1940’s Dinner & Big Band Fundraiser for St. Helens Senior Center November 2nd

SAVE THE DATE!  Saturday, November 2nd.  This will be a special night at the St. Helens Senior Center.  We will be hosting a 1940’s Dinner & Big Band Fundraiser featuring “Big River Big Band” with Director Larry Jackson.  The night will include a choice of a delicious prime rib or salmon dinner.  It will be an evening of dining and dancing reminiscent of the Big Band Era.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars and SAVE THE DATE!

Location: 375 S. 15th Street, St. Helens, OR 97051
E-mail: activities@shseniorcenter.com
Phone: 5033973377
Name: St. Helens Senior Center
Date: 2019-11-02

Halloweentown Tickets, Twilight, Celebrity Appearances & Agenda Information


Just click the link for the links to agenda information, free events and tickets and information you desire. See you soon in Halloweentown.


Click this link below to go directly to tickets – make sure you scroll down to see all ticket options starting with Festival of the Fairies through Peter Facinelli


Matt McHugh knows the people in his neighborhood.

Who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood? This familiar childhood song beats a rhythm in my mind whenever Matt’s name comes up in conversation.  If you have ever met Matt McHugh you would be hard pressed to not find him greeting you with a big warm smile and hardy hello, one palm raised up to meet yours. His positive vibe is infectious and you’ll easily fall into comfortable conversation about life and the living.

We sit at Plymouth Pub, the new sports bar down on 1st Street and fall into easy conversation. It’s Matt’s first visit and he settles for a burger with the bacon. “How can you go wrong he quarries?” with a smile. While we wait for our fare I ask Matt about his earlier years and he begins with his parents and first memories. In 2nd grade Matt moved to Scappoose with his dad and mom. His dad was a principal at Grant Watts. The family took to the little town and he grew up in the area enjoying the life in a “Leave it to Beaver” culture. It had all the fun of running around the neighbor hood, playing in an unencumbered society, free of propeller parents and far from city life where folks didn’t always lock their doors at night. Those days continued throughout his school life: family, friends, school, fun. But, like a lot of other people, Matt was anxious to see the exciting outside world he saw on television, heard about and experienced on outings with his family. He had new ideas about what was next.

Not to be outdone by anyone else Matt left as soon as he possibly could to get away. In his young mind, the place was small and restrictive. He laughs about this now, “Isn’t that what everyone wants to do when they finish high school?” As the burger arrives he says he is glad he ordered it. “Now if it is as good as it looks right?” One bite later he nods his head in approval and continues his story. After leaving he went to university and ended up with a degree in Political Science and a wonderful mate in his wife Jamie. She was raised in Portland and seemed agreeable to the next big thing which was starting a family.  When it came to child rearing they quickly realized they couldn’t be the helicopter parent type, keeping track of your kids every minute of the day and competing for much sought “quality play dates.” The city didn’t seem to fit into their vision of family as much as it did when you just wanted to get away from your parents. They found themselves yearning for a more laid back environment to grow their children and realized that another move was needed to make it a reality. It was a move back to where Matt had roots and it was doable financially.

Fast forward to today and you’ll find Matt teaching his boys to fish and play outside, hiking within the beauty of close by forest and fauna. Here the “great outdoors” starts pretty much right as soon as you leave the house he says.  “We still go to nearby attractions like OMSI and Oaks Park, but we are grounded here. This is where we really do the living,” says Matt.

I asked what he wishes Columbia County had and he smiles, “I love Indian Food and the ability to take a taxi, Dim Sum on Sundays.” His favorite food remains pizza which will always rule as his favorite, hopefully with roasted garlic.”  His idea of relaxing is fishing, Frisbee golf, and neighborhood poker games. Coincidentally these are all within a 5 minute drive.

Matt believes in community and you’ll soon see his lifelong commitment at the Chinook Sports Field. In two locations it will be touting his Cascadia Home Loans message. He is very involved with supporting youth and one campaign he is recently involved in is the “Sports Time not Screen Time”  program.  An avid community supporter you’ll see Cascadia Home Loans millennial inspired rainbow of outdoor pigments continue to be recognized on many more upcoming events and school programs.

In his business of providing financial services and support to he is planning to grow with the cities he serves. Another location is a definite possibility and he truly can supply our small towns with the resources of a big city.

Matt is way to young to retire; but he sees his life here for the upcoming years and watching both his family life grow up through his children and the community grow into everything everyone could want it to be. Lots of resources without the hassle of city life. “It’s hard to find a place that is perfect, but this area has the bones, you have to trust that everyone wants the best for their neighbor too; I see that here and it makes me want to do better every day so my kids can have the same choices I do later on.”

Sand Island Campground

Want to camp on Sand Island Campground in Oregon. Well now you can..

Simply visit http://www.sandislandcampground.com and make your desires a reality.

Coming Soon is our newest attraction Sand Island Adventure – Stay tuned as we finalize our offering designed just for you!

Height restrictions are as follows: 32″ (82 cm) or taller and accompanied by another rider 54″ or taller. 54″ (137 cm) or taller to ride alone.

Take a ride on this new water adventure and then spend the afternoon or day on Sand Island. This ticket includes passage to and from the Whale Ride which leaves from Sand Island. Sand Island is located in St. Helens, Oregon. Follow the gps to St. Helens Oregon and park free by 2C’s Vendor Mall on 1st Street. Then walk the 2 blocks to the St. Helens Marina. At the St. Helen’s Marina you will receive ferry passage across to Sand Island. Before boarding check in at the Marina store and watch the short safety video and receive your wrist bands. Wrist bands give you free passage to and from the take off point for your ride. The ride includes life vests, whistles and of course a super fun pull around Sand Island and the river for 20 minutes. Be prepared to have fun and bring your sun screen. We can lock anything you bring with you in our locker during your ride only. Following your ride you can stay the day at Sand Island until 5 p.m. and explore the island, lounge on the “beach” or return to St. Helens to shop and dine. We offer basic food service to Sand Island which you may order onsite from Sunshine Pizza and have delivered to the island or you may bring your own food and beverage. The last boat back to St. Helens, OR is at 5 p.m. and you may not stay overnight unless you are also camping on the island. Details to stay overnight are found by going to Sand Island Campground.com and you may make an overnight reservation there if there are sites available.

Whale Ride 6

St. Helens Historic District Walking Tour – Year Round

Click on the Walking Tour Link from our URL and then you’ll be in for a treat.


The map will guide you through a section of St. Helens that was accepted as a Historic District by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1984. Much of the narrative describes the structures as they appeared at that time. Some have been demolished, but most are still standing and may have been updated in appearance. In some cases, historic images have been added to the descriptions and the maps. Also, stories about notable people and events are included. The best way to experience this tour is to use your smart phone with GPS enabled. The map icons are keyed to the significance of the structure and/or commercial uses. Please do not disturb the residents. You can also navigate through the map on your computer, just click on any house or building icon.

We would appreciate any feedback about the tour experience. You can email museum@colcomuseum.org

Museum of Peculiarities & Oddities Walking Tour – Year Round

You’ll be able to take a walking tour of the strange and odd from Columbia Blvd beginning at Vanderwalls Vendormall on Columbia Blvd in St. Helens, OR and down the road to 1st Street in St. Helens Riverfront District. We’ve taken The Museum of Peculiarities and Oddities on the road. Guests and locals alike can take a walk from Columbia to 1st Street and be amazed at the storefront residents and displays. Fun tongue and cheek characters and items will introduce community “characters” and tell some “tall tales” or perhaps just explain what you are seeing. Read their stories as you walk along. We’re still under construction so check back with a walk as you please and we continue to add some unusual things.

Participating businesses include:

Vanderwalls Vendormall, Richardsons Furniture, Top Notch Thrift Store, Feed and Seed Store, American Family Insurance, Hagz & Bags(across from Kozy) Wild Current, 2C’s Vendermall, Woodland Cottage, Cuts +, Bemis Printing, City Hall, Running Dogs Brewery, City Hall Plaza Side, Feathers & Leathers, Jilly’s plus The Plymouth Pub, City Hall and Keller Williams Realty.

Chief Greenway reveals some little secrets and they go viral

We catch up with Chief Greenway and instead of asking the same tired questions we seek the good stuff that everyone wants to know.  We’re sure this will come in handy sometime in the future for anyone that needs a conversation starter with our new Chief of Police.

Home Town? Rolling Meadows Illinois

Favorite place? Disney Land

Favorite color? Blue

Favorite band? Guns and Roses

Favorite television series? Family Guy

Favorite movie? Saving Private Ryan

Favorite sport? Hockey

Favorite team? Chicago Bears

Favorite food? Banana Pudding

If you weren’t a police chief what other occupation would you have? Dentist or radio disc jockey

What human trait do you most admire in yourself? I’m approachable

If you could give anyone one piece of advice what would it be? Be kind

Do you watch game of thrones?  Yes

Who do you most identify with? John Snow

Favorite beverage? Lemonade

What car would you most like to have? Ford F250 Diesel

Which living person do you most despise? Any member of Isis

What is your most overused phrase? I’m sorry

What is the greatest love of your life? Ice hockey

Where and when are you happiest? With his daugthers

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Watching his daughters become adults

Name one thing people don’t know about you? Last one to see Tupac alive after he was shot

Favorite book? The Art of Racing in the Rain

Last place you’d ever want to go? Mexico

If you had a super power what would it be? Flying

Best way to spend a weekend? Ice hockey or spending time with daughters

Favorite flavor of ice cream? Butter Pecan

Favorite line from a movie? “Do you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?

Hot dog or hamburger? Hamburger

Favorite off duty clothes? Jeans and T

Secret talent? Bow and Arrow Expert

If you had one wish that couldn’t be for more wishes what would it be? My daughters grow up happy.

How do you and Matt Brown have in common? My daughter has AVM – and so does Matt. Only 1 in every 100,000 people are diagnosed.

Mitzie Ponce brings smiles 7 days a week

Mitzi Ponce Brings Smiles Seven Days a Week

You’re likely to find Mitzi Ponce on her perch behind the cashwrap at 2Cs Vendor Mall; but she hasn’t always been there. Mitzi started her life overseas and for the first six years got a taste from the other side of the pond. Her father was military and this lifestyle afforded her a different perspective on life that has benefited her cheery attitude and business style. After the family returned to the United States Mitzi moved to Austin where she was greeted most mornings by the conflicting smells of gunpowder and baking bread. Her home was located by both the school and the military facility.

Eventually, Mitzi ended up in East Carolina with her daughter where she studied a variety of subjects that ended with bachelor degrees in Computer Science, Biology, and Philosophy. Yes, you read that correctly. She also worked as an intern for the department head at the University. While working in the research department, IBM came calling and Mitzi was an easy pick for their team. At the time IBM didn’t think they were hiring enough undergrads. With a chuckle, she says she was the oldest intern at IBM in their software innovation lab.  Home life was busy with work sometimes beginning with 4 a.m. calls and training on c suite level in India followed by China data companies solutions. The afternoons were filled with the West Coast and Mexico clients and then on to Japanese colleagues. It was often a 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. gig. After almost 10 years Mitzi hung up her three letter company and its routine to make a move to be near family. Currently, her son and daughter live close by and they are the ones we might want to thank for bringing Mitzi to town.

Mitzi bought the 2Cs Vendor Mall when she had the chance and this fulfilled a lifelong passion of hers. Antiques. The 2Cs Vendor Mall welcomes all kinds of interesting items from days gone by. “I just love helping folks find things that they collect, whether it’s barbershop poles or vintage metal cars,” says Mitzi, “I get a kick out of that and it doesn’t get old for me.” While her favorite customer might be a dog named Lou Lou that runs for Mitzi’s door the minute it turns the corner of St. Helens Street where greetings and treats are received, she really feels a bond with those that come, return and come again. Many of her customers make 2Cs Vendor Mall a part of their collecting journey and they do become like friends. There is something special about the way that Mitzi and her staff serve their customers – they all have likable and engaging personas.  Free coffee might also have something to do with that. A fresh pot is always on and customers are welcome to it. After a journey to the store a coffee is usually welcomed and gives people a minute to collect themselves and visit a minute before pulling themselves together to carefully look through the over 60 different vendors’ wares within the mall. Her favorite time of the year is late summer when it is hot outside. Mitzi says the reason she likes this time of year is that, “The store is cool inside and when people come in all overheated we offer popsicles and lemonade, there is just something about that I really enjoy. It’s just an old fashioned feeling of community.”

Part of Mitzi’s success can be given to her background and acumen for business and the knowledge of operations; she is very much into expediting and evaluating store activities. The biggest change has been in increasing her store hours. “The one thing I would tell retail business owners in St. Helens is to be open, build a habit for customers that they can find you open. Once you show customers you are committed to being open for them they become loyal shoppers,” she says with a smile on her face. One reason it’s become important for her to be open 7 days a week is a result of the month-long Spirit of Halloweentown celebration. “After the first year we really started to have a huge crowd…  we could afford to stay open longer, and then we could serve all the returning shoppers. We have returning customers that came here for the second, third and fourth time every week following that original Halloween month. They want to shop when it’s not so busy and they like that the store continues to offer up new gems along the way. Halloween sales provide just about six months of income in one month, and I now have a waiting list of people that want a spot inside the mall,” she said. She adds that “St. Helens is a good place to do business and the City of St. Helens is getting easier and easier to do business with, the merchant meetings have really given a voice to us who want to be heard, the activities have gotten better and better and it’s not often a place of this size can create this number of tourism guests.”

Mitzi dreams of an elevator in her 3 story building and making more improvements for customers when they visit. On the occasional day off Mitzi finds family at the forefront of her day. She loves spending time with them and her son recently moved to the area. There are many things that engage the heart and few that engage the soul. I get a lift every time I see those kids she said. I feel very lucky that I have a complete passion for what I’m doing whether it’s in the mall or just watching those kids. They both make me smile.

2C’s Vendor Mall is located on First Street across from Columbia Theater in St. Helens, OR. They are open 7 days a week.

The Vendanta Retreat – A Spot Out of Time and Space

By Stephanie Patterson

At the end of a side road on the outskirts of Scappoose, past a myriad of gentleman farms, sets one of the most unique and serene spots in all of Columbia County – the privately owned, Vedanta Retreat. While Columbia County boosts many great hiking locations with terrific scenery, the Vedanta Retreat offers something extra along its twisting trails. It offers serenity, and an opportunity to contemplate and meditate as you feel guided. Along the densely paths of foliage you discover pilgrimage shrines for all the major religions and philosophies of the world.

Vendanta is a Sanskrit word meaning, “The conclusion of the Vedas” – the Vedas being the oldest sacred writings of India. These writings provide the foundation of Hinduism. Vedantic teachings affirm three tenets: The oneness of existence, the divinity of the soul, and a harmony of all religions. Nowhere is the last tenet so visible at the retreat than in its shrines to various faiths which are scattered throughout the property.

The Vedanta Retreat is located on a 120-acre parcel of land that has been privately owned by the Vedanta Society of Portland since 1936, but visitors and pilgrims are welcome to hike the trails and visit the shrines. There is a gravel drive that stretches through the trees beyond the main gate where you leave your car. Almost immediately you understand that this place in different. Speech becomes quieter, less frequent, as if you automatically comprehend that this is hallowed ground. During spring, the forest floor is covered by wildflowers and new vegetation – white trillium, ferns and Dutchman’s britches to name a few. The paths are well-marked and by bearing right you soon find yourself walking up a long hill. The cries of birds and the patter of rain on leaves and needles are the only sounds you hear. Suddenly, through the tops of the trees you spy a golden, onion-shaped dome. You have found the main temple, or perhaps more correctly, the temple has found you.

There are benches along the edge of the glade housing the temple – places where you can sit and take in the calmness, the sanctity of the site. There is a garden plot with a sign proclaiming it ‘Mother’s Native Garden,’ filled with plants indigenous to Oregon. From the temple, you can take a trail marked, ‘Mothers Trail’ that leads you through the forest to the Karma and the Biblical Trails. Along this way you visit the Shrine of the Holy Mother (Sri Sarada Devi) and the meditation seat of St. Francis of Assisi. Farther up a steep hill, the Christian shrine holds a picture of the Madonna and Child inscribed with the simple words, ‘Amazing Grace.’ From there you can travel a world of beliefs – Sikh, Judaism and Native American, as well as many others. The natural forest, the wildlife, the trails and shrines all serve to make the retreat feel as if it’s a place out of time and space from the modern world.

While the retreat is located on private land, the general public has always been welcome to use the trails and visits the shrines. There are only a few requests the Vendanta Society makes of its visitors. Be respectful and remember this is sanctified ground for many religions and philosophies. There is no alcohol allowed on the property. There is no hunting, or firearms permitted. It is a ‘noise-free’ zone, which means it’s a space designated for quiet contemplation and meditation. This is not a place designed, or intended for running and playing, or climbing trees. Children are welcome, but some of the constraints on them may be difficult for them to follow and it may not be the best choice in a hiking location for them. There is a trash receptacle at the front gate, but none through the trails. If you pack it in, you must pack it out. This property is pristine and the Vendanta Society asks all visitors to ensure it remains this way. It comes down to one thing – be a good guest with good manners. Please check the Vedanta Society’s website for more information at


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The 1st & 3rd Saturday of every month – Writers Write

Come join your fellow writers for a twice-a-month write-in at the St. Helens Public Library. Participate in silent word sprints, encourage each other, exchange ideas, and most importantly, do what writers do:  WRITE!
Open to writers of all ages, background, and introvert levels.
Auditorium, 1st and 3rd Saturdays, 6pm-8pmsthelenslibrary