The Columbia 9-1-1 Communications District is an Oregon special district formed under ORS 198 and ORS 401. The District is governed by a Board of Directors elected from five geographic zones within Columbia County. The Directors serve at large and select their President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The Board governs with the participation of a statutory Advisory Committee consisting of appointed executives from each public and private safety organization within the jurisdiction. The Board appoints 5 citizen members to its annual Budget Committee.
The Columbia 9-1-1 Communications District taxing authority boundaries match those of Columbia County, located in northwest Oregon. The county is included in the Portland Metropolitan Labor Pool. The Columbia River forms the county's east and north border, with Clatsop County to the west; Multnomah County to the southeast, and Washington County to the southwest. The Lewis & Clark Bridge, located near Rainier in north Columbia County, bridges the Columbia River to the cities of Longview and Kelso in Cowlitz County, Washington. The primary transportation routes serving the jurisdiction are Highway 30, Highway 47 and Highway 202. The Pacific & Western Railroad runs along the Columbia River the length of the county. Columbia County has the longest exposure to the Columbia River of any county in Oregon. Other significant waterways in the county include the Nehalem and Clatskanie Rivers.
The District provides all 9-1-1 call taking and dispatching for all public safety agencies based in Columbia County, including Scappoose Police, Fire & Ambulance, Vernonia Police, Fire and Medical, Metro West Ambulance (Vernonia contract), Mist-Birkenfeld Fire and Ambulance, Clatskanie Police, Fire and Ambulance, Rainier Police, Columbia City Police, Columbia River Fire and Rescue, St. Helens Police, Columbia County Sheriff and certain communications support services for Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Forestry. The District also provides communications support services for city and county road and public works, the District Attorney, Parole and Probation, Juvenile Department, Adult and Family Services, Women's Resource Center, Trojan Nuclear Plant and works closely with the two PUD's during weather events.
The service area for the 9-1-1 District totals 687 square miles of mostly mountainous terrain and includes the small portions of Clatsop and Multnomah Counties within the Scappoose, Mist-Birkenfeld and Clatskanie Fire and Ambulance service areas.
Enhanced 9-1-1, computer based radio control and computer aided dispatch systems have been in use since 1999-2000.
The public safety radio and data communications system are supported by five microwave sites; three in Columbia County, one in Cowlitz County, WA and one in Clark County, WA. The voice radio system is a countywide narrowband VHF 8-channel simulcast system that has established interoperability disciplines among all agencies and flexible uses according to activity level and severity. The UHF mobile data backbone is supported by the microwave system and has the capacity to serve both Columbia and Cowlitz County public safety agencies. The microwave system also supports remote access to computer-aided dispatch records and has the capacity to support remote video arraignment.
Both the voice radio and data systems were made possible by federal funds. The primary source of operating funds for the District are property taxes and 9-1-1 excise taxes. The District does not charge service fees to the public safety agencies it serves.