Amy Stuck stands in front of the Gales Creek Store and Community Hall. Photo: Chas Hundley
GALES CREEK - The Gales Creek store is open again.
“Can you believe it?” store owner Amy Stuck said.
For more than 80 years, what is now the Gales Creek Store and Community Hall, surmounted numerous obstacles to open and close and open again -- a story for another day -- the most recent being the 2015 fire that closed the store.
The building is a landmark to Gales Creek residents that, from the west, lets them know they are leaving town, and it's the most visible building in the downtown area from the east on Gales Creek Road.
Stuck, who owned the up-at-the-corner space since before the fire, hopes to breathe new life into the store and that it will become an agency of community gathering.
“I really believe Gales Creek has a good support system,” Stuck said. “We host chamber of commerce meetings here, we have a lending library here. We encourage people to come here and work on projects and hang out together. Every Saturday we want people to come and have coffee and talk. Each week we could have a community topic to sit around and discuss, national politics excluded -- real community discussions.”
Stuck said she wanted to reopen the now-called Gales Creek Store and Community Hall because of her roots and deep feelings for Gales Creek -- Stuck’s great grandfather traveled from Oklahoma to Oregon during the Dust Bowl years, and settled in Gales Creek.
“Me, my father, and all six of us children lived at one time or another on a house on the hill,” Stuck said. “We are from this area. We went into town to Forest Grove mostly but we lived out here because this is where we’ve always been. There’s a lifestyle here that is just home. I know other people here have the same feeling.”
Stuck said that what the Gales Creek Store and Community Hall becomes is what the community makes of it and that she wants everyone to know that anyone is welcome during store hours, or to call her and schedule a time to talk about reserving time and space.
“Without the community’s support we have nothing,” she said. “We have a Saturday Market here where vendors sell their crafts, trade and … we’re looking to set up a fruit stand here. We have someone who paints kids faces, one that sharpens knives, a thrift store owner with a small display, a CBD oil vendor, and we want to get more vendors to set up on Saturdays.
“Many of our community members work from home,” Stuck continued. “I want them to have a place to come and talk to others in the community -- get to know their neighbors, and further build the foundation of the community -- and perhaps sell their goods or services. We would welcome a food cart. But we don’t sell alcohol or cigarettes. We have chips and candy, and tiny bits of concessions like that -- freshly-baked bread, cinnamon rolls, and cookies. The rest is what other people from Gales Creek have to sell.”
Stuck said she hopes people will see Gales Creek Store and Community Hall as a place where as a community people come together to plan projects and work toward solving community concerns, host business events, from coffee to celebrations, or just meet and talk and sip safe drinks with friends.
“We all run into the same people all the time,” Stuck said. “We should use that very thing to build even-stronger community bonds.”
The Gales Creek Store and Community Hall is located at 8995 NW Gales Creek Road. Currently, hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Visit the Gales Creek Store and Community Hall on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GalesCreekCountryStore or contact someone at the store by calling 503-208-1436.
Editor’s note and disclosure: The owner of this newspaper is a business partner at the Gales Creek Store and Community Hall, and this paper holds offices inside the building as well.