Introduction to Kelso, Washington

Kelso, Washington is 37 miles N of Vancouver, Washington (center to center) and 44 miles N of Portland, Oregon. It is in Cowlitz county. The population of the city is 11,895.

Kelso History

Native Americans who belonged to the Cowlitz tribe were the original inhabitants of this area. The earliest European explorers came to this area in 1855. Peter Crawford founded Kelso in 1884. He named it after Kelso, Scotland which is where he was from. In its early days, Kelso had many taverns and brothels catering to the local loggers. This led to it being nicknamed "little Chicago".

Kelso and nearby Attractions

  • Highland Park
  • Coweeman River
  • Harding Creek
  • Cowlitz County Historical Museum
  • Longview Country Club
  • Mint Valley Golf Course

Things To Do In Kelso

Kelso has a lot in store for history buffs, beginning with the Cowlitz County Museum, which has many exhibits that date back to the late 1880s when the town was established. The museums offer walking tours of the historic sites of Kelso. The Highlander Festival is a much anticipated local celebration. The Kilted Klassic Golf tournament is another local event that attracts golf lovers.

Kelso Transportation

Portland International Airport is the nearest major airport.

Kelso Higher Education

Facilities for higher education are available at Lower Columbia College, Clark College, and University of Portland.


Total Population 11,837
Male Share of the Population 50%
Female Share of the Population 50%
Senior Citizens 12.1%
Employed Population 16+ 3,606
Age of the Population 33


% of people married 37.4%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 10%
Median Earnings25+ $23,469
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $13,870
Median Earnings With High School Degree $23,343


Median Family Income $36,324
% Above Poverty Level 67.9%
% Below Poverty Level 32.1%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 20 minutes
% Working from Home 1.1%
% Walking and Biking to Work 4.2%
% Using Public Transportation 0.2%


People Living Alone 25.1%
Median Gross Rent $780
Median House Value $115,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 38.2%
US/American 0%
English 9.2%
Irish 10%

Kelso Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 37 miles N of Vancouver, Washington (center to center)
Nearest Large City 44 miles N of Portland, Oregon
County Cowlitz
Standard Zip Codes 98626
Phone Area Codes 360
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 46.146
Longitude -122.907

Kelso Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.5 miles
Jan Temp 34 to 46 F
Apr Temp 40 to 61 F
Jul Temp 53 to 77 F
Oct Temp 43 to 63 F
Annual Precip 48 inches
Distance 30.9 miles
Jan Temp 32 to 46 F
Apr Temp 39 to 60 F
Jul Temp 51 to 78 F
Oct Temp 40 to 64 F
Annual Precip 53.3 inches
Station COUGAR 6 E
Distance 34.4 miles
Jan Temp 33 to 43 F
Apr Temp 40 to 58 F
Jul Temp 53 to 78 F
Oct Temp 45 to 62 F
Annual Precip 116.1 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Castle Rock 2,030 $45,400
Kalama 2,616 $52,399
Longview 36,589 $49,293
Toledo 668 $73,125
Vader 645 $46,625
Woodland 5,535 $64,500
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Kelso High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,207 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.8

Serves 32 students.

A Special Education School
Serves 1 students.

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Info for Kelso Government Officials

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