Road Maintenance

The primary function of the Road Division is to maintain county roads.

County roads are dedicated to the public by adjacent property owners and then accepted by the Board of County Commissioners to be maintained by the county. 

The Columbia County Road crew is on call 24 hours per day to remove fallen trees, plow and sand roads, stripe and grade roads, manage vegetation along county roadways, create and maintain signage, or mitigate potential safety problems. Other functions of the division include implementing county ordinances, contracting large projects, obtaining permits for work in environmentally sensitive areas, writing grant proposals to obtain additional state and federal funds, and managing Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation funds. 

Submit a Work Request
Let us know if a county road needs immediate attention. Report potholes, grading issues, gravel, vegetation brush-cutting, tree limb cut-back, sinkholes, downed trees, or anything road-related. Submit a work request and our staff will check it out.

County Road District Maps
The Road Division is split into four districts. Generally, crews assigned to a district only perform maintenance on the roads within their respective district. Download maps of the county's road districts, bridge maps, and maps from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

About Speed Zones
What's the difference between advisory speed signs and regulatory speed signs? According to the Federal Highway Administration:

  • Regulatory signs shall be used to inform road users of selected traffic laws or regulations and indicate the applicability of the legal requirements.
  • Regulatory speed signs designate the maximum speed drivers should travel at in good driving conditions. If this speed is violated, drivers can be ticketed by law enforcement. Regulatory speed signs do not usually designate the reason for the speed limit.
  • Advisory speed signs are used in conjunction with another warning sign such as a curve ahead sign or a narrow road sign. The advisory speed lets the driver know of a safe speed to travel, given the conditions of the road and the environment surrounding the road.
  • Warning signs call attention to unexpected conditions on or adjacent to a highway or street and to situations that might not be readily apparent to road users. Warning signs alert road users to conditions that might call for a reduction of speed or an action in the interest of safety and efficient traffic operations.

For more information on Speed zones and signs, please see the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and the Oregon Drivers Manual.

The Speed Zone Brochure explains how and why certain roads are established at what speed in the State of Oregon. Please review the attached information.

Safety hazards on county roads
Logging in Columbia County is a common occurrence, and the equipment timber companies use can cause a hazard for drivers. Learn more about long pole truck safety hazards. 

Long Load Safety Flyer.PDF
Long Load Safety Presentation.PDF
Long Load Safety Presentation.PPT

Roadside Vegetation Management

The purpose of the Vegetation Management Program is to maintain the roadside vegetation along Columbia County's roads in a safe, effective and economical manner. Goals include ensuring the safety of the traveling public, and minimizing adverse affects to property owners. The objective is to manage the grass, weeds, brush and trees within the right-of-way, through the use of mechanical equipment, herbicides, and manual labor. Columbia County only uses "over the counter" herbicides that are approved by the state and federal government for use along the roads, and all applicators are licensed and certified by the State of Oregon. The herbicides are applied (weather permitting) in the spring and fall of each year. The spray dates and locations listed below are provided as a courtesy but are subject to change due to weather and staffing. The spray dates and locations are also available by calling (503) 366-3959 (Columbia County Public Works herbicide application hotline number).

Spray Date
County Roads
Friday, June 24, 2022 Timber, Airport, Pebble Creek & McDonald Vernonia

Property owners may enter into a bi-annual  No Spray Agreement with the County. By entering into a No Spray Agreement the property owner is responsible for maintaining the roadside from the edge of the pavement back to the edge of the right-of-way, or 10' whichever is closer. The County will provide No Spray signs to be posted by the property owner at both ends of the property, easily visible for the road crews to see. Home made signs may not be honored.

Road Vacations 
A member of the public can apply to the Road Division for road vacations. A road vacation is the right to abandon or give up the public's right to the use of a road or a road right-of-way that is no longer needed for transportation. Read the county's road vacation ordinance to learn more.

Road Standards
Columbia County Road Standards are intended to establish and implement a uniform set of engineering technical design standards for road improvements that will meet the transportation needs of the county. The Standards are intended to provide specific technical direction and guidance to the private sector and staff for the design and construction of all public and private roads and associated improvements for the county's transportation system.

County Road Statistics

Assignment No. of Employees
Roadway Surface Miles of Roadway
  • Asphalt
  • Asphalt oil matte
  • Gravel
Total 542
Road Maintenance 18
Equipment Maintenance 3
Administration 5
Total 26
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.