

Jaron started brewing his own beer in 2011 and he really liked it as a hobby. He had a background working in production supervisor capacities both in the military and at Talking Rain before he moved to the area. Maggie was busy in retail where she kept her head down and her mind in gear leading to successful management positions all the while earning her degree in 2015 in Business Administration. In 2014 a job brought them to St. Helens, OR. But, both of them yearned to control their own destiny. Pause.

Swipe right. One day Maggie said, “Hey, I think we should open our own taproom.”  Jaron had dreamed of this but was surprised to hear Maggie was on board so soon. They started to look for a location.

They came up with the name Running Dogs Brewery while home brewing and always knew that would be the name if they became a commercial Brewery. Their dogs, Gionia an Italian Grey Hound and Winchester(aka Chester) a Vizla, didn’t seem to notice all the fanfare, but  it is their silhouette that became the brand mark born from a few clicks of magic on Photoshop. Now they had to build a successful business plan and find some money.  Swipe right.

Fast forward seven months later and their biggest concern has shifted from how to survive to being able to brew beer fast enough. This is a good problem to have in the competitive craft brew space. Jaron doesn’t have the luxury of huge tanks to produce his beer in; however, that also means Running Dogs Brewery won’t be boring their customers until they finish the last drop of a small kettle batch either.

Jaron and Maggie are getting creative with their unique flavor inspired beverages. Chantrelle mushroom Pale or Cherrywood Smoke Stout end up being best sellers alongside a Kolsch with citrusy mouthful of blackberry and blueberries. They like to play around with interesting tasty toppings on the glass rim and their creations have been a hit with the customers. It’s appears to be uniquely innovative craft brewing at its best and encourages people to come back and try the next delicious thing. New ones in production are thoughtfully explained. A lemony beer might go best with a rim of freeze dried boysenberry and a hint of caramelized sugar. We immediately agree, “Yes, please.”

Running Dogs Brewery has the best meat and cheese boards in the county and their sausages are the best in the entire world.  We discovered this after drinking multiple beers and playing cribbage for 5 hours with no bathroom breaks. Well actually I lie, we did take one break to see if we needed to plug the meter. Oops! Did we mention Free Parking is bountiful? Could we have found beer nirvana? Our fisherman’s knit sweaters never seemed to be as white. But back to the story. We both swipe left. Ah, is this also the place to meet a life time love? Stop it. Swipe left.

Although Jaron and Maggie don’t have any children of their own they certainly have a genuine locally supported family following. Inside Running Dogs Brewery a plethora of stacked colorful, more than slightly used game boxes fit snugly onto the shelves ready to inspire playful quality time. Sure you could do this at home, except it’s way more fun at Running Dogs Brewery.  Your friends might be there too and you won’t want to miss out if they already bought you a beer on the big black board. The kids can play together while you talk or pick up a game too. You can pretend it doesn’t matter who wins while secretly vowing to not drink much as your “secret weapon” and express ticket to the bragging rights. The brewery gear is a great hit among supporters and friends and often becomes an onsite purchase for the best of a grudge match. Would you bet a hat on that? We bet a game and one of us became a member of “The Dog Pound.” This means every time you order a beer it is actually from a personalized glass kept on site and a 16 ounce pint magically grows to a 20 ounce glass. Sorry, somehow this doesn’t seem like anyone lost. Next time we won’t play cut throat.

Running Dogs Brewery also has a hot live music scene and tons of trivia nights that will make you want to watch before looking like you thought you knew something. It’s brings out the geek or the “Game Night” in anyone with a pulse. The persona of this place culminates with the charming Germanesk wall mural with hidden dogs to find, but the real draw is the family affair that has been born between the beer, the adults, the kids and the games. It’s a spot where the words, “Go play,” doesn’t involve a slimy ball being returned, or the kids getting the brush off while adults talk. We predict Running Dogs Brewery will be your next best friend and you even might find someone else that swipes right sitting across the room.
As we walk towards the door we drag our feet a little, like kids not wanting to leave the playground, but then someone suggests a walk on the waterfront and we perk up. Less than a block away we walk along the rivers edge where “The Columbia Slows Its Roll” and imagine that this little place is likely to reveal it’s secrets to the proximity of Portland shortly. For now we catch a glimpse of a huge ship held up by the rivers’ power and plan our return to kick some butt on the “Apps You Need To Know” trivia night coming up. We know it will be a win even if we don’t and we know we will sip right.

For more information on Running Dogs Brewery and their live music, game nights and more schedules we recommend following them on their fb page @Running Dogs Brewery