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How to make sense of Columbia County street addresses!

Those who are new to Columbia County may be confused by the way addresses are numbered. Here are the general rules:

Unincorporated areas of Columbia County

  • All roads are loosely classified as south-north roads or west-east roads. Of course, most roads in Columbia County never go all the way straight because of the terrains, but in general, all streets are divided into these two groups.
  • West-east roads are numbered from the western end of Columbia County that borders Clatsop County. The house numbering on these roads starts with 10000 and goes higher as you go eastward.
  • South-north roads are numbered from the southern end of Columbia County that borders Multnomah County. The number starts with 50000 and goes higher as you go northward.
  • In other words, west-east roads have a house number range of 10000-49999, and south-north roads have a house number range of 50000-99999. This way, the county avoids confusion (almost all country roads are called "Road" or "Drive" regardless of directions, whereas most big cities often distinguish their streets by calling them "Avenue" or "Street" depending on their orientations. (Why is there no 0000-9999? Because the incorporated cities may have numbers in that range.)
  • This means, in all unincorporated parts of Columbia County except for northern Sauvie Island, standard addresses look like this: 12345 Foobar Road. If you see any address that has a house number under 9999, it must be within an incorporated city, namely, St. Helens, Columbia City, Rainier, Clatskanie, or Vernonia. (Scappoose and Prescott addresses always have 5-digit house numbers, see below.) On Sauvie Island, the addresses look like this, following the Portland-centric system: 27662 NW Sauvie Island Road.
  • The only exception is the Columbia County segment of Sauvie Island, which uses the Portland-based numbering system together with the rest of the island, which is in Multnomah County.
  • Incorporated cities may have their own numbering system in parts or whole of their cities. This is where sometimes it gets confusing. For example, houses on Sykes Road are numbered from east to west starting at Highway 30 (2500 blk Sykes Road) up to the intersection with Columbia Boulevard (2700 blk Sykes Road); then suddenly number goes up across the street to 35300 blk Sykes Road, from hence the number goes down as you drive westward (even though the City of St. Helens does not end at Columbia Boulevard).
  • Even numbers: south side of west-east roads, and east side of south-north roads.
  • Odd numbers: north side of west-east roads, and west side of south-north roads.

City of Scappoose

  • Scappoose has its own street name system, but house numbers follow the Columbia County numbering convention.

City of St. Helens

  • In downtown St. Helens and parts of West St. Helens, house numbers are based on downtown St. Helens centered on the intersection of Columbia Boulevard at 1st Street. Like most cities, each block is 100, so 1111 Columbia Blvd. means 11th block west of 1st Street, and 150 N. 8th St. means eight blocks west of 1st Street, on the first block north of Columbia Boulevard. A small neighborhood north of the botanical garden (on Madrona Court and Belton Road) has its own house numbering system, however.

City of Columbia City

  • South-north streets have numbers ranging from 1200 (at the southern end of the city) to 3600 (at the northern end of the city). Each block is 100.
  • East-west streets have numbers ranging from 1 to 700, with numbers increasing as you go west.
  • South-north streets are mostly numbered, with 1st St being near the river and 7th St being toward the western edge of the city. The waterfront street is called "The Strand," which is one block east of 1st Street.
  • East-west streets are alphabetical, from A Street to M Street, north to south. Streets north of A Street have names, such as Calvin Street and Pacific Street.

City of Prescott

  • Follows the county system.

City of Rainier

  • Rainier has its own street and house numbering system.
  • 1st Street (north-south) divides the city into West and East.
  • The East and West designators are used on both north-south and east-west streets.
  • Numbers go up from north to south, and for east-south streets, as you go farther away from 1st Street. Each block is 100.
  • East-west streets are alphabetical, with A Street is the northern end (and closest to the river).
  • Even numbers on west side of north-south streets, odd numbers on east side of north-south streets.
  • Odd numbers on north side of east-west streets, even numbers on south side of east-west streets.

City of Clatskanie

  • Loosely speaking (there are some exceptions), the street addresses in Clatskanie are centered at the intersection of Nehalem Street (north-south) and Columbia River Highway (east-west). These two streets divide the city into Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. "Loosely," because neither Nehalem nor Columbia River Highway actually runs straight.
  • House numbers increase as you go farther away from the intersection of Nehalem Street and Columbia River Highway.

City of Vernonia

  • Vernonia has its own street and house numbering system.
  • On north-south streets, house numbers go up from the southern end of the city (400 blk) upwards to 2300 blk.
  • On east-west streets, California Avenue divides the city into two sections. West of California Avenue, house numbers begin with 100 blk and increase as you go westward, 100 per block (more or less). East of California Avenue, streets are labeled as "East" and numbers increase as you go east.

Name of the city in one's mailing address does not really mean they are in that city.

As with the rest of the United States, the "city" name that appears on mailing addresses is not always the same as the actual political boundaries and jurisdictions. If an address says "Scappoose, OR" it only means that this address is served by the Scappoose Post Office, nothing more. The majority of Columbia County addresses are outside any incorporated city, and many unincorporated areas also have their own post offices, such as "Warren, OR."

The northern Sauvie Island is the only part of Columbia County that has "Portland, OR" mailing addresses, as Sauvie Island (both Columbia and Multnomah counties) is served by the post office in St. Johns, North Portland.

Conversely, some parts of Multnomah County north of Burlington and Holbrook have "Scappoose, OR" addresses, however, the street names and house numbers are based on Portland. This creates an odd situation whereas "27500 NW St. Helens Rd., Scappoose, OR" (Multnomah County) is one block away from "50000 Lower Columbia River Hwy., Scappoose, OR." (Columbia County) Watson Road, which is the county line, also has this idiosyncracy: on south side of the street, it is something like "19230 NW Watson Rd, Scappoose, OR" (Multnomah County) but across the street, it is "33541 Watson Rd., Scappoose, OR" (Columbia County).

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Page last modified on March 26, 2018, at 06:11 AM