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Columbia City wasn't always a bustling community… the Rainier Valley was a dense forest until the arrival of the Rainier Valley Electric Railway from Seattle in 1891.


The railroad was used by C.D. Hillman to promote the sale of Columbia City lots, a lumber mill was soon built, and settlement of "Columbia", named after Christopher Columbus, began in earnest.


Columbia was incorporated as “Columbia City” in January 1893, and was annexed to Seattle on May 3, 1907. It was during this prosperous era in the early 1900’s that much of Columbia City’s commercial district took form.


The district's 2- and 3-story buildings expressed similar turn-of-the-century architectural styles and shared a similar scale geared to pedestrian use and streetcar traffic.


In the late 1930′s and 40′s, Columbia City entered a period of slow decline, soon followed by a period of benign neglect and outright deterioration.


By the mid-1970's, the business district experienced trying times, with many of the storefronts vacant or boarded up. Local residents, recognizing the intrinsic value of the district, sought designation of Columbia City as a Landmark District.


If the late-70's marked a turning point in the preservation of Columbia City's building stock, it also was a turning point for boot-strap community activism.


The character and vitality Columbia City displays today is the result of active, positive choices made by individuals and groups in the hope of building and rebuilding a sense of community and a special place.


Rainier Valley Historical Society


Photos are courtesy of the Rainier Valley Historical Society. Their mission is to document the story of the Valley and all its inhabitants through the collection, preservation, and interpretation of documents, photographs, and artifacts.

Learn more about Columbia City’s History

HistoryLink   Wikipedia   City of Seattle

About The Columbia City Business Association

About CCBA

The Columbia City Business Association (CCBA) is a vibrant organization of business owners, property owners, and residents dedicated to making Columbia City a “great place”.

The CCBA cherishes what we share as Columbia City stakeholders. We want to move forward as a community, supporting those who are here and welcoming those who will be coming.


Columbia City will maintain an authentic small town sensibility where a diverse residential population converges to meet neighbors, accomplish a full range of daily activities, and support independent locally-owned businesses. We will continue to be a family-friendly dining, shopping, arts and entertainment district, because we will have a safe, welcoming, walkable community with ample commercial spaces, adequate parking and thoughtful links to efficient transit. Visitors will seek us out and businesses will choose to locate here.

the ccba offers two different types of memberships:

1. Business Memberships
Businesses located in the Columbia City Business District or any business committed to advancing the goals and vision of Columbia City is welcome to join and qualify for a business level membership. Business level memberships also include a full listing on the our

2. Resident Membership
Individuals or businesses that do not qualify for a business membership may join the CCBA with a resident level membership.

Regardless of membership type, all members are welcome to the monthly general membership meeting to connect with your fellow community members and participate in discussions.  The CCBA membership meets the first Tuesday of every month at 9:00 AM at The Royal Room (5000 Rainier Avenue South).

For information about joining the CCBA, please contact us.

How we operate:

On an annual cycle, the organization establishes priorities, develops a work plan, and adopts a budget. Our projects are funded by member dues and occasional grants, and are assigned to one of four committees for oversight:

Membership Committee
Welcomes new businesses, works to expand our membership, and actively seeks a membership profile that reflects the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity that characterizes our neighborhood. We now support online membership applications!

Marketing Committee
Manages BeatWalk, organizes special events, and conducts joint promotions.

Business Development Committee
Recruits new businesses to the district, maintains and improves the district’s infrastructure and streetscape, and addresses development issues like traffic, parking, and alley use.

Goodwill Committee
Promotes connections and positive relations among the members of our for-profit and non-profit business community.

Executive Committee
Oversees the work plan and budget, collects dues, and manages internal and external communications, including this website.

Membership/Renewal Application


The Columbia City Business Association (CCBA) is a vibrant organization of business owners, property owners, and residents dedicated to making Columbia City a “great place”. CCBA meets at 9:00 am, the first Tuesday of every month at The Royal Room (5000 Rainier Avenue South).

how to register

One of the benefits of becoming a member is to get your business listed in the Business Directory on this website. There are two ways that you can register to become a CCBA Member:

1. Complete and submit the hard-copy Membership Form (2016)
2. Register through the website following the instructions below:

  • Create an account by completing the web form below.
  • You will receive an email with a link to activate your account.
  • Once your account is activated, please log in to continue the Membership process and pay your dues. Note: Payments are processed through Paypal.
  • Once payment has been processed, you will be able to add your business information along with a brief description and logo or image to the directory. Click on your username (top right) and select “Add your business”.

membership dues

Below is an overview of the yearly membership dues: Business 1 – 10 employed $60 Business 11 – 19 employed $120 Business 20 – 40 employed $180 Business 41 or more employed $240 Resident Membership $25

Create an Account

Thank You for taking the first step to becoming a CCBA Member.
You will receive an email with a link to activate your account.

Once activated, sign-in to your columbiacityseattle.com account to continue with payment.

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Membership Benefits include:

      • Attend monthly general member meetings
      • Elect to receive the minutes to stay abreast of community changes/events
      • Network with other businesses and neighbors
      • Participate/volunteer for special events in our community that foster a strong sense  of community among members, local businesses, and neighbors
      • Be informed on changes and growth in our business community and play an active role  in our growth as a community
      • Your business listed on ColumbiaCitySeattle.com web site!
      • Co-operative marketing opportunities to encourage shoppers to our business district
      • Access to governmental programs/services for business improvements
      • ‘Meet the Merchants’ campaign
      • If your business is a non-profit, you may be the quarterly feature of the Goodwill Committee, which looks to help get the word out about your organization
      • Opportunity to apply for Entrepreneur level membership with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce



The CCBA is involved in a number of different programs to help further grow and enrich our community. Contact us to find out how you can take part.

Seattle Metro Chamber

The CCBA is committed to helping grow small businesses and maximizing the advocacy voice of all Seattle employers. As part of a special agreement we have with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, we are pleased to offer your small business free reciprocal membership with the Seattle Metro Chamber to help increase your presence in Seattle’s broader business community.

To learn more, review the Entrepreneur Tier Sheet.

Landmark District

Landmark District

The Columbia City Landmark District is one of Seattle’s eight historic districts. It is a collection of commercial buildings, churches, apartments and houses.

Go to the Columbia City Landmark District website if you have a question about the historic district or need to submit an application for a Certificate of Approval.

Columbia City Landmark District office hours are held on the second Thursday of each month from 9:00 – 11:00 AM at Tutta Bella. Community members can drop-in and do not need to make an appointment during that time. The upcoming office hour dates are: May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 12, and December 10.

Local News

Local News

Keep up with neighborhood news on the following websites: