The river system provides a 465-mile river highway, with 36 deep water and inland ports. There are six deepwater ports downriver from Vancouver USA including the ports of St Helens, Woodland, Kalama, Longview, Astoria and Ilwaco.
There are no dams between Vancouver and the Ocean, but four upstream between Vancouver and Richland, including Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day and McNary. The dams and locks make navigation possible. Full grain barges and empty oil and gas barges…with yellow smiley faces…head downstream (and visa versa).
- Portland, Oregon
- St. Helens, Oregon
- Columbia City, Oregon
- Goble, Oregon
- Prescott, Oregon
- Rainier, Oregon
- Longview, Washington
- Cathlamet, Washington
- Astoria, Oregon
is the largest city in Oregon and a major port, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. The city covers 145 square miles and had an estimated population of 639,863 in 2016, making it the 26th most populous city in the United States. Here are 35 Portland tourist attractions and 17 Things To Do in the Portland Area For Less Than $10 (or Free).
RiverPlace in Downtown Portland, is along the Willamette River and the Marquam Bridge (which carries I-5) to the south. The Portland Streetcar and MAX Yellow/Orange Light Rail run through the area which includes a floating restaurant, marina and boutique shops.
A photography exhibit “Made in Chinatown USA: Portland” at the new Portland Chinatown Museum, reveals many interesting stories.
(pop. 12,883) was named for its view of Mount St. Helens some 39 miles away. The Port of St. Helens operates 9 different property sites including the Scappoose Industrial Airpark and the Scappoose Bay Marine Park. The Chronicle is a weekly newspaper.
(pop. 1,946) is a suburb of St. Helens. During World War I the Sommarstrom Brothers built a shipyard with four bays and built ships for the WW II effort.
Named after the nearby Kalama River and first settled by members of the Cowlitz Indian Tribes. The city began in 1870 when the Northern Pacific railroad built a dock, a sawmill, a car shop, a roundhouse, a turntable, hotels, a hospital, stores and homes. In 1884, a 3 track railroad ferry begin 25 years of ferry service across the Columbia River. Craft brewery Pyramid Breweries was founded in Kalama in 1984. The Port of Kalama employs over 830 people.
was first settled by Daniel B. Goble in 1853 and was the train ferry landing on the Oregon side. In the 1890s, Goble was a boomtown, supported by logging, the wood-fired Columbia River steamboats that stopped there for refueling, and as many as six trains that stopped in the community daily on the way to Seattle.
(pop. 55), was named in 1905 for the owner of the local sawmill. The Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, whose cooling tower was imploded in May 2006, was located less than a mile from Prescott. Prescott Beach hosts one of the Columbia River’s finest fishing and windsurfing sites.
(pop. 1,895), is on the south bank of the Columbia River across from Kelso and Longview, Washington. The Lewis and Clark Bridge spans the Columbia, linking Rainier to Longview, Washington. It is the only bridge that spans the entire river, between Portland and Astoria and is 8,288 ft. long with 210 ft. of vertical clearance. . The Teevin Bros Terminal, a barge terminal, is “the largest shipper on the Portland & Western line between Eugene and Astoria.
Historically, Rainier has been the site of several sawmills, and has served as ‘home port’ for a variety of Tugboat operators such as Foss Maritime, founded in 1889 by Thea Foss (1857–1927) the inspiration for Tugboat Annie. Rainier’s Riverfront Park was built on the dredge spoils from the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.
The largest city in Cowlitz County, Washington, Longview (pop. 36,648), is opposite Rainier, Oregon, and at the junction of the Cowlitz and Columbia rivers. Longview shares a border with Kelso to the east, which is the county seat.
The abundance of timber around Longview provides the city’s largest employers, Weyerhaeuser and NORPAC (newsprint), Solvay Chemicals (hydrogen peroxide), and PPG Industries. The Port of Longview, 66 miles from the Pacific Ocean, has 8 marine terminals and runs 835 acres including Willow Grove Park along the river.
(pop. 532) is the county seat of Wahkiakum County, Washington. Cathlamet was one of the largest villages of Columbia River Indians and the home of the Kathlamet people. Cathlamet is connected across the Columbia River to Westport, Oregon via the county-operated Wahkiakum County Ferry.
(pop. 9,813) is the seat of Clatsop County, Oregon, and near the mouth of the Columbia River. The city was named after John Jacob Astor, whose American Fur Company founded Fort Astoria in 1811. The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805–06 at Fort Clatsop.
The Port of Astoria runs the Astoria Regional Airport while the 4.1-mile Astoria–Megler Bridge connects to neighboring Washington across the river. In 1945, about 30 canneries could be found along the Columbia; however, in 1974, the Bumblebee Seafood corporation moved its headquarters out of Astoria and closed its last Astoria cannery in 1980.
The Astoria River Walk and Astoria Trolley connects to the Columbia River Maritime Museum has maritime artifacts from the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest. Three United States Coast Guard cutters: the Steadfast, Alert, and Fir, call the port of Astoria home. It’s a port of call for cruise ships and a deep water port that can acccommodate the industries largest vessels. The Daily Astorian is the main newspaper serving Astoria.