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4 Tourist Attractions
5 Colleges and Universities
The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805-6 at Fort Clatsop, a small log structure south and west of modern day Astoria. The expedition had hoped a ship would come by to take them back east, but instead endured a tortuous winter of rain and cold, then returned east the way they came. Today the fort has been recreated and is now a national monument.
Several years later, in 1811, Astor's Pacific Fur Company founded Fort Astoria as its primary fur-trading post in the Northwest, and in fact the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific coast. It was an extremely important post for American exploration of the continent and was influential in helping establish American claims to the land. The fort and fur trade was sold to the British in 1813, and while the fort was restored to the U.S. in 1818, control of the fur trade would remain under the British until American pioneers following the Oregon Trail began filtering into the port town in the mid-1840's. The first U.S. Post Office west of the Rocky Mountains was also established in Astoria in 1847.
As the Oregon territory grew and became increasingly more settled, Astoria likewise grew as an ocean/river port. In 1876 it was legally incorporated. It attracted a host of Scandinavian settlers, and the area still boasts a high concentration of descendants of these original settlers.
In addition to Fort Clatsop, another popular point of interest includes the Astoria Column, a tower 38 m high built atop the hill above the town, with an inner circular staircase allowing visitors to climb to see a breathtaking view of the town, the surrounding lands, and the mighty Columbia flowing into the Pacific. The column was built in 1926 to commemorate the region's early history by the Astor family.
Eclipsed by Portland, Oregon and other ports further inland along the Columbia, Astoria's economy centered around fishing, fish processing, and lumber, which has declined since the 1970s. It has served as a port of entry for hundreds of years and remains the trading center for the lower Columbia basin. Today, tourism and light manufacturing are the main economic activities.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.5 km² (10.6 mi²). 15.9 km² (6.1 mi²) of it is land and 11.6 km² (4.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 42.18% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 9,813 people, 4,235 households, and 2,469 families residing in the city. The population density is 617.1/km² (1,597.6/mi²). There are 4,858 housing units at an average density of 305.5/km² (790.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 91.08% White, 0.52% African American, 1.14% Native American, 1.94% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 2.67% from other races, and 2.46% from two or more races. 5.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 4,235 households out of which 28.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% are married couples living together, 11.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% are non-families. 35.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.26 and the average family size is 2.93.
In the city the population is spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $33,011, and the median income for a family is $41,446. Males have a median income of $29,813 versus $22,121 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,759. 15.9% of the population and 11.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 22.0% are under the age of 18 and 9.6% are 65 or older.