10 years ago this week — 2005

Bad driving cost Todd Snider a hefty fine and six hours in the Tillamook County Jail.

But who can put a price on inspiration?

Snider, a musician and Beaverton High School graduate, put his tribute to that episode on his newest CD “East Nashville Skyline.” The “Tillamook County Jail” single has started to get radio play, and the CD was named one of The Associated Press’ “sterling yet overlooked albums of 2004” and one of Blender Magazines 50 greatest CDs of 2004.

A significant archeological find at the site of the Lewis and Clark encampment at Station Camp in Washington has thrown a roadblock in front of the highway re-alignment and park project planned for the site.

Researchers conducting archeological surveys of the site near U.S. Highway 101, two miles west of the north end of the Astoria Bridge last week, uncovered the remains of wooden planks and other artifacts believed to be from a Chinook Indian house.

The find prompted the Chinook Tribe to request that the highway project, due to begin Monday be postponed until more is learned about the site.

50 years ago — 1965

Final preparations to receive 200 students next week at Tongue Point Job Corps Center were in swift progress at the former naval station Wednesday and will continue intensively right up to arrival time.

The history of Tongue Point naval station, now becoming a Job Corps center, goes back to the years of World War I and immediately thereafter.

Oregon residents believed that there should be naval protection for the important Columbia River, gateway to all Northwest United States.

Some naval authorities concurred in this opinion; others did not.

Some of these board members recommended establishment of at least a submarine and destroyer base. The Navy agreed this should be done. Then citizens endorsed action of the Clatsop County court in offering the Tongue Point site free to the government.

In 1921 the Navy accepted and announced plans to establish a base for subs and destroyers. It went as far as to level some ground and build three wooden fingerpiers, in the same location where the northernmost piers now stand.

But then the Navy stopped. Nothing happened and years went by. Tongue Point became a favorite picnic area and swimming hole. Some folk moored house boats at the wooden piers.

Eventually, in the early 1930s, the community took up the Tongue Point cause again. Support was enlisted from all over the state of Oregon and the Columbia Defense League was formed to demand that either the Navy develop Tongue Point or restore the donated property to Clatsop County.

So a vigorous campaign for development of the base was launched. It went on for several years, involving eight trips to Washington, D.C., by local committees headed by the late M.R. Chessman, publisher of the Astorian-Budget. The community carried the fight over the heads of the Navy high command to the desk of President D. Roosevelt.

At last, in 1939, the Navy approved establishment of an air station and then work began. With great speed, the permanent piers, building and roads of the present Tongue Point establishment were built, and navy airmen moved in with PBY patrol planes just as World War II became imminent.

When war broke out, the existence of a naval operation at the mouth of the Columbia became extremely important, fully justifying the long campaign to have it established there.

When the war ended, the Navy converted Tongue Point into a base for amphibious fighting craft of its reserve fleet. Most of the present piers were built at that time, and eventually up to 400 craft of all kinds, up to and including tank landing ships, were berthed there. Two thousand men manned the bustling station. Repair work was done constantly on the ships.

But gradually the size of the operation dwindled as economy waves followed one after another through Congress and the Pentagon, and as the World War II amphibious vessels gradually became obsolescent.

Finally in 1961 President J.F. Kennedy announced closure of the station along with 50 other military establishments scattered over the U.S.

Faced with loss of its major payroll, the city of Astoria looked around for some other use for the fine physical plant of the air station.

75 years ago — 1940

Astoria High School’s high flying Fishermen, after winning their 14th game Saturday night in 17 starts, were signed to meet the Oregon State Rooks here Friday night as the feature event of a county-wide Finnish relief program for the Regatta pavilion, the committee in charge of the program announced today.

Friday night a basketball game for Finnish relief will be played in the Regatta pavilion. Adult tickets are a half-dollar, children, 25 cents. All receipts for this event, after payment of minimum expenses approved by the local relief committee, will be added to the national fund for assistance to the Finns. Oregon States’ Freshmen will meet our high school.

The game should net a substantial sum. It is a part of the campaign for relief funds.

On every hand one hears sympathy expressed for the Finns; those in Finland fighting for their lives, their freedom from tyranny, their human rights.

G.A. Hellberg, member of the Finnish Relief committee, said today Astoria’s West End absorbed almost 500 tickets to the Astoria High School-Oregon State Rook basketball game for Finnish relief.

Bob Duke is the author of the weekly Water Under the Bridge column in The Daily Astorian. Contact him at beachduke@gmail.com

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