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Clatsop County, Oregon

Clatsop County, Oregon
Clatsop County Courthouse
Seal of Clatsop County, Oregon
Map of Oregon highlighting Clatsop County
Location in the state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded June 22, 1844
Seat Astoria
Largest city Astoria
 • Total 1,084 sq mi (2,808 km2)
 • Land 829 sq mi (2,147 km2)
 • Water 255 sq mi (660 km2), 24%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 37,474
 • Density 45/sq mi (17/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Website .us.or.clatsop.cowww

Clatsop County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,039.[1] The county seat is Astoria.[2] The county is named for the Clatsop tribe of Native Americans, who lived along the coast of the Pacific Ocean prior to European settlement.

Clatsop County comprises the Astoria, OR Micropolitan Statistical Area.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties 2.1
    • Major highways 2.2
    • National protected areas 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Economy 5
    • Tourism 5.1
  • Communities 6
    • Cities 6.1
    • Census-designated places 6.2
    • Unincorporated communities 6.3
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9


The Lewis and Clark Expedition stayed for the winter of 1805–6 in the area of the future county at Fort Clatsop. Astoria, Oregon's oldest settlement, was established as a fur trading post in 1811 and named after John Jacob Astor.

Clatsop County was created from the northern and western portions of the original Twality District on June 22, 1844. Until the creation of Vancouver District five days later, Clatsop County extended north across the Columbia into present-day Washington. The Provisional and Territorial Legislatures further altered Clatsop County's boundaries in 1845 and 1853.

Before 1850 most of Clatsop County's government activity occurred in Lexington, a community located where Warrenton is now. However, commercial and social activities came to center on Astoria as that city grew, and an election in 1854 chose Astoria to be the new county seat.

Fort Stevens, located near the peninsula formed by the south shore of the Columbia river and the Pacific Ocean, became the only continental US military installation attacked in World War II, when submarine I-25 of the Imperial Japanese Navy fired 17 rounds at the base June 21, 1942. The submarine escaped when the order was given not to return fire with the 10-inch (250 mm) shore guns. This was done to so that the base position was not given away. While the damage caused was slight (reportedly only a baseball backstop was damaged and a powerline severed), the presence of the enemy ship sowed panic along the Pacific coast of the United States.

In 1975, Clatsop County commissioners considered seceding from Oregon, and become a part of Washington.[3] The movement was based on disagreements residents of the county had with then–Oregon Governor Bob Straub.[4] The movement was created after Alumax Corporation changed their plans of building a plant in the county.[5] Some residents, including two county commissioners, blamed the Oregon Governor for the movement of the plant.[5] Then–Washington Governor Daniel J. Evans said the county was not welcome in the state of Washington.[4] Clatsop County commissioners later abandoned the idea.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,084 square miles (2,810 km2), of which 829 square miles (2,150 km2) is land and 255 square miles (660 km2) (24%) is water.[6] The highest point is Saddle Mountain at 3,283 feet (1,001 m), part of the Northern Oregon Coast Range.[7]

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected areas


As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 35,630 people, 14,703 households, and 9,454 families residing in the county. The population density was 43 people per square mile (17/km²). There were 19,685 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.14% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 1.03% Native American, 1.21% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 1.64% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. 4.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.3% were of German, 10.8% English, 10.4% Irish, 9.3% American and 6.5% Norwegian ancestry.

There were 14,703 households out of which 28.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.60% were married couples living together, 9.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.70% were non-families. 29.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.70% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 26.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 97.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,301, and the median income for a family was $44,575. Males had a median income of $32,153 versus $22,479 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,515. About 9.10% of families and 13.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.80% of those under age 18 and 8.00% of those age 65 or over.


Although once Republican, in the last seven decades the county has generally been carried by the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections. The exception to this is Dwight D. Eisenhower who won the county twice.[14] In gubernatorial elections the county has been won by the Democratic Party candidate since, at least, 1990.[15]

Clatsop County is located in Oregon's 1st congressional district, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+8 and is represented by Suzanne Bonamici. In the Oregon State Senate it is represented by Democrat Betsy Johnson. In the Oregon House of Representatives it is represented by Democrats Brad Witt and Deborah Boone.


The principal industries of Clatsop County are manufacturing, travel (primarily tourism), and trade.[16][17] Fishing and timber are still important but contribute proportionally less to the county's employment and income than they used to. The county's average nonfarm employment was 17,480 in 2007. About 30% of the lands within the county boundaries belong to the state of Oregon, as part of the state forests. The Port of Astoria was created in 1914 to support trade and commerce.


Astoria, Oregon, the county seat, has multiple tourist attractions including the Astoria Riverfront Trolley, Fort Clatsop, the Uppertown Firefighters Museum, and Columbia River Maritime Museum.[18] Seaside, Oregon, noted as Oregon’s oldest ocean resort community,[19] also has multiple tourist attractions including, the Seaside Aquarium, and the Seaside Historical Society Museum. Tourism is noted as one of the major forces in Clatsop County's economy.[19]



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Clatsop County changes plans". Associated Press. Ellensburg Daily Record. March 23, 1975. Retrieved March 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "'"Clatson 'not welcome. Associated Press. Tri City Herald. March 23, 1975. Retrieved March 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "They want out". Ellensburg Daily Record. March 18, 1975. Retrieved March 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Saddle Mountain, Oregon". 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  14. ^ Geographie Electorale
  15. ^ David Leip's US Election Atlas (Gubernatorial election maps for Oregon)
  16. ^ Oregon Labor Market Information System
  17. ^ Bureau of Economic Analysis
  18. ^ "Astoria Travel Guide". WorldWeb. Retrieved March 21, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "About Clatsop County". Retrieved March 21, 2010. 

Further reading

  • Emma Gene Miller, Clatsop County, Oregon: Its History, Legends and Industries. Portland, OR: Binfords & Mort, 1958.

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