About Clatsop County

About Clatsop County

Clatsop County is located on the northwest corner of Oregon on the rugged and beautiful coast, bounded on the north by the Columbia River and the west by the Pacific Ocean. Named for the Clatsop Indians, Clatsop County is rich in history, scenery and opportunity.

Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1805-06 here before starting its journey back East. Today Clatsop County is a major recreation center with ocean beaches, dense forests, mountains, rivers and streams. Miles of broad beaches offer beachcombing, digging for razor clams and quiet walks. State parks and waysides provide miles of hiking and bicycle trails, wildlife viewing, ocean views, picnic sites and overnight campgrounds. Lakes and rivers offer water-skiing, canoeing, boating, sailing and fishing. For golfers, there are four challenging courses.

Clatsop County's population is 37,039 (2010 U.S. Census). The county seat, Astoria, is Oregon's oldest city and the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies and is within two hours drive of Portland.

The area has a coastal marine climate of moderate temperatures and frequent rains. The primary industries of Clatsop County are forestry, fisheries and tourist/recreation. The area is one of the principal marine fisheries regions of Oregon.

Clatsop County has excellent schools, well-supported school districts and a community college.

Population: 37,039. More information about demographics is available from the Population Research Center at Portland State University or the U.S. Census Bureau .

Area: 1,085 square miles. 873 square miles of land; 212 square miles of water. Bordered on the north by the Columbia River, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and with the verdant Oregon Coast range.

Established: June 22, 1844 from the original Tuality district.

County Seat: Astoria, Oregon's oldest city and the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. Astoria was established as a fur trading post in 1811 by a party commissioned by John Jacob Astor. The first U.S. Post Office west of the Rockies was established here in 1847.

Other Municipalities:

Seaside is Oregon’s oldest ocean resort community. Seaside was founded by Ben Holladay, a pioneer Oregon railroad builder, in the early 1870s when he constructed the Seaside House, a famous luxury hotel for which the city was named.

Cannon Beach, an art community overlooking Haystack Rock in the Pacific, is named for a cannon that washed ashore many years ago.

Gearhart is a quiet coastal town.

Warrenton, named for pioneer lumberman D.K. Warren, is the gateway to fishing on the rivers and ocean.

Climate: Annual Precipitation: 70 inches. Average temperature: January 41.9 degrees; July 60.1 degrees

Principal Industries: Tourism, Fishing, Forest Products

Points of Interest: Astoria Column, Port of Astoria, Flavel House, Liberty Theatre, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Fort Stevens State Park, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Sitka spruce Heritage Tree, Tillamook Head, Ecola State Park, Jewell elk refuge, Youngs River Falls, Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, rivers, forests, beaches

History: Based on the Oregon State Archives

Before 1850 most of Clatsop County's government activity occurred in Lexington. As Astoria grew, activities gradually shifted to that city. Astoria was chosen by electors to be the county seat in 1854 and the first county government sat in Astoria in 1856.

The early sessions of the county court prior to 1855 were held in the homes of county officials and private citizens, first in Lexington and later in Astoria. In 1855 a two-story frame courthouse was completed. The second courthouse was completed in 1908 and is still in use.

The first county government was organized in the mid-1840s with the election of justices of the peace, clerk, sheriff, assessor, and treasurer, and the formation of district courts and the county board of commissioners. In 1964 the county court was replaced by a board of commissioners. The voters of Clatsop County approved a home rule charter in 1988 that called for a board of county commissioners as the policy-determining body of the county and a county administrator to oversee daily operations of the government. The county government currently consists of five commissioners, each elected from one of five geographic districts, and a county administrator and nine departments.

Today, Clatsop County voters elect five commissioners, a district attorney and the sheriff.