Columbia City Community Profile

PO Box 189, 1840 Second Street, Columbia City, OR 97018
Phone 503-397-4010 • Fax 503-366-2870
Web Page • E-Mail:

City Location

County(ies): Columbia    Incorporated in 1926
Location: Northwest Oregon along Columbia River
Nearest Major Highway and Distance: Hwy 30 | local
Nearest Major City and Distance:
St. Helens | 2 miles, Estimated Drive Time: 5 minutes
Distance to Portland: 29 miles

Source: Oregon Department of Transportation, State of Oregon Map; Oregon Blue Book

Recreational Amenities

Caples House Museum, build in 1870; McVey House built it 1871; City Celebration in September; Christmas Boat Parade

Planning a vacation or a tour through an area of Oregon? Visit the Oregon Tourism Commission's web site at for more information.

Source: City Administration, local chamber of commerce, local convention and visitor bureau


Elevation: 24'      Measurement Location: St. Helens

Monthly Ave. Low: 32°F           Monthly Ave. High: 81°F
Hottest Month: August                  Coldest Month: January
Driest Month: July                    Wettest Month: December
Average annual precipitation: 42.760"

Humidity (Hour 10, local time):
Average July afternoon humidity: 62%
Average January afternoon humidity: 82%

Source: Oregon Climate Service

Information in the Community Profiles was derived from many sources, including local, state and federal sources. The Oregon Business Development Department cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Questions and comments may be directed to the department by telephone 503-986-0123, by fax 503-581-5115 or by email

Profile Topics

Community Age Groups
Industries and Products
Demographic Data
5 Largest Employers
Economic Development Orgs
Financial Institutions
Business Taxes
Public Safety
Community Communications
Water Supply
Wastewater Treatment System
Natural Gas & Electrical

Profiles Home Page



City of Columbia City1,003 1,571 1,785 1,890
Columbia County 37,557 43,560 46,220 46,965
Sources: 1990, 2000 US Census; 2205, 2006 Center for Population Research and Census, Portland State University. 0 indicates data is unavailable.

Columbia County 687 sq miles   68 persons/sq mile Sources: figures based on 2006 PSU population estimates;
Oregon Bluebook county square mileage

Community Age Groups

Under 5 years0 0 86 92

5-19 years0 0 259 354

20-44 years0 0 353 454

45-64 years0 0 179 480

65+ years0 0 126 191

Median Age0 0 34 40.4

Source: US Census, 0 or N/A indicates data is not available. Median value is the middle value, not an average.


Total Housing Units1970198019902000Median Value of
Housing, 2000
City of Columbia City145 228 361 636 $172,500
Columbia County 7,880 12,264 14,576 17,572 $150,700

City of Columbia City 2000 Housing Breakout:Also visit Housing and
Community Services Web Site:
Vacancy Rate:13.08%
Median Owner Cost
Owner Occupied:513

Renter Occupied:82
Median Gross Rent:$494

Source: US Census. Median value is the middle value, not an average.

Economic Development and Employment

Principal Industries of the County(ies):
Columbia County—Agriculture, lumber, mining

Source: Oregon Employment Department, Covered Employment and Payroll Reports, 1998

Agricultural Products of the Area (Top 3 largest gross farm sales):
Columbia County—Specialty products, dairy products, cattle and calves

Source: Oregon State University, Extension Economic Information Office

Total Number of Manufacturing Companies in the County:
Columbia County 97

Source: Oregon Employment Department, Covered Employment and Payroll Reports, 1998

Total Number of Manufacturing Companies in the City: 1
Source: City Administration

Economic Indicators

Columbia CountyOregon


Labor Force23,70722,3891,802,9381,793,7731,840,133
Total Employment1,715,4531,679,9141,701,390
Unemployment Rate7.8%10.4%4.9%6.3%7.5%
Non-Farm Payroll Employment9,9609,8301,606,8001,596,1001,572,500
Total Covered Employment9,9919,8731,607,9441,596,9431,573,083
Total Covered Payroll
($ thousands county/
$ millions state)
Ave. Annual Payroll Per Employee$29,689$30,529$32,776$33,202$33,684
Number of Business Units943984108,432111,353113,097
Total Personal Income ($ millions)$121,804$123,739$94,999$98,500$101,358
Annual Per Capita Personal Income$$27,234$27,649$28,40028,792
Assessed Value of Property ($ millions)$0$3,580$198,911$210,435$219,878
Residential Construction
  Building Permits
  Value ($ thousands)





Travel Expenditures ($ millions)$0$24,400$6,133$6,128$6,208
Travel-Related Employment042089,80091,10090,200

 Preliminary Data
Sources: Oregon Employment Department; Center for Population Research & Census, PSU; U.S. Census Bureau; Bureau of Economic Analysis; Oregon Tourism Commission; Oregon Department of Revenue; Oregon Economic and Community Development Department.

5 Largest Employers, Public and Private as of February, 2003

Employer—Product/ServiceNumber of
Boise Cascade Corp. (St. Helens)—Paper Products 600

Letica Corp. (St. Helens)—Plastic Injection Molding 130

Frieser Lumber Co. (St. Helens)—General Sawmill 115

Columbia River People’s Utility (St. Helens)—Electricity 34

West Oregon Wood Products (Columbia City)—Mfg. Wood Pellets 23

Source: City Administration

Oregon Employment Labor Market Information

This link takes you to the Oregon Employment Department, Labor Market Analysis database. County information can be obtained here.—Click on Regional Information.

Local and Regional Economic Development Organizations

City of Columbia City— 503-397-4010

Columbia County Economic Development Department— 503-397-1035

Port of St. Helens— 503-397-2888

Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District 503-397-3099

St. Helens/Scappoose Chamber of Commerce— 503-397-0685

Economic & Community Development Department Regional Development Officer— 503-229-5117

Source: City Administration, local chamber of commerce, Oregon Economic and Community Development Department


Public and Private Schools K–12

Public School District:
St. Helens School District 502
474 N 16th St
St Helens, OR 97051-1340
Phone: 503-397-3085
Fax: 503-397-1907
Web site:

Staff and Enrollments:
District Certified Staff: reported October 2000—203
Total District Enrollment: reported October 2001—3,419

Other Schools in the School District (Private, Parochial)
To see if there are private and/or parochial schools in this district please visit

Source: Oregon Department of Education

Oregon Community Colleges and Public Universities

Oregon map with higher ed institutions identified

legend for map

For a list of public and private educational institutions in Oregon visit


Oregon Economic and Community Development Department Workforce Advocate 503–986–0207, or visit Locate local workforce assistance at

Financial Information

Financial Institutions

Commercial Banks: 0   Savings and Loans: 0   Credit Unions: 0
Financial institutions available 2 miles in St. Helens.
Source: City Administration


Sales Tax Oregon has no general sales tax.

Property Tax
Property—Who pays? Owners of real and business personal property, according to the assessed value of taxable residential, commercial, farm, industrial, utility and timber property.

County assessors use permanent rates set for all taxing districts in fiscal year 1997–98, when taxes were significantly reduced with a statewide average 17 percent cut in tax levies. Certain types of levies are outside this reduction. The tax rates cannot exceed $15 per $1,000 of real market value. For 1997–98, all property was valued by county assessors at 90 percent of the July 1, 1995, levels. For subsequent years, assessed values are limited to a 3 percent annual growth rate. Construction since July 1, 1995, is valued at the average rate of similar properties in the area. Business personal property requires annual filing. One–third payment is due by November 15. If fully paid by November 15, a 3 percent discount is allowed. Special exemptions, tax relief programs and deferrals are available. For more information contact the Columbia County assessor’s office at 503–397–3240.

Tax rates are representative of the largest tax code in the city. The rates are expressed as tax liability per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Columbia County
Average Compressed Tax Rate 1997-98$11.61
Average Compressed Tax Rate 1998-99$11.64
Average 1999 Housing Value$86,982
Ave Res Property Tax Paid on Ave House 1997-98$967.73
Ave Res Property Tax Paid on Ave House 1998-99$1,012.47
Average School rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . $7.49

Average Non-School Rate 1998-99. . . . $6.83

Average City Rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . . $1.46

Business Taxes
Property—see above

Income—Corporations doing or authorized to do business in Oregon pay excise tax. Corporations not doing or authorized to do business, but having income from an Oregon source, pay income tax. For more information contact the Oregon Department of Revenue, 955 Center St., NE, Salem, OR 97301, 503–378–4988,

Unemployment Insurance—Employers pay this. For 2002, new employers are assigned a fixed rate of 3 percent of taxable wage base. Tax rates for existing employers are based on employers' experience and range from 1 percent to 5.4 percent of taxable wage base. Taxes are paid quarterly and are due by the end of the month following the quarter. In 2002, the tax is paid on the first $25,000 of wages paid to each employee. The rate schedule in effect depends on the balance in the Trust Fund as of August 31 each year and the amount of revenue needed to maintain the balance at a level adequate to pay benefits. For more information contact the Oregon Employment Department, 875 Union St., NE, Salem, OR 97301, 503–947–1488, web

Utilities, Railroad, Weight-mile—Who pays? All railroads and investor-owned utilities operating with the state pay an annual fee. For-hire and private motor carriers operating into, within and through the state pay weight-mile taxes. Rates—limit of .25 percent of gross operating revenues of investor-owned utilities; .25 percent charged on 2002 revenues. Limit of .35 percent on gross operating revenues of railroads; .267 percent charged in 2002 revenues. Applications, plate fees and per-mile rates dependent on declared combined weight of vehicle. For more information contact the Oregon Public Utility Commission, 550 Capitol St., NE, Suite 215, Salem, OR 97301–2551, 503–378–6611, web; Oregon Department of Transportation, Rail Section, 555 13th St., NE, Salem, OR 97310–1333, 503–986–4125, web; Oregon Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Transport Branch, 550 Capitol St., NE, Salem, OR 97301–3871, 503–378–6699, web

Oregon's Business Incentives.

Motor Vehicle Licensing, Driver Licensing, Fuels—Who pays? Owners and operators of motor vehicles. Oil companies importing fuels. Truckers using Oregon highways. Fees—Registration fees, driver license fees and renewals (contact the Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services division 503–945–5000, web

Hunting and Fishing Licenses—contact Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, PO Box 59, Portland, OR 97207, general information 503–872–5268, licenses/tags/permits 503–872–5275, web

Amusement Device Tax—An excise tax is imposed upon every person who operates an amusement device in Oregon. An amusement device is a video lottery game terminal. More information from the Oregon Lottery Commission, 500 Airport Rd SE, Salem, 97301, web

Emergency Communications (9–1–1) Tax—Telephone companies providing local exchange access services in Oregon Collect this tax from their customers. The tax, which is $0.75 per line per month, is reported and paid quarterly. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Hazardous Substance Fee—Paid by possessors of nonpetroleum hazardous substance. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Petroleum Load Fee—Paid by petroleum suppliers and importers to Oregon. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Timber Severance Tax—Paid by timber owners on harvested timber’s value. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Forest Products Harvest Tax—Paid on timber cut from any land in Oregon. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Dry Cleaning Tax—Paid by operators of dry cleaning facilities. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Alcoholic Beverages—Manufacturers and/or import wholesalers of malt beverages and wines pay a privilege tax. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of distilled spirits, malt beverages and wines pay license fees. Employees who serve alcoholic beverages pay for service permits. For more information contact the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, PO Box 22297, Portland, OR 97222, 503–872–5000 or 1–800–452–6522 (in Oregon), web

Tobacco Products—Cigarette and tobacco products distributors are required to purchase tax stamps for cigarettes or pay a percentage of the wholesale price on other tobacco products. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Transit Payroll Tax–paid by employers in the Tri-Met (Portland area) and Lane Transit District (Eugene) for mass transit systems. Administered by the Department of Revenue, web

Many local governments in Oregon collect other taxes, such as hotel-motel taxes. Contact the city or county in which you are interested for more complete information about taxes in that area.

Source: Oregon Department of Revenue, “A Summary of Taxes,” January 2002; County information–County Assessor’s Office

Community Services and Resources

Public Safety/Emergency Services

Fire Station(s) serving community:
Number of paid and volunteer firefighters: 110
Rating by Insurance Services Organization (ISO): 0
Comments: 2002 data - part of the Rainier/St. Helens Rural Fire District
St. Helens Rural Fire District Office

Police Department: Columbia City
Number of paid and reserve officers: 9
Comments: All officers are parttime.

Nearest Hospital and distance: Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center, 25 miles in Portland
Regional Hospital and distance: Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center, 25 miles in Portland
Emergency services to community: Ambulance Service, Life Flight Service
General Clinic(s): 0

Source: City Administration

Communications Resources

Local Newspapers: none

Regional Newspapers: The Chronicle (St. Helens), The Spotlight (Scappoose), Oregonian (Portland)

Radio Stations: City receives stations in surrounding area

TV Stations: Columbia Community Television (St. Helens)

Available Cable Television: AT&T (St. Helens)

Telephone Service Provider(s): Qwest

Local Internet Service Provider(s): Yes
Number of Internet Service Providers: Data unavailable at this time.
Source: City Administration

Library System
Columbia City Community Library. Open Monday and Wednesday, 4pm to 7pm

Source: City Administration

Planning Service/Regulatory

Regulatory SystemYear AcknowledgedYear Last
Year of Periodic ReviewComments
Comprehensive Plan1984 1997 2002 Currently updating
Zoning Ordinance
Currently updating
Building Permit System

Subdivision Ordinance
Currently updating
Strategic Plan

Territory Covered by Zoning
Municipality Yes     County Yes
Source: City Administration

Industrial Lands
Does the Community seek industrial development? Yes
Access Statewide industrial lands database—
Source: Economic and Community Development Department

Special Districts and Associations (ports, water, sewer, etc.)
Name of Special District and the Oregon Revised Statute it was created under:
Beaver Drainage District, ORS; Chapman R.F.P.D.; Clatskanie Drainage District; Clatskanie Park and Recreation District; Clatskanie People’s Utility District; Clatskanie R.F.PD.; Columbia 911 Communications District; Columbia County 4-H and Extension Service District; Columbia Drainage Vector Control; Columbia E.S.D.; Columbia Health District-P.H.A.; Columbia River P.U.D.; Columbia S.W.C.D.; Deer Island Drainage District; Greater St. Helens Park and Recreation; John Day Drainage District; Magruder Drainage District; Marshland Drainage District; Midland Drainage Improvement Company; Mist-Birkenfeld R.F.P.D.; Port of St. Helens; Rainier Drainage District; Rainier R.F.P.D.; Scappoose Drainage District; Scappoose Park and Recreation District; Scappoose Public Library District; Scappoose R.F.P.D.; St. Helens R.F.P.D.; Vernonia R.F.P.D.; Woodson Drainage District

Special Districts Association of Oregon—727 Center St., NE Salem, OR 97301, 503–371–8667 or 800–285–5461
Source: City Administration


Water Supply

Operator: City of Columbia City
Source: Purchase water wholesale from city of St Helens
Supply: Treated; Capacity (MGD)– 5.3; Pressure (PSI)–20.00

Current Water Utilization on Meter Size (MGD): 4.50 MGD
Water Costs per thousand gallons: Base rate per/thousand =$4.41
Water Costs for Total Consumption of Residential: Based on 7,000 gallons =$30.25

Age of Water System:

Water System Comment(s):

Compliance Issues:

Water debt repayment included as part of tax assessment? No

Date of Current Master Plan: 1997

Plans for Upgrading or Expanding: Currently building one million gallon water storage reservoir and pursuing own water supply from groundwater wells.
Source: City Administration

Wastewater Treatment System

Operator: City of Columbia City          Age of Wastewater Collection System: 1992

System Design Capacity (MGD): 32.00 MGD     System Utilization (MGD): 6.00 MGD
Collection System Fees: $23.65/month    Hook-up or Connection Fee: $100 for residential
Access Fee or System Development Fee: $1,271 per EDU for St. Helens, $1,263 for Columbia City for a combined total of $2,534

Comment(s) on Wastewater System: Columbia City operates wastewater collection system and sends wastewater to the city of St. Helens for treatment.

Compliance Issues:

Date of Last Facility Plan: 1997

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion: Plan to upgrade and expand main sewer lift station.

Storm Drain: No    Storm Water Discharge Fee:
Fees or issues related to storm drains: Dry wells
Source: City Administration


Is there access to broadband

If yes, check all that apply:

Is there route diversity? No
AccessMonthly FeeOther Fee
T1 Yes varies by mileage varies
Cable No

For Oregon Telecommunications information and resources, visit

Natural Gas—Provider: Northwest Natural Gas
Lines and Feed: A range of sizes exists. Please contact Northwest Natural Gas at 503-226-4211 for more information.

Rate Structure: Residential rate is $.87016 per therm. Industrial and commercial rates vary. Please contact Northwest Natural Gas at 503-226-4211 for more information.

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion:

Electrical—Provider: Columbia River PUD
Lines and Feed:

Rate Structure Residential: $7.00/month + .055/kwh
Commercial: Small: $10.00/month + .0589/kwh
Large: $38.00/month + .0416/kwh + demand charge $4.40/kwh

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion: Continually upgrading to meet customers demands

No large plans for upgrade or expansion

Solid Waste Management: Hudson Garbage Service (division of Environmental Waste Systems, Inc.)

Permit Status:

Utility Expansion Plans:

Utilities Source: City Administration; PGE information supplied by PGE. Note: We update utility rates periodically. Actual rates may change more often than that. For the most current rate for any carrier please consult the Public Utilities Commission web site at Click on the Statistics 200x label (x being the most recent year).


Highways Hwy 30    Transportation Access Fee: $0

Community Air Service No
If no local service, list closest Air Facility
Air Passenger Service: No
Airport Freight Service: No
Portland International Airport, 30 miles
Air Service Comments:

Rail Service: Yes Portland and Western Railroad
Freight Service: Yes    Passenger Service: No
If no local service, list closest Rail Service: 30 miles in Portland Passenger service planned for Summer, 2004

Marine No

Transportation issues which might confront development, such as non-attainment air shed, etc.:

Public Transportation Comment: Columbia County Public Transportation services the area on a dial-a-ride basis

Bus Service Available in the Community: Yes Dial-A-Ride
Scheduled Bus Service Available: No    Buses Per Day: as needed
Local Charter Services: No 
Distance to Nearest Bus Service: Portland - 30 miles

Trucking Service
Scheduled Freight Carrier Services: Yes  Hall's LC Truck Line - in St. Helens services the area
Overnight Express Parcel Service Available: Yes US Postal Service, FedEX (St. Helens)
Overnight Express Mail Service Available: Yes
Transportation Comments: Street SDC $250 Access Permit Fee: $15

For more information relating to transportation topics please visit the Department of Transportation web site. Airports (maps and general information); Bicycle and Pedestrian Route information; Public Transportation, bus and rail

Source: City Administration, local chamber of commerce (proprietary information)