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Summer is here, and the fair activities begin this weekend with a Concert on July 16 before the fair officially opens at noon on July 20.  We continue to put a lot of energy into providing a solid public safety presence at the County Fair.  We also are very busy working on the implementation of the police services contract with the City of Clatskanie!  As the summer progresses, we continue to work on building our capacity as a full-service public safety agency in our County!
Summer is upon us!
With the hot summer nights, and the many outdoor events in the County, try to keep the use of intoxicants from spoiling your summer.  Deputies have already been busy with many calls where alcohol and drugs have ruined the fun.  Let's enjoy the summer without hurting others.  

On a somber note, the tragic events in Dallas, Texas July 7 underscore the importance of accurately reporting what is happening with law enforcement and the use of force.  It is not the habit of law enforcement to target individuals for any other factor other than criminal intent.  There is no uptick in police use of force.  My thoughts on the topic following the tragic loss of police lives in Dallas can be found in my column:    From The Sheriff's Desk

We also have updates on our canine program, the County Fair, New Dog Licensing procedures; the jail; and several news notes from the Sheriff's Office divisions.  Have a great summer!
Two Canine Teams Now Working for Sheriff
With the addition of another canine deputy donated to the County, the Sheriff's Office now is glad to have two canine teams working to keep our county safer!  A narcotics detection dog and his handler have been added to the Sheriff's Office canine teams and the new canine unit will be assigned to the jail and the newly revitalized Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team (CENT).  

The newest addition is a German Sherpherd donated to the Sheriff's Office by the Clatskanie Foundation.  "Odin" was previously assigned to duties  with the Clatskanie Police Department, but will now ply his trade helping keep drugs out of the jail and assisting the CENT team with criminal cases.

Odin, shown on the left with his handler Jacob Anderson, gives the Sheriff's Office a 1-2 punch in taking a bite out of crime in Columbia County. Our tracking Canine "Lars" (shown on the right with his handler Deputy Ryan Dews) has already made a big impression with a high rate of captures in his first six months of work. Odin will bring additional detection capabilities with his training in narcotics detection.
Marine Patrols Concentrate on Water Safety
Deputies, Reserve Deputies and a number of volunteers all work together during the peak boating season to help keep the waterways within Columbia County a safe place to recreate, work and (for some) to live.  Wake management is part of that safety program, and deputies work hard to enforce the no wake zones in the river.  There are numerous violations that occur that affect the safety of river users, and we've listed those on our web page under the Marine Patrol Unit section.

Learn More

Sheriff's Office Booth at the 2016 Columbia County Fair
Last year, we committed extra resources to the fair to have a regular booth.  We had information about our services, photo props for people to take their picture as deputies and/or inmates, and an enhanced presence of deputies and reserves.  It was so successful that we will be continuing with and enhancing our presence throughout the week at the fair.

We will also be adding overtime patrols to assist with the concert taking place on the Saturday (July 16) before the fair, and adding more patrols throughout the fair week as well.  Our volunteer reserve deputies have committed to many hours this year.  They do such a fine job throughout the year backing up and assisting our regular patrol deputies.  During the fair, they will be teaming up with some of our corrections staff members to bring a real safety/security presence to the fair again this year.

In addition to augmented patrols during fair week, we will have our booth again, with additional photo props for fair goers to get their pictures taken.  Now you can appear as a deputy, an inmate, and/or a canine handler--complete with canine!  Come by our booth and find out more about the Sheriff's Office!

To find out more about the Fair, go HERE!
Dog Licensing Now Under the Sheriff
Effective July 1, 2016, Dog Licensing is now under the Office of Sheriff for the purpose of creating enhanced communication between licensing and County Dog Control.  Licensing fees are the primary source of  funding that  provides for the work of our dog control office, including our ability to house stray and dangerous dogs. Dog Control's ability to work closely with licensing helps the Dog Control Office locate dog owners more quickly to return lost dogs, cuts down on mistakes in addressing dog control problems, and improves the service to dog owners in other ways by increasing the coordination between licensing, the animal shelter and the Dog Control Office.

Dog Licenses are now available from the Sheriff's Office , 901 Port Ave., St. Helens, Monday Through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  No appointment is necessary, but you must present proof of rabies inoculation in order to obtain a license.  You can download a pdf version of the license by going to


You can call our Licensing Clerk at (503) 366-4606

Our goal is to enhance the licensing program to enable more people to become compliant with the Oregon law requiring rabies vaccination and licensing of their dogs.  We will be expanding licensing to enable dog owners to license their dogs through participating veterinary offices, the animal shelter and even online (hopefully in the near future)!  The goal is to make it easier and more convenient for people to comply with the law.  Those who need or desire to get their licenses in person from the Sheriff's Office will still be able to come to 901 Port Avenue to do so.

The Sheriff and Board of County Commissioners have begun discussions on a path forward for renewing the jail levy for another four years.  After reviewing budget numbers and including projections for continued US Marshal bed rentals, it appears no increase in the rate will be needed.  In fact, it appears that if the rate stays the same at 58 cents per thousand dollars in assessed value, and as long as US Marshal use of the facility continues to drive the overall cost to taxpayers down, that we will be able to keep the jail in business for the next four years.  

This is good news for County taxpayers and especially good news, considering that in 2018, the County will have paid off the cost of building the new jail and will be able to take 38 cents off per thousand dollars in assessed value once the building is paid off.
With the establishment of the jail operating levy in 2014, voters authorized a citizen's advisory committee (identified by its acronym, the "JOCAC") to review jail spending.  After more than two years of budget review, operational consideration and education, committee members (made up of those who had both supported and opposed the levy in 2014) issued their report.  WE are very proud of the report's findings. The report can be seen in its entirety at the link below:

The Sheriff's Posse is being re-constituted, and is inviting interested individuals 21 and older who love being around horses to consider joining the Posse. Questions can be emailed directly to


CENT Team Reinvigorated under Sheriff's Office
The St. Helens Police Department had for many years been the host agency for the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team.  Budget cuts in recent years forced many agencies to withdraw from the team, and the team became inactive.    Now, with renewed interest in developing the team,  the Sheriff's Office is taking a leadership role in re-establishing CENT as a narcotics investigative unit with a focus on street crimes investigations.  

To Reach the CENT team, call (503) 397-1167

If there is no answer, leave a message.  Anonymous tips are also welcomed, but the more information we can get from callers that will help us verify criminal activity, the more we will be able to accomplish.

News and Notes Roundup!
The Sheriff's Office and the City of Clatskanie are still in discussions regarding the possibility of the City contracting police services to the Sheriff's Office.  The City is looking for a way to maximize scarce public safety dollars through partnering with the sheriff and leveraging economies of scale.  We are pleased to offer our assistance to the City in whatever way makes the most sense to the mayor and city council.  We believe this partnership can provide opportunities for the City to maintain an adequate policing presence-even with reductions in their budget-while at the same time expanding the sheriff's office presence in North County.  While talks continue with the City, it is not expected that services could begin before fall.  The City needs time to work out the contract and budget issues with the County, and once that is settled, the County will need a few weeks to make the transition before operations can begin full scale.  In the mean time, the Sheriff's Office has an augmentation agreement to respond to calls inside the City as our staffing is capable of responding.  During the July 4 holiday, CCSO deputies and reserves added extra staffing for the City's Heritage Days celebration.

Deputies have made a number of high profile arrests already this summer. On June 25, CCSO Deputies arrested Kodiack Stone, 26, Beaverton on attempted murder charges after an investigation into reported gunfire on Highway 47 outside of Vernonia on June 23. Soon after,  A 79-year-old Clatskanie man was behind bars and charged with  two counts of Sodomy First Degree, seven counts of Sexual Abuse First Degree and one count of Attempted Sexual Abuse First Degree after indictments on those charges by the Columbia County grand jury. Two victims testified before the grand jury on Thursday, June 23.

Our newest Enforcement Deputy graduates from the Public Safety Academy in Salem on Friday, July 15. Michelle Vandenburg began work as a Corrections Deputy with us in 2014, and was reassigned to the Patrol Unit when an opening was created with addition of a fifth patrol position in our new budget.  Adding another deputy increases by another 25 percent our ability to cover the 688 square miles of our County!

Community Resources
SAFE of Columbia County  
Provides services for victims and survivors of family violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and for persons facing other crises.

Community Action Team Resource Guide
Founded in 1966, Community Action Team is committed to:
  • Reducing the extent and negative effects of poverty
  • Increase family self-reliance
  • Improving community facilities and affordable housing stock
  Columbia County Warming Center Facebook Page -- When the weather turns cold and you have nowhere to go to sleep at night

Protect Yourself from SCAMS and IDENTITY THEFT! -- Resources from the Sheriff's Office to help defeat fraudulent schemes

It is our great pleasure to serve the citizens of Columbia County with premium law enforcement, corrections, civil and emergency response services.  Our vision is to
serve the citizens of our county with:
  • effective and efficient public safety services;
  • a safe, secure and efficient incarceration facility that contributes to a better quality of life; and,
  • reliable court and civil process services.
   Each employee is enabled to solve problems by taking ownership and believing he or she can form partnerships with our citizens and fellow public safety providers to make our community an ideal place to live, work and recreate. 

 For the current Agency-Wide Strategic Plan, You can go  Here!

For the sake of livable communities,

Columbia County Sheriff's Office
901 Port Ave.
St. Helens, OR 97051
Phone: (503) 366-4611
Fax: (503) 366-4644
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