Scappoose Oregon is separated from Sauvie’s Island by the Columbia River Slough.
Scappoose Oregon is a beautiful peaceful serene waterway that comes out of the Willamette River in Portland, veering off to the NW while the Willamette heads straight into the Columbia River. We used to take our boat up the slough, past Scappoose, all the way to St Helens, stopping to swim, or to get a bite at a riverside dock restaurant! You felt like you were out in the wilderness somewhere, you didn’t see anyone anywhere. The fields and forests line the side of the slough. It is beautiful! The slough follows Highway 30 which goes all the way to Astoria and the Pacific Ocean. Scappoose is about 20 miles from Portland, not far for a commute, especially since 30 isn’t very busy. The town sits back off the slough, past where it turns to start heading towards the Columbia and it’s final destination. There is beautiful flat fertile farmland between Scappoose and the river, although there is an industrial air park and some other industry on the edge of the town.
Scappoose Oregon is located between Portland and St Helens, not too much farther than NW Cornelius Pass Road. This makes it an easy commute to the Tech Corridor. You just go up Cornelius Pass to Skyline, and you are up above Forest Park. It connects you to Highway 26, to German Town Rd, to West Union and on to Hillsboro. Scappoose is also just 20 minutes from Portland. It is considered the Gateway to beautiful Columbia County. There are some beautiful places in Scappoose. I had a listing a few years back that sat up on the hill right above Scappoose, on 5 acres, with a spectacular sweeping view of the whole valley below, the Columbia River and the Slough, Mt St Helens and even Mt Hood. It was just a mile up on a little country road, so you could walk downtown or to the school if you wanted to. I think Scappoose has lots of potential. It hasn’t gone up in price like the rest of Portland, but with it’s location, and beauty, and the ability to purchase acreage at an affordable price, it’s time will come! It gives you a blend of country life, yet is close enough to the city that you can be part of that too!
Scappoose Oregon also has an outstanding school system, a busy community calendar, lots of different recreational choices because of the gorgeous nature around it. Forest Park is just above it on the hill, with trails you can catch if you head towards Portland a little ways, and walk up into the park! I-84 East and I-5 North can be reached in 20 minutes if you head towards Portland, and 30 minutes to I-5 in Longview, Washington, which gives you a real head start if you are heading north or to Seattle area. Portland International Airport (PDX) is only 40 minutes from Scappoose Oregon.
Columbia County, in which the city of Scappoose resides (676 square miles – population 38,800) has the longest area bordering the Columbia River. It is bordered east of Clatsop County and by Washington and Multnomah counties to the south. Columbia County has a wide range in elevation, from the Columbia River at 20 feet above sea level to the western part including the coast range at 2500 feet. Over 88% of the total land area in Columbia County is forest land. Nearly 50% of the residents in Scappoose claim professional or administrative occupations while the remaining account for having b skills in production, industry and agriculture. Both sport and commercial fishermen are attracted to Scappoose and Columbia County and can often be seen in the rivers and streams from the highways. The most popular types of fish are salmon, crappe, steelhead, blue gill, trout and sturgeon. Deer and elk abound and are hunted in the forested areas. Duck, geese and pheasants are also abundant on the regulated hunting area of Sauvie Island.
The map below shows the trails of Forest Park. If you look at the black bear below, at the top of the map, that is German Town Rd and heads down the hill towards Scappoose!
History of Scappoose Oregon
Scappoose Oregon was named “gravelly plains” by the Chinook Indians and served as prime Indian hunting grounds. Chief Casino of the Kiersinno Tribe held stewardship over his people and their lands. The plains of wild grass fed herds of elk and deer, the rivers supplied spawning beds for salmon and ancient forests covered the hills. Scappoose was a meeting place. The Chinook tribes held annual Pow�Wows complete with feast, trading, gaming and horse races. Descendants of the non native settlers from Maine, Kansas, Nebraska, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland continue the Indians’ legacy through festivals and celebrations today.
According to “The History of Scappoose Oregon” by James Loring Watts, a descendant of the early settlers, the bounty of wildlife astounded Lewis and Clark during their 1804 – 1806 travels, and later captured the attention of migratory fur traders.
In 1832, Thomas McKay, who was a fur trader, decided he wanted to farm, and began farming on the Scappoose Plains across from Sauvie Island. He was the first white settler to settle here. Settlers began to move in slowly, following the the old Indian Trail that came down through the mountains, and settled in this area because the soil was amazing, there was a river with lots of fish, game and wildlife were all over the hills, there were grass meadows, perfect for dairy cows, and trees on the hills that could be made into homes or logged. It was easy to ship crops from here to Portland because of the River, which ran deep. Sawmills were built, mills were built, and the area grew. Steamboats went up and down the river, and wagons followed the St Helens-Hillsborough Territorial Rd which had been built in the early 1850s. This road followed an old Indian Trail which went up through the Tualatin Mountains and into the Tualatin and Willamette Valleys. The RR came to town in 1883, and this offered Scappoose another way to get their products out.
Once the RR came in, the city began to grow quickly. Lumber and dairy products in particular were went out of Scappoose to Portland. In 1921, Scappoose had 151 people and was incorporated! In 1927 a levee was built along the side of the Channel to drain the wetlands and open up more farmland.
Rich in natural resources, Scappoose offered occupations for loggers, brick makers, blacksmiths, shingle millers and dairy farmers in the early years, to gravel mining operators and pickle/sauerkraut makers today. Scappoose residents enjoy their quiet life a short drive away from bustling metropolitan areas.