Current News


The dry spring season, coupled with reduced discharges from the Riffe and Mayfield Dams, have resulted in lower than normal flows in the Cowlitz River.  These conditions are affecting the output capability of our Ranney collector.  If these conditions continue, the Kelso system may reach a point where adequate amounts of water cannot be produced to fully meet utility customer demand.

Therefore, the City of Kelso is asking residents to help conserve water.

Please see the full press release for details.

For questions, please call the Engineering Department at 360-423-6590

 The City of Kelso is pleased to invite community agencies and event organizers to submit requests for lodging tax funding that will be considered for the 2019 budget year.

If your agency/organization would like to request financial support from the Lodging Tax Fund, please submit a Request for Funding form to the City Manager’s office no later than July 31, 2018 at 5:00 pm. Applications may be submitted directly by email to or mailed to City Hall at PO Box 819, Kelso, WA 98626.

Lodging Tax Funds are available for agencies and events that will promote tourism and encourage participants to sample the hospitality of the citizens and businesses of our area.

Please contact the City Manager's office at 360-577-3301 with questions.

Make a Great First Impression for your Business

As low as 0% interest loans to eligible property owners to enhance commercial buildings and storefronts within the program's designated area.

Loan amount is 80% of eligible project costs incurred, up to $30,000 based off of building front footage.    

Informational Letters sent to business owners the week of June 25, 2018.

For more information visit Downtown Kelso Facade Improvement Plan or




Old Pacific Highway Pavement Repairs


Beginning June 18 and ending June 22, Old Pacific Highway will be closed for road repairs between UNeek RV and approximately ½ mile to the South. The road work will repair a section of Old Pacific Highway that has settled as a result of land movement. Nutter Corp. will complete the work under contract with the City of Kelso. During the road closure, traffic will be detoured around the closure via Kalama River Road and I-5.

Following the five day closure, the road will be open, but single lane closures will be necessary for up to a week to allow for completion of guardrail replacement and restoration work along the edge of the road.  While single lane closures are in place, traffic will be flagged through the work area. Delays should be expected.

Construction will be completed by June 29, 2018.

If you have questions about the project, contact Paul Klope, 360-577-3322.

Updates will be posted on the City’s webpage and Facebook page.

June 7, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cowlitz County Administration Building - General Meeting Room, 3rd Floor, 207 4th Avenue North, Kelso.

File your Business License Application online.

The City of Kelso partners with the state Business Licensing Service to support its city license program.  Businesses get convenient online registration and renewal services connected to other Washington cities and public agencies.

Licensing helps public safety agencies to contact you in an emergency and improves resources to better support economic development in our city.

Am I required to get a city business license?

City businesses - companies and individuals - must obtain a city license if doing business within City limits.  Using the online service is the fastest way to apply.

Who is exempt from licensing?

Businesses exempt from local license requirements include:

  • Casual or isolated sales.
  • Common carrier delivery of goods and services within city limits.
  • Minors engaged in baby-sitting, newpaper delivery, lawn mowing, and car washing.

How Much Does It Cost?

Kelso general business license                      $50.00

Kelso home occupation businesses               $50.00

Kelso nonprofit business license                    No Fee

Other Fees that may apply

State tax registration                                     No Fee

Register a trade name                                   $5.00

Application processing                                  $19.00 (non-refundable)

How do I get started?

All businesses operating in the State of Washington must register with the Department of Revenue.  File your application when you start business, or when you change or update your business:

Renew Business License on line.