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Cowlitz Container outgrows current facility at Port of Kalama, expands lease from 10,000 to 35,000 square foot facility

The thriving local company signs three-year lease at Kalama River Industrial Park, adds additional square footage to meet growing demand

Cowlitz Container & Die Cutting, a Pacific Northwest packaging, die cutting and bindery company, has signed a lease for 33,000 square feet of warehouse and an additional 2,129 office space at the Port of Kalama. The 49-year old company, which has been a 10,000 square foot tenant of the Port since 2016, now expands and consolidates its Port leasehold to accommodate growing demand for packaging solutions.

Cowlitz Container opened in 1971 as an upstart die company providing die-cutting services to local businesses in the corrugated and folding carton sectors of packaging. Rapid regional growth influenced further expansion of the packaging business—and with even greater demand today, the company enjoys robust growth serving the market for packaging and shrink-wrapping.

“The Port of Kalama is an ideal location for Cowlitz Container to expand its presence in the Pacific Northwest and to serve a growing customer base in the region because of its proximity to transportation routes and the availability of qualified labor,” says Ralph Clark, Cowlitz Container and Die Cutting. “We cannot say enough about the team at the Port—the staff is so supportive of our business needs and just terrific local partners.”

Cowlitz Container is among a growing number of industries and businesses who have found the Port of Kalama an ideal location to grow their businesses. The Port boasts an Industrial Park with buildings ideal for manufacturing, technology, storage and many other industry sectors. The new Spencer Creek Business Park is ready for mixed-use development on the east side of I-5. Sixteen acres of public riverfront parks stand out as popular recreational destinations for both locals and tourists.  Port officials cite several advantages for businesses like Cowlitz Container to expand operations in Kalama including:

  • No state corporate or personal income taxes
  • Collaborative, business-friendly environment
  • Affordable/competitive rates
  • Accessibility to all modes of transportation
  • Quality buildings, land on river/rail/Interstate
  • Quality of life, slow-paced, beautiful, quiet, hometown feel
  • Proximity to international airport at PDX—just 30 minutes away


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Look how far you’ve grown, Port of Kalama!

As we celebrate 100 years at the Port of Kalama, let’s honor the visionaries before us. Their thoughtful planning and preparation brought us the success we now share.

We gratefully carry their dreams forward in ways that will benefit the entire region for decades to come. This vision brings with it thousands of jobs, economic vitality, support for our community—and opportunities for all who live here in Cowlitz County.

Kalama is our home. Like you, we are stewards of the land and responsible for preserving its incredible natural beauty.

To continued success for our prosperous and beautiful community—cheers!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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It’s the place to be!

Look how far you’ve grown, Port of Kalama!

The 1990s exploded with infrastructure improvements that continue to attract new businesses and critical manufacturing facilities.

The arrival of the Australian company BHP Steel in the mid-90s—now called SteelScape—became the anchor for a new, local steel sector attracting other steel businesses to Kalama.

Next, a huge expansion, the Kalama River Industrial Park opened in 2000, ushering in the Port’s construction of 6 new buildings—an investment that reeled in even MORE light industrial tenants, including a glass bottle manufacturer.

The Port’s nurturing of industry and investment in infrastructure is a significant example of how it fulfills its core mission—to use capital investment for economic development, create jobs for the people of Kalama and recreational amenities for the community.

Check out our new video! 

Way to pay it forward! Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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If you build it, they will come.

If you build it, they will come. And come they did. Grains. Down the river, through Kalama and out to feed the world.

The Port of Kalama’s grain elevator was the accomplishment of Port Manager Ed Hendrickson. His new framework for business at the Port of Kalama would build facilities and lease them out to private industry. Brilliant! Hendrickson led the Port for 23 years, from 1950.

‘Where river, rail and road meet’ was a great slogan and good for business at the Port of Kalama.

Hendrickson shaped much of the waterfront, laying groundwork for the Port’s marina and spearheading the development of Marine Park. His successes provided revenue for future economic development. 

Check out the video!

And look at you now!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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All hail the USS Oregon!

The USS Oregon—of her many heroic feats, pulling Kalama out from the Great Depression is a local triumph.

After serving in several major wars, the Oregon came out of retirement when iron was needed for WWII.  She was towed to the Port of Kalama in March 1943 to be salvaged.

That launched a flurry of robust economic activity as workers were hired to break down the ship and repurpose its parts.

It was a boon for Kalama, patriotic and profitable—and you’re still going strong!

Check out our entertaining video on the USS Oregon!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Vroom! Vroom!

The post Depression era found Kalama in a great position to prosper, due to the planning of its leaders in forming the Port.

The Port of Kalama stood ready to rev up the local economy with help from Federal New Deal Programs of the 1930s.

Completion of the Bonneville Dam in 1937 by the Army Corps of Engineers brought clean, low-cost hydroelectric power to the region and also mitigated the Columbia River flooding. Bonus!

Stability for the Port of Kalama attracted new industries, such as grain, and chemical companies in addition to wood products. Many of the businesses attracted from the 40s to the 60s remain important tenants of the Port today—thank you, TEMCO, RSG Gram, and Emerald Kalama!

One hundred years later, you’re better than ever.

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Port of Kalama prepares for demolition of building formerly home to Absolute Concrete Colors

The Port dismantles the building to make way for redevelopment and beautification of the area

The Port of Kalama will demolish the building formerly occupied by Absolute Concrete Colors starting the week of August 17, 2020. The building is located at 1265 N. Hendrickson Drive, just off exit 30.

The building was originally built in 1985 for EZE Products and was most recently home to Absolute Concrete Colors. The building also housed North Star Yachts as a manufacturing facility.

The soil under the building was contaminated with hydrocarbons during its use. Most of the site was cleaned up by the operator that caused the contamination, but the area beneath the building was difficult to treat.  While the levels are modest, they still exceed state standards. Demolition of the building and removal of the concrete floor will allow work to commence on this persistent issue.

“In addition to facilitating the cleanup, this building has served its purpose for industrial tenants and is now obsolete to serve today’s mixed use and light industrial needs,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “We are discussing plans for redevelopment and beautification of this entrance to the Port once the site has been restored.”

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Fish On!

Something fishy happened where the Port of Kalama sits today.

The Doty Fish Company was hatched in 1895.

Built right on the Columbia River, fishermen could unload their catch directly to the processing plant taking advantage of the deep-water port—a feature the Port of Kalama capitalizes on to this day.

Through the intersection of the river and rail, the world got a taste of Pacific salmon.


We hope you’ll enjoy this entertaining video celebrating our 100th birthday!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Port of Kalama marina damaged early this morning

In the early hours this morning, an incident occurred at the Port of Kalama marina. The facility and docks as well as many of the boats moored there were damaged during the incident.

We are not exactly clear yet what happened, but the event is under investigation to determine the cause. The Port estimates in excess of $1 million in damage and is notifying boat owners of the impact. The Port is also working closely with authorities, insurance providers and other professionals to mitigate the impact of this event.

We will keep you all apprised as we learn more details. The Port recently invested in a $4.5 million upgrade and renovation at the marina. The impact, damage and loss to that facility is now under investigation, though vandalism has been ruled out.

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Just a friendly reminder…….

The SP&S Locomotive comes home!

While we are thrilled to welcome the historic SP&S Locomotive home to the Port of Kalama Interpretive Center, we’ll have to postpone visitation and public traffic here for now. We’ll celebrate the grand arrival once the Interpretive Center and our facilities open again to the public. Check out the article in TDN about the arrival of this beauty!

Centennial Event Cancellation

The Port of Kalama Centennial Celebration Launch that was initially scheduled at the Interpretive Center for Friday, April 24, 2020 has also been cancelled. But we hope you’ll mark your calendars for our 100th Birthday Festivities in Marine Park on Saturday, July 25, 2020. We’ll all be ready to celebrate!


The Port of Kalama offices, facilities and the Interpretive Center remain closed for the safety of the community. Port parks remain open for your enjoyment but please practice safe social-distancing and cleanly practices in public places.

Port staff are maintaining operations through a combination of social-distancing and remote work from home—and we’re here to answer any questions you may have. Call us anytime between 8a and 5p at 360-673-2325 or email us at

The Port will communicate updates as they become available.

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