Starting a Business

Starting a successful business requires preparation. The following steps are intended to provide a guide to agencies that can assist you.

  1. Call the Oregon Corporation Division, (503) 986-2200 or go to for information on registering a business with the State of Oregon.
  2. Develop a business plan. This is essential especially if you want to seek financial assistance from an outside source. Clatsop Community College’s Small Business Development Center provides assistance to individuals who need to put a business plan together. The center has a packet available for new businesses. Call (503) 338-2402 or visit
  3. Take advantage of:
    1. The Small Business Development Center’s regular workshops and seminars on subjects of interest to small business owners.
    2. Demographic information on Clatsop County from the Clatsop County Department of Transportation and Development at (503) 325-8611.
    3. The packet of information for new business available from the Astoria Office of the Oregon Employment Department at (503) 325-4821.
  4. Check your local license requirements.
    No countywide business license is required; however, a Development Permit is required. Apply for a Development Permit from Clatsop County Land Planning, 800 Exchange St., Suite 100, Astoria, OR 97103, or phone (503) 325-8611. There is a $85 fee for the Development Permit.

    All the cities in Clatsop County issue an annual business license or occupation tax.

    Astoria: Astoria uses a base of $35 per business, including the owner as one employee, plus $12.50 per employee for the first 10 employees, up to $147.50. After the first 10 employees, the fee decreases for the next 10 employees to $8.75 per employee. For the next 10 employees after the first 20, add $6.25 per employee. After the first 30 employees, add $5.00 per employee for the next 20; and after the first 50 employees, add $2.50 per employee. For further information contact Astoria City Hall, (503) 325-5821.

    Cannon Beach: $75 for a business with one or two employees; $125 for a business with three to five employees; and $250 for a business with six or more employees. Additionally, Cannon Beach has an Initial Business License Application for a Short-term rental of $200.00 and a Farmers Market Vendor, June - October $10.00. Home occupations and some contractors are exempt from the surcharge. Contact Cannon Beach City Hall, (503) 436-1581.

    Gearhart: $40 per business per year, plus $12.50 per employee per year. Contact Gearhart City Hall, (503) 738-5501.

    Seaside: One-time $20 business license application fee and annual business license fee, based on type of business and number of employees. Contact Seaside City Hall at (503) 738-5511.

    Warrenton: $75, including one owner as an employee, plus $7.00 per employee. Contact Warrenton City Hall, (503) 861-2233.

  5. Check zoning for business location. Be sure the location you choose for your business is properly zoned for your business activity. If you are planning to operate a business from your home, you will need to determine if there are restrictions on home-based businesses in your area.

    Clatsop County: Contact the Clatsop County Land Use Planning, (503) 325-8611.
    Astoria: Contact the Astoria Community Development Department, (503) 338-5183.
    Cannon Beach: Contact the Cannon Beach Planning Department, (503) 436-1581.
    Gearhart: Contact the Gearhart City Administrator, (503) 738-5501.
    Seaside: Contact the Seaside Planning Department, (503) 738-7100.
    Warrenton: Contact the Warrenton Planning Department, (503) 861-0920.

  6. Obtain income tax and other tax information. The Internal Revenue Service provides a free packet of publications and forms on federal tax requirements for businesses. The packet, called “Small Business Tax Kit,” can be obtained by calling (800) 829-3676. Forms may be downloaded from the Internal Revenue Service’s web page:

    There are some federal taxes that apply to specific products and services. For general tax information, contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040. For information on Oregon taxes contact: Oregon Department of Revenue, (503) 378-4988. Clatsop County and the cities of Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart, Seaside, and Cannon Beach collect hotel-motel taxes. Contact the appropriate city hall or Clatsop County’s Central Services at (503) 325-8565.

  7. Arrange for personal property report. Contact the Clatsop County Assessor at (503) 325-8522 for specific information on what personal property is taxable and to obtain forms.
  8. Check with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division. Many substances with commercial applications have special storage, handling and disposal requirements. Contact Oregon Department of Environmental Quality at (800) 452-4011; OSHA at (503) 378-3272, or (800) 922-2689 inside Oregon, or the State Fire Marshall at (503) 373-1540.
  9. Obtain a federal tax I.D. number and determine if you must comply with Americans with Disabilities Act. To apply for the federal tax I.D. number call (800) 829-3676. For information about the Americans with Disabilities Act call the Northwest ADA & IT Center at (800) 949-4232, or visit the web site:
  10. If you will hire employees, you will need to check additional agencies to file a combined employer registration report form, obtain a withholding exemption certificate for each employee, obtain workers’ compensation insurance, receive safety and health regulations, request immigration and naturalization forms, and receive other employer information. A listing of these agencies is found in the Oregon Business Guide.
  11. Building permits for the unincorporated areas of Clatsop County are issued by the Building Codes Division of the Clatsop County Department of Community Development. The building inspection program is for structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and manufactured dwellings.

The Building Codes Division is located at 800 Exchange St., Suite 100, Astoria, Oregon. The office telephone number is (503) 338-3697. Electrical permits may also be obtained at the City of Cannon Beach, (503) 436-1581, until further notice.