Crown Zellerbach trail

The Crown Zellerbach Trail is one of the places that has received assistance from the Columbia County Tourism Initiative.

The Columbia County Board of Commissioners has granted the Columbia County Tourism Initiative its requested $10,000. The request was granted at the Wednesday, Sept. 4 Columbia County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The initiative also received $5,000 from the City of Scappoose.

At the county commissioners’ Aug. 28 meeting, Alison Hart, representative for the Columbia County Tourism Initiative, originally presented on the initiative and requested $10,000 to support their future efforts. Commissioner Alex Tardif motioned to approve the request, but Commissioner Henry Heimuller did not second the motion, saying he needed to see more documentation.

Chuck Daughtry, Executive Director of the Columbia County Economic Team (CCET), which spearheads the Columbia County Tourism Initiative, said the funds will help the initiative grow, and continue for at least another year.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress,” Daughtry said about the initiative. “We’ve got private interests as well as government entities and we’re all working to improve the tourism economy in Columbia County.”

Heimuller wanted to clarify that his not seconding the motion at the earlier meeting was not a denial of funds.

“It was making sure all the ‘T’s were crossed and ‘I’s were dotted before approving the request,” Heimuller said. “The Tourism Initiative is something we’ve always been supportive of.”

Tardif said he was excited about the county’s support of the initiative.

“I think this is a very exciting opportunity for the county to be a leader and participate in this and I look forward to the community benefitting from an opportunity like this,” Tardif said.

The next step for the initiative is to gather more funds, according to Daughtry. Their budget is a little over $80,000 a year, and they have already secured funds from Travel Oregon, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners and the City of Scappoose. They will be seeking out more funds from the City of Vernonia, the Port of Columbia County, the City of St. Helens, the City of Rainier and Columbia City.

“We have to come up with the rest of the money, and that allows us to keep the committee together as well as produce some marketing materials,” Daughtry said.

Daughtry said he hopes the initiative will help drive tourism in the county.

“We’re really underperforming relative to other counties in the state. We’ve got all these beautiful spots and we’ve got to market them and make them more attractive and that’s what we’re working on,” Daughtry said.

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