True tales

Well, it’s true, and Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr nailed it: The more things change, the more they stay the same. These two snippets from The Daily Morning Astorian prove the point.

Old-timers’ lament: There’s a lot of dressed and half-dressed kids running loose around this town every night that ought to be at home. They are not learning any good on the streets after dark.

These youngsters, 15 or 20 years from now, will be doing the kinds of business that the men of today are doing, though for their own good, it is to be hoped some of them will be in better business — and running the streets after dark is a poor preparation for a life career. (Feb. 1, 1888)

Sound familiar?: A godly and goodly business firm of Portland have written a horror-stricken letter to The Oregonian, wherein it appears they are deeply grieved to know that Astoria is in the hands of the roughs.

Let us mingle our tears. There is a pretty hard lot of citizens coming down here from Portland, and if it wasn’t for Win. Barry chasing them out of town on every night boat, probably our peaceful little city would be in the hands of the toughs.

And, if there were any trouble down here, how sorry Portland and its godly and goodly shipping merchants, et al, would be. Oh, for a forty-parson power to chant thy praise, hypocrisy! (Feb. 1, 1889)

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Daily Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or

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