Surrounded by the forested foothills of Northwest Oregon's coastal mountain range, the town of Clatskanie is located in the verdant valley where the Clatskanie River flows out of the mountains and into the wide plain of the Columbia River. First settled by pioneers of European descent in the 1850's, that were drawn here by the towering forests, the fish-filled streams, and the fertile farm land. A century and a half later, it remains a close-knit, friendly community, rooted in its natural resources, but with the promise of new job-creating industries at the nearby Port Westward industrial park. While looking forward to a ber economy and modest growth in the years to come, the citizens of Clatskanie share of b sense of tradition - multi-generational families, locally-owned small businesses, the preservation and restoration of the town's historic flavor, community spirit and volunteerism.
Many of Clatskanie's amenities - its library and related facilities, its swimming pool, ball fields and skate park, its veterans memorial, historical museum, the Clatskanie Arts Commission Performing Arts Series, the annual Clatskanie Heritage Days and Bluegrass, Quilt Show and Lavender celebrations - have been created and sustained through volunteer efforts and partnerships of local individuals, organizations, businesses and governmental entities working together to enhance of life of the community.
Clatskanie boasts many vintage buildings and homes, as well as newer additions such as the Clatskanie Library, built with volunteer funds and labor in the mid-1980s.
As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 1,528.
On the Lewis and Clark journey maps, Crims Island is shown as a single island and called Fannys Island, while the large elegant bottom on the South side is part of the Clatskanie River/Beaver Slough/Westport Slough flood plain. It is shown on one map as Fannys Valley while another map leaves the island and the bottom unnamed. In their text, Lewis and Clark call this area Fannys Bottom .
According to some reports, the original name of this town when it was platted in 1884 was Bryantville. However, the post office in this location is shown as Clatskanie as early as December, 1871.
Clatskanie was named after the Tlatskanai tribe of American Indian, who lived in the hills south of the Clatskanie River in the upper Nehalem Valley. The Tlatskanai, linguistically an Athapascan tribe, originally lived in the flat lands bordering the Chehalis River in Washington State. As game became scarce and their food supply diminished, they left the area, heading south, and crossed the Columbia River to occupy the hills traditionally occupied by the Chinook Indians, who were a large Indian tribe living along the Oregon Coast. After driving away the more peaceful Chinook Indians, the Tlatskanai established themselves within the Clatskanie-Westport area, and extended their numbers into the head of the Nehalem. Tlatskani was a point in the Nehalem River that was reached from the Columbia River by way of the Young's River or by way of the Clatskanie River. The native inhabitants applied the word Tlatskani to the streams they would follow in order to get to that point, and not the streams themselves, for they were not in the habit of naming the streams. White men carelessly applied this work to the name of the steam. One source lists "Tlatskanai" as meaning "swift running water." The Clatskanie is indeed a swift beautiful steam. Other names that existed for the Tlatskanai were the Clackstar, Klatskanai and Klaatshan, among others.
The Clatskanie Indians numbers dwindled from smallpox, intermittent fever, warfare, and intermarriage until they numbered only 3 people in a 1910 poll.
Many of Clatskanie's inhabitants are of Scandinavian heritage, specifically Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian.
Clatskanie City Park: Includes a swimming pool, well lit sport playing field, playgrounds, horse arena, picnic tables, barbecue facility, boat ramp, camping, canoeing and paddle boating and restrooms.
Beaver Boat ramp and Park: Includes boarding floats, restrooms and barbecue grills.
Big Eddy Park:Has large fir trees and open grassy play areas. Activities are fishing, canoeing and a boat launch.
Scaponia Park:This charming, primitive wayside recreational area features a 7 acre nature park.
Mayger Beach: Located near Mayger and used for fishing, swimming and beach activities.
Jones Beach: Includes windsurfing, fishing and recreational use area.
Hudson-Parcher Park: Popular with family groups, sports groups and others looking for peaceful Forest and field campsites. This park offers easy access to fishing, boating and windsurfing in the nearby Columbia River.
Laurel Beach: A day use facility with access to one of the Columbia Rivers many fishing spots and outstanding bird viewing.
Prescott Beach: Hosts one of the Columbia River finest fishing and windsurfing sites. The Park includes a covered picnic shelter, playground, gazebo, horseshoe pit and sand volleyball courts.
Clatskanie is located in the center of sportsman's paradise. Deer, elk and game abounds. There is a long tradition of salmon, steelhead and sturgeon fishing in the river nearby. Trout fishing is also popular in many of the streams in the area. Pan fish are found in large numbers in the warm tidewaters of the dikelands.
The Ocean beaches and mountain ski slopes are only a little over an hours drive away. Boating and windsurfing are popular sports on the Columbia River. Other activities that Clatskanie Promotes are walking, hiking, bike riding and visiting the local areas of interest.
Columbia River Heritage Canoe Trail ~ Fossil Hunting on Clatskanie River and Conyers Creek ~ Scout Lake ~ Greek Beach ~ Historical Museum
The flippin House - known locally as The Castle.
Carcass Creek Falls: A waterfall from a high basalt shelf. There is no public access road so you have to hike in.
Fox Creek Trail: Includes natural, scenic nature trails excellent for hiking.
Westport Ferry: Operated by Washington State Ferry System, it runs hourly from 7AM to midnight.
Westport Historic Tunnels: Was hewn through a rock ridge to enable pioneers to transport logs and other materials to the river side of the mountain. An Oregonian Historical Marker tells the story.
Bradley wayside and viewpoint: The Hiking Trails offer a birds-eye view of the Wauna paper mill, the Columbia River Islands and the Washington State shore of the Columbia River.