St. Helens Community Profile

PO Box 278, St. Helens, OR 97051
Phone 503-397-6272 • Fax 503-397-4016
Web Page • E-Mail:

City Location

County(ies): Columbia    Incorporated in 1889
Location: Northwest Oregon along the Columbia River
Nearest Major Highway and Distance: Hwy 30 | Local
Nearest Major City and Distance:
Portland | 27 miles, Estimated Drive Time: 35 minutes
Distance to Portland: 27 miles

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

Recreational Amenities

Sand Island, J.J. Collins Marine Park, 4th of July celebrations, Columbia County Fair & Rodeo, Christmas Ships, swimming pool, RiverFest, Craft Fair, Local Parks, Columbia County Historical Museum, golf course

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: 100'      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 St. Helens7,535 10,019 11,795 11,940
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 years576 662 659 861

5-19 years1,693 1,628 1,671 2,413

20-44 years1,840 2,510 2,961 3,823

45-64 years1,309 1,230 1,166 1,960

65+ years794 1,004 1,078 962

Median Age29 30 32 31.8

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 St. Helens1,826 2,604 3,081 4,109 $124,700
Columbia County 7,880 12,264 14,576 17,572 $150,700

City of St. Helens 2000 Housing Breakout:Also visit Housing and
Community Services Web Site:
Vacancy Rate:7.5%
Median Owner Cost
Owner Occupied:182

Renter Occupied:83
Median Gross Rent:$577

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: 12
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.—Paper Products 600

Armstrong World Industries—Ceiling Tiles 190

Wal-Mart—Retail 180

Safeway—Retail 142

Freisen Lumber Co—Lumber 120

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 St. Helens— 503-397-6272

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

Columbia County Economic Development— 503-397-1035

Port of St. Helens— 503-397-2888

Columbia Pacific Economic Development District 503-397-3099

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: 4   Savings and Loans: 0   Credit Unions: 1

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. . . . $7.28

Average City Rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . . $1.91

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: St. Helens RFPD, 4 stations
Number of paid and volunteer firefighters: 110
Rating by Insurance Services Organization (ISO): 4*
Comments: *ISO rating unreported in directory-last reported numbers
Number of firefighters reported by department, 2002

Police Department: St. Helens Police Department
Number of paid and reserve officers: 22

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): 2

Source: City Administration

Communications Resources

Local Newspapers: St. Helens Chronicle and South County Spotlight

Regional Newspapers: Oregonian (Portland)

Radio Stations: 1 local station (KOHI) - get service from Portland

TV Stations: 1 local cable station, City receives 7 Portland-area stations

Available Cable Television: TCI Cable

Telephone Service Provider(s): Qwest

Local Internet Service Provider(s): Yes
Number of Internet Service Providers: 3
Source: City Administration

Library System
St. Helens City Library

Source: City Administration

Planning Service/Regulatory

Regulatory SystemYear AcknowledgedYear Last
Year of Periodic ReviewComments
Comprehensive Plan1984 1991 2002
Zoning Ordinance

Building Permit System

Subdivision Ordinance

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.P.D.; 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 St. Helens
District: N/A
Source: Ground Water Surface Water; 3 Ranney Collectors, 1 deep well in basalt aquifer
Supply: Capacity (MGD)–5.30; Pressure (PSI)–20.00

Current Water Utilization on Meter Size (MGD): 4.50 MGD
Water Costs per thousand gallons: Base rate per/thousand = $1.53
Water Costs for Total Consumption of Residential: Based on 7,000 gallons =$10.71

Age of Water System: 1946

Water System Comment(s): System Development Charges: $2,530 Parks: $814.00 Streets: $3,081.54

Compliance Issues:

Water debt repayment included as part of tax assessment? Data unavailable at this time.

Date of Current Master Plan:

Plans for Upgrading or Expanding:
Source: City Administration

Wastewater Treatment System

Operator: City of St. Helens          Age of Wastewater Collection System:
District: N/A

System Design Capacity (MGD): 30.00 MGD     System Utilization (MGD): 6.00 MGD
Collection System Fees: 33.961- every 2 months    Hook-up or Connection Fee: $1,271
Access Fee or System Development Fee:

Comment(s) on Wastewater System:

Compliance Issues:

Date of Last Facility Plan:

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion:

Storm Drain: Yes    Storm Water Discharge Fee:
Fees or issues related to storm drains: $230/1,000 sq ft impervious surface
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 Peoples Utility District
Lines and Feed:

Rate Structure Residential: $7.00 per month + $.055 per kwh

Small: $10.00 per month + $.0589 per kwh
Large: $38.00 per month + $.0416 per kwh + demand charge of $4.40 per kwh

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

No large projects planned

Solid Waste Management: City of St. Helens

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 N/S route, local access   Transportation Access Fee: $60

Community Air Service No
If no local service, list closest Air Facility
Air Passenger Service: No
Airport Freight Service: No
Scappoose Airpark, 8 miles Portland International Airport, 45 miles
Air Service Comments:

Rail Service: Yes Portland and Western
Freight Service: Yes    Passenger Service: No
If no local service, list closest Rail Service: Portland

Marine Yes
Description: Port of St. Helens
Docks, Port Facilities:
Plans for Upgrade/Expansion:

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

Public Transportation Comment: COLCO Transportation and taxi service availabe

Bus Service Available in the Community: Yes Columbia County Public Transportation (ColCO) provides service around St. Helens and into Portland
Scheduled Bus Service Available: Yes    Buses Per Day: 6
Local Charter Services: No 
Distance to Nearest Bus Service: Portland - 30 miles

Trucking Service
Scheduled Freight Carrier Services: Yes  Hall's LC Truck Line
Overnight Express Parcel Service Available: Yes UPS and FedEX overnight services
Overnight Express Mail Service Available: Yes
Transportation Comments:

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)