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Scappoose grows, St. Helens shrinks

Columbia County's largest cities trending in opposite directions


The population of Scappoose and St. Helens, Columbia County’s largest cities, are trending in different directions, numbers released Tuesday, Nov. 19, by the Population Research Center at Portland State University suggest.

While neither saw dramatic changes in their population, Scappoose added 15 people for a population increase of about 0.2 percent over the span of a year, according to the preliminary estimates for July 1, 2013, while St. Helens lost 0.2 percent of its population, a 25-person decline.

The new population estimate for Scappoose is 6,700, while St. Helens has an estimated population of 12,895.

Population changes in other incorporated places in Columbia County from the 2012 certified estimates were minimal — the addition or subtraction of five people or fewer — except for Vernonia, which shed an estimated 15 people for a population of about 2,065.

Meanwhile, Columbia County’s population also grew by a small amount, but its growth rate lagged the state as a whole.

The county’s population grew by almost 200 people over the past year, but that 0.3 percent population growth is beneath the 0.9 percent growth statewide from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013.

According to the preliminary estimate released Tuesday, Columbia County’s population as of the start of July this year was 49,850 — a 170-person increase from last year’s certified estimate of 49,680.

Columbia County’s population growth is roughly on par with neighboring counties like Clatsop and Tillamook counties, with estimated growth rates of 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

The county’s rate trailed the three counties of the Portland-anchored Metro region. To Columbia County’s south, Multnomah County grew by 1.1 percent and Washington County’s population increased 1.5 percent, according to the center, while the population of Clackamas County grew by 1.2 percent.

Only three counties in the state — Curry, Grant and Harney counties — are estimated to have lost population. The fastest growth has come in Hood River County, where the population expanded by an estimated 1.8 percent — double the statewide rate — and Deschutes County, with a growth rate of 1.5 percent over the past year.

— Mark Miller