Kelso, Washington facts for kids

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Kelso, Washington
City
Motto: "City of Friendly People"
Location of Kelso, Washington
Location of Kelso, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Cowlitz
Platted 1884
Area
 • Total 8.50 sq mi (22.01 km2)
 • Land 8.14 sq mi (21.08 km2)
 • Water 0.36 sq mi (0.93 km2)
Elevation 75 ft (23 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 11,925
 • Estimate (2015) 11,901
 • Density 1,465.0/sq mi (565.6/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 98626
Area code(s) 360
FIPS code 53-35065
GNIS feature ID 1512343
Website http://www.kelso.gov

Kelso is a city in southwest Washington State, United States, and is the county seat of Cowlitz County. At the 2010 census, the population was 11,925. Kelso is part of the Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 102,410. Kelso shares its long western border with Longview. It is near Mount St. Helens.

History

The earliest known inhabitants of Kelso were Native Americans from the Cowlitz tribe. The Cowlitz people were separated into the Upper (or Taidnapam) and Lower (or Mountain) Cowlitz tribes, who were members of the Sahaptin and Salish language families, respectively. In 1855, European explorers noted that there numbered over 6000 individuals of the Cowlitz Tribe.

Kelso was founded by Peter W. Crawford, a Scottish surveyor, who, in 1847, took up the first donation land claim on the Lower Cowlitz River. Crawford platted a townsite which he named after his home town of Kelso, Scotland. The original plat was dated and filed in October 1884. It became incorporated in 1889. The economy continues to be based largely on wood products.

In the late 19th century and into the first part of the 20th century, Kelso was the center for commercial smelt fishing on the Cowlitz River. In 1910, according to the Oregonian Newspaper, 5,000 tons of fish were caught. The Kelso Chamber of Commerce created the slogan in 1956 and became known as the Smelt Capital of the World. The Cowlitz River has historically had heavy runs of smelt and were shipped to markets around the country. Smelt numbers have declined significantly in the past several decades possibly due to overharvesting, global climate change and habitat loss.

Pieces of the mysterious 1947 Maury Island incident took place in Kelso. A military aircraft carrying suspicious slag-like material, supposedly from a UFO, crashed in southeast Kelso.

On May 18, 1980, being only 24 miles (39 km) away, Kelso residents experienced the shock wave caused by the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Called the largest volcanic eruption in historic times in the contiguous United States, Kelso received large amounts of volcanic ash through the air and from the massive mudflow caused by the eruption transported by the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers. Many areas of the city, including the Three Rivers Golf Course are built on volcanic ash dredged from the Cowlitz River by inmates in state custody and volunteers.

In March 1998, the Aldercrest-Banyon landslide began shifting the foundations of 64 homes and local infrastructure in the east Kelso neighborhood of Aldercrest. Eventually, 129 houses were destroyed by this slow moving landslide. Investigation showed that these houses had been built on top of an ancient active landslide area, and three straight years of higher than average rains set the earth into motion. In October 1998, President Bill Clinton declared this slide a federal disaster. It was the second worst landslide disaster (in cost) in the United States, following the 1956 Portuguese Bend Landslide on Palos Verdes Hills in Southern California. This disaster at Aldercrest led to stricter city zoning ordinances and oversight over geological surveys.

The Cowlitz County Historical Museum provides many exhibits on the history of the local area.

National Register of Historic Places

  • Adam Catlin House
  • Nat Smith House
  • US Post Office - Kelso Main

Geography

Kelso is located on Interstate 5 at Exits 36, 39, 40 and 42, and is 48 miles (77 km) north of Portland, Oregon, 125 miles (201 km) south of Seattle, Washington, and 80 miles (130 km) from the Pacific Ocean beaches.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.50 square miles (22.01 km2), of which, 8.14 square miles (21.08 km2) is land and 0.36 square miles (0.93 km2) is water.

Three rivers, the Columbia, Cowlitz and Coweeman, running through Kelso were used as part of a historical transportation route from Portland, Oregon and the Puget Sound. Cowlitz steamboats were used as a source of transportation until 1918.

Kelso and Longview comprise the "Twin Cities" of southwest Washington.

Climate

Climate data for Southwest Washington Regional Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 61
(16.1)
70
(21.1)
77
(25)
86
(30)
99
(37.2)
97
(36.1)
106
(41.1)
99
(37.2)
94
(34.4)
86
(30)
69
(20.6)
63
(17.2)
106
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 41.2
(5.11)
48.1
(8.94)
51.6
(10.89)
61.5
(16.39)
66.3
(19.06)
70.6
(21.44)
76.3
(24.61)
76.5
(24.72)
74.9
(23.83)
61.9
(16.61)
52.5
(11.39)
46.5
(8.06)
60.66
(15.921)
Average low °F (°C) 28.9
(-1.72)
33.2
(0.67)
34.9
(1.61)
36.8
(2.67)
42.1
(5.61)
47.2
(8.44)
50.0
(10)
50.6
(10.33)
46.0
(7.78)
40.3
(4.61)
36.7
(2.61)
35.4
(1.89)
40.18
(4.542)
Record low °F (°C) -1
(-18.3)
2
(-16.7)
25
(-3.9)
27
(-2.8)
30
(-1.1)
35
(1.7)
39
(3.9)
37
(2.8)
32
(0)
21
(-6.1)
13
(-10.6)
16
(-8.9)
-1
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.27
(159.3)
5.47
(138.9)
5.82
(147.8)
2.48
(63)
2.16
(54.9)
1.83
(46.5)
0.50
(12.7)
0.85
(21.6)
1.04
(26.4)
4.28
(108.7)
5.59
(142)
6.57
(166.9)
42.87
(1,088.9)
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.8
(27.4)
3.7
(9.4)
3.4
(8.6)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.6
(1.5)
18.6
(47.2)
Source: Western Regional Climate Center

Neighborhoods

  • Aldercrest
  • Butler Acres
  • Davis Terrace
  • East Kelso
  • Hilltop
  • Lexington
  • Mt. Brynion
  • North Kelso
  • Old Kelso Hill
  • South Kelso
  • West Kelso
  • Rose Valley

Employment

With access to the Columbia River, Interstate 5 and the west coast railways, Kelso supports a large and rapidly diversifying manufacturing base. The largest employer is the Kelso School District, followed by Foster Farms and Safeway. Other large employers are Target, ALS Environmental laboratory, Western Fabrication, PAPE Machinery, and DSU Peterbilt.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 354
1900 694 96.0%
1910 2,039 193.8%
1920 2,228 9.3%
1930 6,260 181.0%
1940 6,749 7.8%
1950 7,345 8.8%
1960 8,379 14.1%
1970 10,296 22.9%
1980 11,129 8.1%
1990 11,820 6.2%
2000 11,895 0.6%
2010 11,925 0.3%
Est. 2015 11,901 −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 11,925 people, 4,720 households, and 2,949 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,465.0 inhabitants per square mile (565.6/km2). There were 5,139 housing units at an average density of 631.3 per square mile (243.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.2% White, 0.8% African American, 2.1% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.1% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.3% of the population.

There were 4,720 households of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.9% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.5% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.05.

The median age in the city was 34.6 years. 26.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 11.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,895 people, 4,616 households, and 2,991 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,471.6 people per square mile (568.4/km²). There were 5,067 housing units at an average density of 626.9 per square mile (242.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.14% White, 0.82% African American, 2.05% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 3.12% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.93% of the population. 18.1% were of German, 9.3% Irish, 9.0% English, 7.7% American and 6.4% Norwegian ancestry.

There were 4,616 households out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.0% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 28.3% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,722, and the median income for a family was $36,784. Males had a median income of $36,271 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,162. About 16.4% of families and 19.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.1% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Road

Interstate 5, the main north–south highway on the West Coast of the United States, runs through Kelso. Two highways, State Route 4 and State Route 432, connect Kelso to Longview via crossings of the Cowlitz River.

Rail

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to the twin cities of Kelso-Longview. The Amtrak station is located in the Kelso Multimodal Transportation Center along the Cowlitz River.

Bus

The cities of Kelso and Longview are served by RiverCities Transit.

Kelso is also served by Greyhound Bus Lines, which provides intercity bus service at the Kelso Multimodal Transportation Center.

Air

Kelso is served by Southwest Washington Regional Airport, formerly known as Kelso-Longview Regional Airport.

Sports and recreation

Kelso and Longview are the home of the Cowlitz Black Bears baseball team. The Black Bears play in the West Coast League, an independent summer baseball league with teams from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. The team plays at David Story Field on the Lower Columbia College campus.

Within the city limits, there are eight city parks totaling 50 acres (200,000 m2) and 6 miles (10 km) of bicycle and multi-use paths. The largest park is Tam o'Shanter Park, a multi-use park comprising 38 acres (150,000 m2) along the Coweeman River. The facilities include multipurpose fields for soccer, three girls fastpitch softball fields, one Babe Ruth field, five Cal Ripken baseball fields, and three basketball courts. The park hosts the annual Kelso Hilander Festival which includes Scottish Highland games. The park is named after a Scottish bonnet, the Tam o' Shanter.

Sister cities

Kelso has the two sister cities:


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