Results of area fundraising efforts announced

The following are reports from Columbia County agencies, organizations and businesses who have held recent fundraising events:

  • • The St. Helens Police Department collected 3,860 pounds of food and raised $4,797.75 for the Columbia Pacific Food Bank in St. Helens during “Donut Day” on Dec. 15.
  • • The St. Helens Burgerville collected 2,500 pounds of food and raised $515 for the Columbia Pacific Food Bank in St. Helens during their “Be a Star” fundraiser from Dec. 1-14.
  • • The Amani Center in St. Helens raised $43,000 during their 10th annual luau and auction fundraiser on Sept. 8.

Does your agency, organization or business in Columbia County have fundraising news? Information may be submitted via the “Feedback” section of our Web site (found under the “Contact” tab), or it can be posted it on our Facebook page by clicking here.

Weather advisories issued today for parts of Columbia County

The Portland office of the National Weather Service has issued weather advisories today for parts of Columbia County.

  •  An urban and small stream flood advisory has been issued until 1:30 p.m. for western Columbia County, with minor flooding expected.
  •  A snow advisory is in effect until 4 p.m. for elevations of 1,000 feet and higher in Columbia County, particularly in Vernonia, with three-to-six inches of accumulation possible (heaviest snow expected during the morning).
  •  There also have been a few landslides reported in Columbia County as of this morning.

For the full advisory report, click here.



Winter weather school closures, delays for Wed, Dec. 19

The following school districts in Columbia County have reported late starts or closures today due to inclement winter weather, according to

Winter weather school closures, delays for Tue, Dec. 18

*Updated 8:32 a.m., Dec. 18, 2012*

The following school districts in Columbia County have reported late starts or closures today due to inclement winter weather, according to

Village Inn offers visits, pictures with Santa

ST. HELENS — The Village Inn will feature visits and free pictures with Santa during their breakfast buffet on Saturday, Dec. 22.

The buffet will be served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; children 12 and younger are $4.95, ages 13 and older are $10.95, and adults 55 and older are $9.95.  Santa will make an appearance from 10 a.m. to noon.

The restaurant is at 535 S. Columbia River Hwy. Details: 503-397-1490.

St. Helens Christmas tree-lighting ceremony Saturday

UPDATED Dec. 8, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.

ST. HELENS — The city of St. Helens will host their Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, in Plaza Square, located in front of the historic Columbia County Courthouse in Old Town.

The celebration will be officiated by Santa Claus, who will arrive via Columbia River Fire & Rescue fire truck and later pose for photographs with children. *The city is still trying to recruit a skilled photographer for this event. If you are interested in donating your services, contact Crystal Farnsworth at 503-397-6272.*

The event will be preceded by a concert with the Vancouver Madrigal Singers at 4:30 p.m. in the Masonic Building. The group will perform Renaissance-style a cappella singing (madrigals) and Christmas carols, then will escort its audience members to the tree-lighting ceremony.

Stores in Old Town will be open until 6 p.m. for those interested in doing some Christmas shopping. Customers who furnish proof of purchases later while enjoying a meal at the Klondike Restaurant & Bar, Dockside Steak & Pasta, Hawaiian Island Cafe or Good Things, will receive 15 percent off their bill.

The annual Christmas Ships parade will follow the tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m., starting from the St. Helens City Docks and traveling down the Columbia River to Columbia City and back. Details about the parade can be seen by clicking here.

Christmas Ships return to Columbia County this weekend

The 58th annual parade of Christmas Ships will visit Columbia County on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9.

The first run will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Ships will assemble at the St. Helens City Docks and sail down the Columbia River to Columbia City, and weather permitting, cross to an RV park on the Washington side before returning to St. Helens, where the ships will dock overnight. The parade lasts for about two hours.

On Sunday, Dec. 9, the ships will depart from the city docks and meet up with additional fleet at 4:30 p.m. at Coon Island, along the Multnomah Channel. The ships will leave the island at 5 p.m., beginning their tour up the channel, through Scappoose, and on to the Willamette River.

Occasionally, weather, debris in the river, and other conditions can cause parade delays or cancellations. In the event of a cancellation, volunteers will update the organization’s Web site at

Information on prime viewing locations also can be found on the site.

News Bits: Local holiday happenings, Dec. 1-3


Reindeer Run: 8 a.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Columbia River Foursquare Church, 555 Commons Drive, St. Helens (across from DMV); 5K, 10K, or half-marathon (run or walk); proceeds benefit Columbia County Toy-n-Joy and the Columbia Food Bank; coffee, cocoa and snacks served in the church before and after race; prizes awarded to top three finishers in each category (male and female); cost $35-$60; includes souvenir Race Tech T-shirt and professional chip timed race; half-marathoners receive a custom Reindeer Run medal;  Route maps, registration information and other details at; or contact Molly Cooke, 503-396-0357, or

Breakfast with Santa: 8 to 11:30 a.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Columbia County Shrine Building, 315 N. 18th St., St. Helens (off Wyeth Street and Highway 30); breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, milk, juice, coffee and tea served; bazaar table for Christmas shopping; $3 for ages 4-10, $5 for ages 11 and older; hosted by The Order of the Eastern Star, Mizpah No. 30 Chapter.

30th annual Merchant’s Toy n’ Joy benefit auction: 5 to 8 p.m., dinner; 5 to 6:45 p.m., silent auction; 7 p.m., oral auction, Sat, Dec. 1; Columbia County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 58892 Saulser Road, St. Helens; the event, sponsored by Columbia River Fire & Rescue, celebrates “30 Years of Giving” with a catered dinner and traditional brownie ala mode dessert; $15, tickets available at the door, or by visiting CRF&R administration offices at 270 Columbia Blvd.; 503-397-2990 or

Rainier Toy n’ Joy Breakfast: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Rainier United Methodist, 101 C St. East, Rainier; 503-556-3440.

Rainier Christmas tree lighting ceremony: 6 p.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Rainier City Hall, 106 West B St., Rainier; 503-556-7301.

Free photos with Santa: 3 to 5 p.m. Wed, Dec. 5; WorkSource Oregon, 500 N. Hwy 30, Suite 320, St. Helens; visits with Santa and snacks; well-behaved pets welcome; canned food donations accepted; visitors are welcome to bring their own cameras for extra photos; 503-397-4995.

Watts House Museum Christmas tours: 4 to 8 p.m. every Fri-Sun in December, except the week of Christmas, when tours will be offered Fri-Sat only; 52432 S.E. First St., Scappoose; the historic house has been decorated for Christmas by volunteers with the Scappoose Historical Society, and other community groups; free admission; group tours available; 503-961-5621 or (click on “current event”).


St. Frederick Catholic Church: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat, Dec. 1; 175 S. 14th St., St. Helens; held in Buccini Hall; surprise packages, jams and jellies, arts and crafts, swags, white elephant  and more; light lunch available for purchase; 503-397-0148.

Avamere Assisted Living: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1; 2400 Gable Road, St. Helens; visits with Santa from noon to 2 p.m.; first 50 shoppers receive gift; 503-366-8070.

Jingle Jangle Christmas: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat-Sun, Dec 1-2; private residence, 722 E. 2nd St., Rainier (uphill from Interstate Tavern); benefit for Susan G. Komen for the Cure; free coffee, hot chocolate and cider; credit cards accepted.

Columbia County Mental Health: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon, Dec. 3; 58646 McNulty Way, St. Helens; 503-397-5211.