Clark County Spotlight
One of the first counties to be established, Clark County has a long and significant history. First settled in 1825 with the creation of Fort Vancouver, Clark County was initially established as “Vancouver District” in 1845. Following the creation of the Oregon Territory in 1849, Clark County was renamed to honor one of the first Europeans to discover the region, William Clark, whose expedition had passed through the county in 1805.
Vancouver, Clark County’s large and prosperous county seat, is a hub for county commerce. Originally a trading post for the British Hudson Bay Company, Vancouver has established itself as a center for the county’s many industries, including manufacturing, electronics, social services, hospitality, professional services, retail trade, construction, wholesale trade, and public education. Like many other counties, agriculture was the first and most prominent industry in Clark County until the late 1800s, when hydroelectric power, stemming from the dams on the Columbia, allowed manufacturing businesses to prosper. Now, Clark County represents one of the state’s most diverse economies.
In 2015, Clark County became the 7th county in the state to adopt a “Home Rule” Charter. The charter aimed to implement three key measures: the separation of the legislative and executive functions, the expansion of the county council to include 5 members, and the designation of referendum and initiative powers to county residents. Sent out in the November 2014 ballot, voters approved the charter, launching the two-year transition process on January 1st, 2015.