Columbia County

Columbia County

Columbia County 1854  *Named for Columbia River *687 square miles *County seat: St. Helens

Oregon-American Lumber Company
by Edward Kamholz

O-A Lumber

The Oregon-American Lumber Company (1917-1934) and its successors—the Oregon-American Lumber Corporation (1934-1953), the Long-Bell Lumber Company (1953-1956), and the International Lumber Company (1956-1957)—operated from the Nehalem Valley town of Vernonia. The company logged approximately 2.5 billion board-feet of timber from its 30,000-acre holdings in Columbia, Clatsop, and Tillamook counties.

Trojan Nuclear Power Plant
by Craig Wollner

The Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, located in Columbia County about twelve miles north of St. Helens, began generating power in March 1976. It shut down in January 1993. The saga of Oregon’s only nuclear-generating plant, however, played out over a period longer than the seventeen years it was in operation. 

Winship Settlement
by E.W. Giesecke

The first house on the Northwest Coast that was intended to be permanent was built on the south shore of the Columbia River in June 1810. Nathan Winship of Boston warped his ship, the Albatross, forty miles up the river to Oak Point, a few miles northeast of present-day Clatskanie. Seeing the flat land among the oaks, he set his crew to building a log house. 

Simon Benson (1851-1942)
by Carl Abbott

Simon Benson gave his name to a Portland high school, a Portland hotel, and twenty brass water fountains in Portland's downtown. A classic American success story in the wide-open economy of the early Northwest, he had a significant impact as an innovative timberman and philanthropist.

by Kaitlyn Kohlenberg

Vernonia lies in the upper Nehalem Valley of northwestern Oregon. With roughly 2,300 people, the town occupies about 1.5 square miles of land bisected by the Nehalem River. In 1874, Clark Parker settled in the area, followed by the Van Blaricom family in 1875. A year later, Ozias Cherrington joined them with his cousin Judson Weed and suggested that they name the town Vernona after his eight-year-old daughter, who was in Ohio. His fellow settlers agreed, but an error during incorporation led to the insertion of an extra letter, making it Vernonia.

Anti-Nuclear Movement
by Daniel Pope

anti-nuclear movement

Anti-nuclear activism in Oregon paralleled the national movement against nuclear power in the late-1960s. Several factors, however, made the opposition to nuclear power in Oregon distinctive. One was the state's tradition of direct democracy, the use of initiatives to enact legislation by popular vote.

Oregon Steam Navigation Company
by William L. Lang

Among early business enterprises in Oregon, the Oregon Steam Navigation Company (OSN) stands out as uncommon on two counts. Quite against the dominant trend in the Pacific Northwest, OSN was funded by local investors who were determined to keep Portland’s interests uppermost. In addition, OSN effectively operated for two decades with a near monopoly over steam-powered water transportation on the Columbia River, from the lower river to interior locations as far from Portland as present-day Lewiston and Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. OSN was extremely unpopular because of its tough-minded business practices and its stranglehold on shipping.



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