Opinion: Curry fountain worth the wait, and there's more coming
If there's a lesson in the seven-year build-up and completion of the Columbia County Rotary Children's Fountain in Scappoose, it's that good things are worth waiting for.
Sometimes that ages-old tenet is not easily appreciated. Our fast-paced, instant-gratification world doesn't lend itself to patience. Even slow website load times — which even the slowest are lickety-split fast compared to a decade ago — can drive someone over the edge.
But it was all worth it for the fountain, which is a marvel. Not only does it offer a recreational outlet for kids and a way to beat summer heat, it was built with strong community values in mind. At its core a structure representing the tree of knowledge curves skyward. A moment alone at the fountain, with sunbeams casting rainbows in the mist to the sound of inspirational compositions, invariably prompts contemplation.
The fountain is much more than its name implies.
We admit a measure of impatience when it comes to the Rotary fountain, however. When the project was first pitched in 2010, there was an expectation it would be done in a year's span. In fact, in August 2010 the stated completion date was the following month, just in time for the now-defunct Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival, which ended in 2014.
Simply, the initial completion timeline was the result of a mistaken assumption on many people's parts, including our own. Nothing of that scope and quality moves fast, and nor should it. Add in the fact the fountain was pursued as such projects should be, as a collaboration with community sponsors, volunteer labor and material donations — including those from Michael Curry Design, a world-class, highly sought-after art studio — and watch the finish line stretch beyond the horizon.
As patiences is concerned the same lesson can just as easily be applied to other projects unfolding in Scappoose and St. Helens.
Closure of the Boise Cascade veneer plant in 2008 was one of a series of events contributing to the decline of St. Helens' manufacturing sector. The outlook was bleak as the nation was slipping into its worst economic position since the Great Depression.
St. Helens officials, with the 2015 purchase of the former veneer plant's 17 acres, are now positioned to transition the city out of its industrial past by remaking the waterfront into a desirable destination for businesses and residents alike. A successful development we expect would send ripples throughout the community, attracting new investment and residents as many are being priced out of other Portland metro neighborhoods. All of the ingredients are there, it will just take time and hard work. And patience.
In Scappoose, it has been nearly three decades since the community fought back against a proposal to turn property near the airport into a gravel mine, ultimately securing an agreement in 2002 that waylaid mining of the land forever. Since then, there has been a steady push to transform the land for development. Only now, many years later, are we seeing the benefits of those efforts.
Scappoose is poised to become a manufacturing research and development hub with development of the Oregon Manufacturing and Innovation Center, something with the potential to redefine all of Columbia County — possibly all of Oregon.
Much like the fountain, there were times we became bogged down in the nuances of such monumental developments, to the point we wondered if they would ever unfold. Scappoose's OMIC is developing beyond any of our expectations, and we would expect even detractors of the city's urban growth boundary would be hard-pressed to cry foul over its rise.
As for what's next, with the fountain we are provided space in Scappoose's living room from where we can ponder that very thought. The city is changing, in postive ways. If the fountain is to serve as a symbol of that change, as well as a testament to the value of patience, we have no doubt it will be bright, lively and flowing with promise and optimism.