The Canby Area Chamber last night hosted its second annual State of the City and Small Business Showcase.
The event coincides with the First Thursday celebration in downtown Canby and features a sampling of local businesses and organizations, followed by Canby Mayor Brian Hodson’s State of the City address.
The Showcase featured A Family Tradition Cleaning Services LLC, the Canby Pioneer Chapel Performing Arts, Friends of the Canby Public Library, Baker’s Prairie Bakery, Better Homes & Gardens-Canby, Ellison Team Homes, Rackleff Place, Puddin’ River Chocolates, Wayward Sandwiches, Willamette Falls Pediatric Group, PMG Employment Solutions, Oregon Driver Education Center, the Canby Herald, DirectLink and a new business coming to the Dahlia this spring: B’s Bake Shoppe (like their Facebook page!)
Mayor Hodson shared updates on much of the new developments, growth and major civic projects that have happened over the past year, from Columbia Distributing’s new Canby facility and other additions to the Canby Pioneer Industrial Park, to the downtown core and the important role it plays in local events and attracting new and unique local businesses.
Of Columbia, often a point of tension in Canby because of concerns about the traffic the large distribution facility may bring, Mayor Hodson had this to say: “That’s over a 530,000-square-foot facility coming into our industrial park. That’s jobs. That’s traffic, yes, I’m not going to deny that. But we’ve planned for that. We knew it was coming. We knew, when we designed the industrial park, that the intent was to draw businesses of this size.”
Mayor Hodson expounded on the importance of the industrial park to Canby’s economic growth and development, providing a stable tax base and over a thousand local jobs.
“The Canby industrial park is the economic engine of our city,” he said. “That is the piece that drives our city. That is what enables us to do libraries, build police stations, make streetscapes. That’s what helps us fund and do a lot of the great things that we are doing.”
In his time as city councilor, and now eight years as mayor, Hodson said he has seen times of growth, followed by periods of adjustment to that growth. Obviously, Canby is currently experiencing a major growth spurt.
“The time is coming when we will have to adjust to the new us,” Hodson said. “And during that time of adjustment, we must once again roll up our shirt sleeves, come together and determine if we’re going to plan and manage those next stages of growth, or be acted upon and have to react.”
But as he has in previous years, Mayor Hodson also addressed the question of whether Canby can preserve its small-town feel in the midst of big-city growth. His answer was the same: Yes, it “can.” Whether it will, he says, is up to us.
“I hold that Canby stays small because of the people that choose to come to our events, the people that choose to shop in our town and the people that choose to go to their new neighbor and say, ‘Hi. Welcome to Canby,'” Mayor Hodson said. “Because that’s what it takes to be a small town.”
Though Canby chamber director Kyle Lang joked that he was “offered a lot of money” to do so, he declined to tear up Mayor Hodson’s speech following his remarks.
Hear Mayor Hodson’s complete State of the City address on the Canby Now Podcast: