Mt. St. Helens
City of Kelso Washington - Train Station

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Welcome to Kelso


Located on Interstate 5, Kelso is at the confluence of the Cowlitz, Coweeman and Columbia Rivers. Kelso is 48 miles north of Portland, Oregon and 125 miles south of Seattle. Kelso is also only 80 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Kelso is a city in southwest Washington State and is the county seat of Cowlitz County. At the 2010 Census, the propulation was 11,925. Kelso shares its long western border with Longview, Washington.

Kelso operates under both a city charter and Washington state code governing municipalities. As such, it is the only Charter Code city in the state of Washington. The city is governed under the Council/Manager form of government. Kelso's charter specifies that seven council members are elected by the residents, with the council choosing a mayor from within itself every two years. 

Kelso has two sister cities: Kelso, United Kingdom and Sagara, Japan.

Whether you already live in our community and are anticipating starting a new business or looking for a location to build, Kelso has it all.