2009 — Gary Johnson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory research scientist from Battle Ground, Wash., stands atop two large culverts installed in 2004 to restore the diked pasture at Columbia Land Trust’s Kandoll Farm property. The culverts allow for fish passage and the free exchange of water and nutrients between the marsh and the Grays River system.

10 years ago this week — 2009

This month, biologists made an exciting discovery on a tributary of Washington’s Grays River: thousands of chum salmon were swimming through a marsh that used to be pasture.

It didn’t take the fish long to find the site after Columbia Land Trust breached a dike in 2004 and installed two large culverts to allow water back into the 45-acre Kandoll Farm property, near Rosburg, Wash.

Now, juvenile chum are flooding in along with four other species of salmon.

“There are fish all over the marsh out here,” said Curtis Roegner, a biologist for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Hammond, who has sampled fish at the site since the breach. “This year is amazing because of the numbers of chum. We usually catch 300 the whole season. This time we caught 300 on one tide. It’s truly astounding.”

Unemployment rates on the North Coast and across the state continued their upward march last month.

As statewide unemployment hit 12.1 percent, Clatsop County’s seasonally adjusted rate reached 10.1 percent in March — higher than it’s been since the mid-1980s and more than double the March 2008 rate of 4.7 percent.

The hardest-hit industries are those tied to the housing market, including logging, wood products manufacturing and construction. In Clatsop County, food manufacturing and retail trade also lost jobs last month.

50 years ago — 1969

Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701 began Saturday morning picketing the two street entrances to the Port of Astoria, and are using a boat to picket the slip entrances. Local 701 has been supplying the crane operators but this job was recently taken over by the longshoremen.

Russ Joy, Local 701 business manager, said today the crane operators want to “publicize the fact the Brady Hamilton Corp. did wrongfully discharge the crane operators at the Port of Astoria.”

Crown Zellerbach’s plant at Wauna was struck at 8:50 a.m. today by the International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulfite and Paper Mill Workers and the United Papermakers and Paperworkers, which, at the Wauna plant, involves about 525 persons, according to Jack Brown, CZ public relations man.

When Capt. Karl E. Skovgaard of Svendborg, Denmark, visited the Astoria area this week, he did what most tourists do. He went to Clatsop Beach, where a British sailing vessel lies buried in the sands she ran aground on 63 years ago.

The Peter Iredale?

No. The Galena.

Both four-masted barks built in the same Scottish shipyard, the Galena and the Iredale, were lost within a month of each other on the same fateful beach half a world away.

Most people now remember the wreck of the Iredale because her bones still jut out of the sand at Fort Stevens State Park – while her “sister” ship, long since dismantled to the sandline, lies forgotten under a dune in Surf Pines.

But Capt. Skovgaard has better reason to remember the Galena.

He was on her when she was wrecked Nov. 13, 1906. An 18-year-old seaman, he made his way inland with other crew members to the home of Josiah West, who cared for the survivors while they awaited news of a ship to return them to England. Now 80 years old, and retired from a lifetime spent at sea, he returned this week (by plane, this time) to visit with the daughter of Josiah West, now Mrs. Harold See of Clatsop Plains, with whom he has exchanged letters for 63 years.

75 years ago — 1944

Letters addressed to the Astorian-Budget’s household arts department, ordering patterns, are no particular novelty as a usual thing. Scores of them arrive every month. But one that comes in the mail this week attracts real attention. The letter, via air mail, is from a Mrs. Francis Beatty of Astoria, Ill., a Midwest post office few citizens of John Jacob Astor’s old town here on the Columbia River probably knew was on the map.

People of Seaside and Gearhart have been waiting for weeks for the return of a famous visitor — Mrs. J.J. Pressman, or Claudette Corbert, diminutive brown-eyed actress of Hollywood fame, and now at last she is here. (Miss Colbert was here for a short time about a month ago, but her presence was not widely known.)

Miss Colbert is here to join her husband, Dr. Pressman of the Navy medical corps, who is soon to go aboard a Kaiser carrier as flight surgeon. She is making her home at the Gearhart hotel and will be here until he leaves.

Local post office authorities are having a bit of difficulty today in delivering a piece of mail that obviously came from a German prison camp addressed to Mr. Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon, U.S.A. Emile Grand is the name of the sender of the folder and the point of origin of the letter is apparently Lager-Bezeichun, Stalag II-A, believed to be a concentration point for German prisoners in the mountain country of Austria.

Neither Mr. Columbia River or any one by the name of Grand is listed in Astoria directories.

A special Eagle award court honoring Louis Wright, ex-Sea Scout now in the U.S. Navy, was the main feature of the Sea Scout dance Saturday night at the Odd Fellows hall.

Young Wright was the fifth Astorian to receive this award, highest in national scout work, during this year.

Bob Duke is the author of the weekly Water Under the Bridge column in The Astorian. Contact him at

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