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Columbia County, Oregon

(Partner: National Association of County and City Health Officials)

Community Mission

Columbia Health Coalition

VISION: The Columbia Health Coalition is a recognized, sustainable county coalition that partners with organizations and agencies for improving health where we LIVE, WORK, LEARN, and PLAY.

MISSION: The Columbia Health Coalition will empower the communtiy to increase opportunities for healthy lifestyles through initiatives for POLICY, SYSTEM, and ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE.

Community Information

Columbia County, Oregon consists of 688 square miles, of which 657 square miles is land and 32 square miles is water. As of 2010, Columbia County's total population served was 49,358; a 13.3 percent increase from 2001 census data. The county is made up of seven incorporated areas; the largest has a population of 12,883 and the smallest has a population of 55. Our population is mostly white, 92.5 percent. Columbia County is rich in natural resources and with vast areas for recreation: camping in the parks, hiking, and water activities on the Columbia River.

Columbia County has a high rate of economically disadvantaged citizens, with children faring the worst. Nearly 13 percent of the county's children live in poverty. According to the Oregon Department of Education 42.8 percent of public school children are eligible to receive free or reduced price lunches during the 2010-11 school year.

According to the State of Oregon's Area of Unmet Healthcare Needs Evaluation, Columbia County is the most medically underserved county in Oregon. Columbia County also has been deemed a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) by the federal government. Furthermore, Columbia County does not have a 24/7 healthcare option for county residents. The county's one Urgent Care Clinic, operated in St. Helens by Legacy Health System, is open for eight hours per day, six days a week.

Health Indicators


11th graders

8th graders

Are overweight




Are Obese




Physical inactivity: Do not get the recommended  physical activity each day




Eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day




Tobacco Use: Cigarettes




Tobacco Use: Smokless tobacco (Males only)




Community Successes


  • Columbia Health Coalition held a New Year's Resolution Event in February 2010 to share with Community Leaders and Stakeholders what the Coalition is working towards.
  • Christ Episcopal Church established a community garden. 500 pounds of produce was donated to the Columbia Pacific Food Bank and Community Meals during summer 2010. The Church has plans to expand the garden in 2012.
  • Vernonia School District approved a model wellness policy and administrative rules. The Vernonia Wellness Team is currently taking inventory of the snacks sold during sports events and will be replacing unhealthy options with healthy snacks throughout the 2010-11 school year.
  • Columbia Health Coalition supported the Clatskanie Parent Supporting Education Association in obtaining a $20,000 Nike Community Fund Grant to finish the ADA accessible walking trail built around the Clatskanie Elementary School. The trail is open to the school and community. Grand Opening was held September 2011!

Community Contacts

Name E-mail Phone
Ashley Swanson aswanson@tphfcc.org (503) 397-4651
Bill Blank scappoosefm@gmail.com (503) 543-3469
Brenda Peer bpeer@scappoose.k12.or.us (503) 410-9804
DeAnna Pearl DeAnna@vernonia-or.gov (503) 369-7370
Gary H. Heide ghheide@comcast.net (503) 369-3520
Heather Lewis aletheia.hti@gmail.com
Jenny Ahlers Rudolph jenny.rudolph@oregonstate.edu (503) 397-3462
Leeann Bridgett Grasseth leeanng@ccmh1.com (503) 728-2659
Sherrie Ford sford@tphfcc.org (503) 397-4651


Columbia Health Coalition ACHIEVE Activities:   


  • Coordinate and promote Stanford University’s “Living Well” program
  • Increase the number of community gardens in Columbia County
  • Increase Columbia Health Coalition membership


  • Collaborate with Vernonia School District to improve their Tobacco Free campus policy to and “A+” (Standard set forth by the American Lung Association)
  • Work with all school district to incorporate a coordinated school health approach using school health index to assess and identify evidence based strategies that support staff and student health and wellbeing.


  • The Public Health Foundation adopt a breastfeeding friendly policy
  • Begin working with select businesses on initiate Wellness at Work


NACCHO National Association of Chronic Disease Directors National Recreation and Park Association SOPHE YMCA - Activate America