Vernonia began to grow as a rural town in the 1920s with the coming of the mill. Not much information is available from this time. It is believed during the Great Depression that the chamber was not active, however, in 1945 as the town grew in numbers, businessmen came together to promote Vernonia. This group was originally called the Booster Club with Ed Salomonsen as president.
In the early 1950s, businessmen began to look at prospects of the mill shutting down and Vernonia being rumored as becoming a “ghost town”. This is when they really banded together to promote Vernonia. The minutes and list of objectives from this group who first met in August of 1954 can be found at the Pioneer Museum in Vernonia. In 1956 An intensive clean-up, paint-up and fix-up campaign was launched. The mill did finally close in 1957 and the Chamber put forth every effort to improve the appearance of the city of Vernonia. That year, the idea was born for a celebration to bring people to Vernonia and a separate organization was formed – the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree Committee. The idea of promoting Vernonia as a friendship town was born.
In the years during the early 50s, 60s, and 70s they have published maps and brochures and made signs directing you to Vernonia. They have had Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year and even Woman of the Year! The Vernonia Chamber of Commerce has also been involved in transportation planning with the State of Oregon.
Currently, the Vernonia Area Chamber of Commerce is now pouring full steam ahead into Vernonia’s future; with the help of the city through marketing grants and planning, there is in the works a new sign (made from replica of old sign that chamber did years ago) to be located near Highway 26 to bring people to Vernonia again. New brochures and maps are again made and being distributed through the northwest. Business assistance training has been offered.