Clatskanie was named after the Tlatskanai tribe of American Indians, who lived in the hills south of the Clatskanie River, in the upper Nehalem Valley. The tribe originally lived in the flatlands bordering the Chehalis River in Washington. As game became scarce and their food supply diminished, they crossed the Columbia River to occupy the hills above the Clatskanie River, driving away the Chinook Indians, a large tribe living along the Columbia River and the Oregon Coast. After driving away the more peaceful Chinook Indians, the Tlatskanai became established within the Clatskanie-Westport area.
The word Tlatskanai was used by these Indians to denote the route they took to get to a meeting place, applying it to particular streams. One source lists "Tlatskanai" as meaning "swift running water." Pioneers applied the name to the beautiful Clatskanie River and in 1891 Clatskanie became incorporated as a City.
Clatskanie is located in a timber-covered valley, in the center of the Lower Columbia region of Oregon. The city is located 35 miles east of Astoria on Hwy. 30 and 60 miles northwest of Portland. The elevation is 15 feet above sea level. Temperatures vary from 34 to 48 degrees in the winter, with occasional freezing weather and snowfall. Summer temperatures average 50 to 74 degrees, with occasional humid days reaching 95 degrees. The annual precipitation is 46.56 inches.