Astoria, Oregon

From Academic Kids

Astoria is the county seat of Clatsop County, OregonTemplate:GR, situated near the mouth of the Columbia River. It was named after the American investor John Jacob Astor. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 9,813.



The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805-1806 at Fort Clatsop, a small log structure south and west of modern day Astoria. The expedition had hoped a ship would come by to take them back east, but instead endured a tortuous winter of rain and cold, then returned east the way they came. Today the fort has been recreated and is now a national monument.

Several years later, in 1811, Astor's Pacific Fur Company founded Fort Astoria as its primary fur-trading post in the Northwest, and in fact the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific coast. It was an extremely important post for American exploration of the continent and was influential in helping establish American claims to the land. The fort and fur trade was sold to the British in 1813, and while the fort was restored to the U.S. in 1818, control of the fur trade would remain under the British until American pioneers following the Oregon Trail began filtering into the port town in the mid-1840's. The first U.S. Post Office west of the Rocky Mountains was also established in Astoria in 1847.

As the Oregon Territory grew and became increasingly more settled, Astoria likewise grew as an ocean/river port city. In 1876 the community was legally incorporated. It attracted a host of Scandinavian settlers, and the area still boasts a high concentration of descendants of these original settlers.

In 1883, and again in 1922, downtown Astoria was devastated by fire, but the city economy was strong enough in both cases to rebuild and thrive. Astoria has served as a port of entry for over a century and remains the trading center for the lower Columbia basin.

In addition to Fort Clatsop, another popular point of interest includes the Astoria Column, a tower 38 m high built atop the hill above the town, with an inner circular staircase allowing visitors to climb to see a breathtaking view of the town, the surrounding lands, and the mighty Columbia flowing into the Pacific. The column was built in 1926 to commemorate the region's early history by the Astor family.

Eclipsed by Portland and other ports further inland along the Columbia, Astoria's economy centered around fishing, fish processing, and lumber. In 1945, about 30 canneries could be found along the Columbia; however, in 1974 Bumblebee Seafood moved its headquarters out of Astoria, and gradually reduced its presence until 1980 when the company closed its last cannery. The timber industry likewise declined, with Astoria Plywood Mill, the city's largest employer, closing in 1989, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway announcing in 1996 that they were discontinuing service.

Today, tourism and light manufacturing are the main economic activities of the city. It is a port of call for cruise ships, with eight docking in 2004 and 14 scheduled in 2005.

Astoria was the location for the filming of the 1985 hit movie The Goonies. Other movies filmed in Astoria include Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and The Ring Two.


Astoria is located at 46°11'20" North, 123°49'16" West (46.188825, -123.821007)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.5 km² (10.6 mi²). 15.9 km² (6.1 mi²) of it is land and 11.6 km² (4.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 42.18% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 9,813 people, 4,235 households, and 2,469 families residing in the city. The population density is 617.1/km² (1,597.6/mi²). There are 4,858 housing units at an average density of 305.5/km² (790.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 91.08% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 1.14% Native American, 1.94% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 2.67% from other races, and 2.46% from two or more races. 5.98% of the population are Hispanic American or Latino of any race.

Missing image
Woman walking her dog along the Columbia River in Astoria

There are 4,235 households out of which 28.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% are married couples living together, 11.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% are non-families. 35.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.26 and the average family size is 2.93.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $33,011, and the median income for a family is $41,446. Males have a median income of $29,813 versus $22,121 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,759. 15.9% of the population and 11.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 22.0% of those under the age of 18 and 9.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

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