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St. Helens is the county seat of Columbia County, Oregon. It was founded by Captain H. M. Knighton, a native of New England, in 1845, as "Plymouth". The name was changed to St. Helens in the latter part of 1850 for its view of Mount St. Helens, roughly 39 miles (63 km) away in Washington. The city is about 45 km (28 mi) northwest of Portland. Its population was 12,883 at the 2010 census.
St. Helens was established as a river port on the Columbia River in the 1840s. In 1853, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company tried to make the city their only stop on the Columbia River. Portland's merchants boycotted this effort, and the San Francisco steamship Peytona helped break the impasse. St. Helens was incorporated as a city in 1889.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through and camped in the area that is now St. Helens on the night of November 5, 1805, while on their way to the Pacific Ocean. While there, the party encountered Native Americans and Clark observed "low rockey clifts".
U.S. Route 30 passes through the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.51 square miles (14.27 km2), of which, 4.53 square miles (11.73 km2) is land and 0.98 square miles (2.54 km2) is covered by water.
According to the Köppen climate classification system, St. Helens has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate Csb.
Columbia Heights is a formerly separate populated place that is within the city limits of St. Helens.
According to the Portland State University Population Research Center, the estimated 2017 population of St. Helens is 13,240.
As of the census of 2010, there were 12,883 people, 4,847 households, and 3,243 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,843.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,098.0/km2). There were 5,154 housing units at an average density of 1,137.7 per square mile (439.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.3% White, 0.6% African American, 1.6% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.1% of the population.
There were 4,847 households of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.1% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.11.
The median age in the city was 34 years. 27.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.9% were from 25 to 44; 23.3% were from 45 to 64; and 10.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,019 people, 3,722 households, and 2,579 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,305.6 people per square mile (889.3/km²). There were 4,032 housing units at an average density of 927.8 per square mile (357.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.74% White, 0.34% African American, 1.68% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.35% from other races, and 3.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.05% of the population. 21.5% were of German, 10.9% English, 9.5% Irish and 9.3% American ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 3,722 households out of which 39.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city, the population was spread out with 30.2% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,648, and the median income for a family was $45,548. Males had a median income of $39,375 versus $26,725 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,237. About 8.7% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
The town is home to sets of many films, including the Disney Channel television film Halloweentown, and the film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's novel Twilight.
In October, the town embraces the Halloween spirit with a month-long celebration of spooky events and decorations geared toward entertaining crowds of families. The Riverfront District in St. Helens, Oregon served as the backdrop for the 1998 Disney Channel Original Movie “Halloweentown.” The St. Helens community pays homage to the movie each October with a month-long celebration.
Public schools in St. Helens are served by the St. Helens School District.
The Chronicle is St. Helens' weekly newspaper, published since 1881.
KOHI (AM) is St. Helens' local AM radio station.
St. Helens has one sister city:
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