Whatever you make, whoever you serve, you’re better off doing that here.

At Columbia Economic Team we like to say that Columbia County is the ideal place to be and CET is the ideal place to start in order to make that happen.

Nestled between the coast and the state’s urban center, we’re the most under-discovered asset for locating a business, right in Portland’s backyard, but a world away.

The ideal place to live, work and thrive.

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Why is this the place to be…

... for your business

Columbia County is uniquely positioned in close proximity to the Portland Metro Area and yet we are semi-rural, with the largest tracts of buildable greenfield and brownfield re-developable land in the region, with quick and easy access to air, rail, and maritime port facilities. We have a “work” mentality and the existing workforce, training, and livability for new employees that’s essential for your business investment here. And don’t forget, our desire to have you here, which drives our initiative and innovation to get that done.

... for your employees

With a cost of living advantage over the urban center, exceptional local schools, and all the feel of the small town, this is the ideal place for your employees to live, work, and thrive. Your employees will want to live here… or already do. This county can offer a unique quality of life.

... for your employees and you

The Northwest Oregon Workforce (NOW) can provide Workforce Recruitment and Training Assistance; NW Oregon Works is extremely active in Columbia County. WorkSource Oregon partners can provide businesses with workforce screening, recruitment, training assistance, and labor market information about the local area. Businesses may schedule to use the local WorkSource Oregon facility to hold hiring events, screen, or interview candidates at no charge.  As funding is available, businesses may be eligible to receive funding of up to $3,500 toward the cost of on-the-job training for each eligible applicant.  These applicants must be pre-screened prior to hiring.  In addition, if you are interested in incorporating a registered manufacturing apprenticeship program, you may be eligible for up to $10,000 per apprentice to cover the costs of the required classroom training component.  And there are also tax credit incentives for hiring targeted populations.

Additionally, with the nearby Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center R&D (OMIC R&D), and the adjacent Portland Community College (PCC) Workforce Training Center advanced manufacturing apprenticeships and training are magnets for cultivating and placing highly qualified, well-trained workers, and even customizing company-specific programs.

How does CET partner with you?

We are your local connector, guiding the process from initial inquiry to opening the doors. We like where we live and work; it’s a good place with good people and considerable advantages. Our mission, our purpose, is to make the complex process more simple, more welcoming, and ultimately more successful.

Our everyday job is to develop options and ideas, maintain strong relationships, resolve issues and solve problems, and be your concierge to your commitment to locating here.

Columbia County cities, from south to north.

Scappoose has ample land zone to heavy industrial, and is home to the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) OMIC and Portland Community College Workforce Training Center.  PCC Training Center | OMIC – Oregon Manufacturing Innovation. The City of Scappoose has an Urban Renewal District to facilitate community development.

St. Helens, our largest city and the County seat, is historically a manufacturing community with a strong small business base and a downtown nestled riverside on the Columbia. There are many manufacturers here and former industrial properties ready to move in, or re-develop. The City of St. Helens is in the South Columbia County Enterprise Zone and is designated New Market Tax Credits eligible community.

Vernonia, inland and in the foothills of the Coast Range, is a mill town centered amidst the best outdoor recreation in the state, and an ideal place for rural living and small business innovation.

Columbia City borders St. Helens, and is largely a residential community with a small, small business base, some industrial neighbors, headquarters of the Port of Columbia County, and significant parcels of greenfield and re-developable industrial land.

Rainier is a small town with downtown flavor, on highway, rail and interstate connections, home to heavy industry and diversified small businesses alike, Rainier also has an Urban Renewal District to facilitate community development, is also within the Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone  and is designated New Market Tax Credit eligible community.

Clatskanie, our city furthest north on the way to the Oregon Coast, enjoys a strong small business base mixed with heavy industry, power generation, and maritime commerce at Port Westward. The Columbia County Board of Commissioners oversees the Columbia County Development Agency (CCDA), formed in 2001 as the County’s urban renewal agency. CCDA’s primary activity is managing the Port Westward Urban Renewal District Plan. Clatskanie is also within the Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone and is also a designated New Market Tax Credit eligible community.


Oregon Investment Incentive Overview

Oregon offers competitive incentives for businesses expanding in our state.

Enterprise Zones

Columbia County has the advantage of two Enterprise Zones, The South Columbia County Enterprise Zone and the Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone. CET is the manager of both.

The South Columbia County Enterprise Zone includes perhaps the largest collection of available, buildable industrial land in the Portland region, and encompasses parts of St. Helens, Scappoose, and even extends inland to Vernonia, plus unincorporated land in between.

The Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone is an advantage for businesses investing in heavy manufacturing and traded sector production, often associated with the Port’s industrial development at Port Westward. This zone includes Rainier, Clatskanie, Port Westward and unincorporated land.

Opportunity Zone

The recently passed Tax Reform Act included a potential tax break for investors. Through this program, an investor may defer capital gains taxes on the sale of any asset by investing those gains through a Qualified Opportunity Fund. These original taxes can potentially be deferred until 2026, or upon the sale of the new investment (whichever is earlier). Alongside the deferral, this original capital gains tax is reduced by up to 15% over time. In addition to those benefits, when held long enough, appreciation from the new investment can be realized tax free.

New Markets Tax Credits

The New Markets Tax Credit program is a Federal effort to stimulate investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities that lack access to the patient capital needed to support and grow businesses, create jobs, and sustain healthy local economies. The NMTC program attracts capital to low-income communities by providing private investors with a federal tax credit for investments made in businesses or economic development projects located in some of the most distressed communities in the nation – census tracts where the individual poverty rate is at least 20 percent or where median family income does not exceed 80 percent of the area median. For qualifying communities in Columbia County, please contact CET.

Finally, and it bears repeating:

  • Oregon has no sales tax.
  • Oregon has no tax on equipment other than purchases.
  • Oregon has no inventory tax.
  • Oregon has no motor vehicle excise tax.

Key Contacts

Property Locator

Featured Property

Columbia Commerce Center

Up to 250 AC of fully serviced industrial land within 30 minutes of downtown Portland. This property provides a unique opportunity for fee ownership of fully serviced entitled industrial zoned real estate including taxiways for airport runway access if so desired. Scappoose Industrial Airpark is a “General Aviation” rated airport appropriate for corporate aircraft.

Transportation, commercial, and business assets closeby, without being a suburb.