FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PN-Weather Delays Road Work on Scappoose-Vernonia Highway Near Bonnie Falls

Weather is delaying the completion of the road work being performed on the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway. Work on one lane of the roadway has been completed, with work on the second lane postponed due to rainy weather.  "We do not want to make a muddy mess," says Mike Russell, Columbia County Public Works Director. "We are stopping work until we get some drier days."

Road crews will return to this section of the roadway to finish addressing a severe bump at approximately milepost 16 near Bonnie Falls. Completing this work is the first phase of a multi-part plan. Future work at this location will include profiling the roadway to reestablish the grade and superelevation. It is anticipated that this will occur at a later time when conditions are more favorable for paving.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact the Columbia County Public Works Office at (503) 397-5090 or by email at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PN-Road Work on Scappoose-Vernonia Highway Near Bonnie Falls

Expect Delays October 11 - 15, 2021

Columbia County Road Maintenance crews will be working on the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway at approximately milepost 16 near Bonnie Falls. Road work is scheduled to begin on October 11 and continue through October 15, depending on the weather. This will be the first phase of a multi-part plan and crews will return to this section of the roadway later this year to complete additional work.

Road crews will dig out a portion of the roadway near milepost 16 to address a severe bump at this location. Excavated materials will be hauled to a County-owned site on Sierks Road. One lane will be kept open during the road work, but drivers should expect delays at the site due to construction traffic and activities.

The construction schedule has crews starting work early at around 5:00 a.m. and working until at least 5:00 p.m. each day. Work zone traffic will be controlled by flaggers while crews are on-site. Please be aware of the flaggers and follow their direction.

Future work at this location will include profiling the roadway to reestablish the grade and superelevation. It is anticipated that this will occur soon after the initial dig-out work is complete.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact the Columbia County Public Works Office at (503) 397-5090 or by email at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2021 NR - Columbia County Addresses Slide Area on Scappoose Vernonia Highway

Travel will be restricted to one lane during work hours starting the week of August 15th

 ST. HELENS, Oregon - A slide area near MP 4.0 on Scappoose Vernonia Highway will be repaired this summer under a contract between the Columbia County Road Department and Thompson Bros. Excavating, Inc. of Vancouver. Funded by help from the Federal Highways Administration through the Oregon Department of Transportation in response to storm damage experienced in 2015, the project will replace the damaged roadway and improve drainage. Drivers should expect to drive on a one-lane gravel surface through the site as work progresses.

Construction begins on Monday, August 16th and Reader Boards will be placed approaching the site along with construction signing to alert drivers. If drivers want to avoid the area, they can use Apiary Road, but delays at the construction site should not be more than 20 minutes.

The project will involve excavating the roadway and reconstructing the side slopes. The project will also establish guard railing along the side of the road and will be topped off with new pavement through the construction site.

“Columbia County Public Works worked with the contractor to come up with a way to keep at least one lane open during work hours and then have both lanes open in the evenings and on weekends. The downside is that, to be as efficient as possible, traffic will have to run on gravel through the site,” said Mike Russell, Public Works Director.

Russell expects construction to be completed by Monday, September 6th.

For more information, contact Columbia County Public Works at 503-397-5090 or email at .


The Columbia County Road Department manages 550 miles of paved and gravel roads as well as 104 bridges. Its territory ranges from nearly sea level to 2,000 feet. In addition to road building, the department’s 21 employees also oversee signs, road striping, roadside vegetation, pothole repair, storm response, and regulation and permitting.

The next Columbia County Household Hazardous Waste Collection will be June 12th from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Transfer Station in St. Helens

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on May 15 in Rainier

2021 Schedule FREE Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Scappoose Vernonia Highway MP 4.0 Slide Repair

January 20,2021

During a storm event in 2015 a landslide occurred on Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy at MP 4.0, near Highway 47. In response to the event, crews with Columbia County’s Public Works Department temporarily stabilized the slide in order to reopen the road.

Columbia County has since obtained Federal funding to repair the damaged road section. Contractors for the County will conduct the slide repair project this coming summer. Construction is anticipated to begin in July 2021 and run through September 2021. The work will include improving drainage, placing stone embankment protection, stabilizing the subgrade, installing guardrail, and repaving the roadway in the slide location.

Some lane restrictions and traffic delays with flaggers are anticipated during construction, however, no road closures are expected. 

CANCELLED June 13, 2020 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Due to COVID 19


May 20, 2020

CANCELLED June 13, 2020 Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Due to COVID 19

Due to COVID 19, Columbia County is cancelling the June 13, 2020 Household Hazardous Waste Collection event at the Columbia County Transfer Station.

We cannot safely hold this event which typically serves over 250 vehicles.

The next Household Hazardous Waste Collection event is scheduled for Saturday August 29, 2020 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Columbia County Transfer Station 1601 Railroad Ave in St. Helens, changes or cancellations will be posted to our website.

Unwanted paint, used motor oil and used cooking oil is still be accepted at the Transfer Station 1601 Railroad Ave during regular open hours (8am-5pm Monday – Saturday) for no fee.  Medical Sharps are also accepted during open hours for no cost at the Scale House. Sharps must arrive in a sealed, self-closing, puncture-proof OSHA approved container.

The St. Helens Police Department accepts expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs at 150 S. 13 St. Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - noon or 1 -5 p.m. in the Med Return collection box. 

For more information, email Kathy Boutin-Pasterz at or call 503-397-7259.



Columbia County plans, organizes and directs recycling, reuse, waste reduction, and household hazardous waste management throughout its 657 square-mile area.  The county operates the transfer station in St. Helens and administers solid waste collection franchises within the unincorporated area of the county.

Community partners work with St. Helens School District to provide meal services

“Road Closed” signs are there for a reason

October 17, 2019

Do you know how it feels when you’re in a hurry, or have travelled a long way, and you come up to a “road closed” sign? Frustrating, right? Have you ever thought about going around those signs? Well, I’m here to tell you – DON’T!

If there’s one thing road managers hate to do, it’s close roads. But they do so for a reason – and very good reasons at that. Roads are closed when it’s unsafe to travel on them. Construction, flooding, and landslides are often the reason.

Construction workers need space to work, and when a road is closed, they know they can move about safely. A motorist driving up to or through a construction area can take them by surprise or hurt them, let alone cause other significant damage.

Mike Russell, Public Works Director for Columbia County, wants drivers to respect the "road closed" signs his workers post when they're working on bridges, resurfacing roads or replacing culverts. "Please remember that we are trying our best to keep everybody safe”, he said.  A “road closed” sign should signal to drivers that there is danger beyond the sign."

In winter, when the snow and ice hits, Oregon’s rural roads can become treacherous. Road managers will close roads when snow is too deep, or when ice can’t melt because of the temperature or if trees shade the roadway from sun.

After a long winter of rain, spring melt and new storms can cause landslides or flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles, and two feet of rushing water will carry away larger vehicles such as SUVs and pickups.

Even with only a few inches of water flowing over a road, it’s hard to know what’s happening beneath the pavement. Entire sections of roadway can sweep away quickly. According to the National Weather Service, an average of 75 people in the U.S. died from flash floods each year from 2004-2013, with vehicle-related drowning more common than any other weather-related death.  And according to Dr. Greg Forbes, a severe weather expert, almost two of every three U.S. flash flood deaths from 1995-2010, excluding fatalities from Hurricane Katrina, occurred in vehicles.

Floodwaters powerful enough to float or trap a vehicle are also dangerous to walk through.  Just six inches of flowing water can knock you off your feet. This is particularly dangerous situation for the elderly and small children.  So please, heed the warning of the National Weather Service - "Turn around, don't drown!"

Driving past “road closed” signs can cost in other ways too. Columbia County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Brian Pixley said deputies will issue citations for drivers going past closed road signs. “It’s a common problem,” he said, “people will drive through a crime scene or a traffic crash. We’ve even had people run into our patrol cars.”

So remember, if you see a “road closed” sign, turn around. It’s dangerous! Damage to your wallet, your vehicle or your life just isn’t worth the risk.

Public Works Quick Links
General Information
Phone Numbers
Fax: 503-397-7215
Emergencies: Dial 911
1054 Oregon Street
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.