If your teen has procrastinated starting driver education until the summer, Columbia River Driver Education is the perfect course for them.

Columbia River Driver Education instructor and owner Rich Greene is now accepting signups for the summer program.

“One of the things we see is we get a tremendous amount of people who sign up the night of parents’ orientation,” Greene said.

Orientation for Rainier will be from 6 to 7 p.m. on on Monday, June 17, fn Room 103 at Rainier High School.

Regular lessons will be in the Rainier School District Boardroom. Lessons start on June 19 for Rainier, and June 20 for St. Helens. 

Columbia River Driver Education has been offering the driver's education classes for the community for sometime. In previous years, the business split classes evenly between Rainier and St. Helens, with students required to attend classes in both locations. This year, they are running two separate programs, with classes running in parallel in either city. Classes will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in St. Helens, and Tuesday and Thursday in Rainier.

“That way, we can try to reach as many kids over the summer as possible, in the hopes of reaching more students,” Greene said.

Cost of the program varies by package. The basic package is $610. However, for students who are 15 through 17 years old, the state will automatically scholarship them $210, according to Greene, making the cost $400, which Greene says most of the students pay. Additionally, students who qualify for free or reduced lunch may also meet the criteria for other need-based scholarships.

The advanced package is the cost of the basic package, plus the cost of additional one-on-one driver instruction time, which varies by the amount of additional time requested.

The premier package is for students who might need more additional instruction time due to a disability or other inhibition that impacts traditional learning.

Students can also request more hours of private training at an added cost.

Before taking the class, students must have their permit, and the company is offering a free permit class on Friday, June 14 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Loo Wit room of St. Helens High School.

According to Greene, the driver education course is approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and includes 30 hours of classroom training and six hours of behind the wheel training.

Greene believes his education course will be valuable both to students and the community at large.

“The number one killer of teens is driving. We’ve experienced that too much in our county. I’m just really grateful to get the word out to try to educate and cut our statistics down,” Greene said.


Orientation: 6 -7:30 p.m., June 17

Room 103 Rainier High School

Classes: 9 a.m. – noon

Rainier School District Boardroom

June 19, 25, 27

July 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 29, 31

St. Helens

Orientation: 6 – 7:30 p.m., June 18

Loo-Wit Room, St. Helens High School

Classes: 9 a.m. – noon

Loo-Wit Room, St. Helens High School

June 20, 24, 26

July 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26


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