10 years ago this week — 2009

Astoria developer Floyd Holcom was granted a one-year permit extension Tuesday from the Astoria Planning Commission for the four-story riverfront hotel he and his partners plan to build between 38th and 39th streets and between the Riverfront Trolley tracks and Lief Erickson Drive. The commission also considered a city code interpretation that will govern the siting of wind turbines within the city limits.

After a public hearing on Holcom’s request, the commission voted in favor of extending the permit for a variance, which allows Holcom and his Portland partners, doing business as Pier 38 Marina & RV Park LLC, to construct a building that will have varying heights between 36 feet and 48 feet. Holcom needed the variance because the maximum height limit for the property, which is now zoned Tourist-Oriented Shoreland, is 28 ft.

Listen to Lt. Cmdr. Mark Vlaun’s account of trying to tie up the 225-foot Coast Guard cutter Fir to its home berth at Tongue Point last winter and you’ll realize he is a patient man.

It had gotten to be so difficult to park the seagoing buoy tender at its pier, that he recalls waiting days outside the Columbia River bar to take advantage of a slim window of opportunity when weather, tides and currents were just right.

“In winter, there are just 45 minutes a day when we can tie up. Finding that combination of events in Astoria takes a long time,” Vlaun said.

The old pier was built in 1933, but in May, a much-needed $5.5 million overhaul of the aging pier was completed. The upgrade added an extra, more accessible slip for the ship and gave Fir’s crew a solid surface to work on.

The Astoria City Council took a leap of faith into the financially troubled Aquatic Center Monday.

Members agreed to pay $14,000 to a consultant who is charged with implementing marketing programs for the pool in the few days remaining before schools let out next week.

For at least the third time since 1966, a section of land above the Portland & Western Railroad near Brownsmead has collapsed.

The landslide, which took place May 22, sent mounds of debris tumbling onto the end of Aldrich Road and covered railroad cars that were being stored on the line, according to Ed Wegner, Clatsop County community development director.

One of the fiercest noxious weeds on the North Coast is at its most vulnerable this month.

The blazing yellow Scotch broom is in full bloom, but it hasn’t put out its seedpods yet.

Now is the time to nab it.

50 years ago — 1969

More than 9,000 of 14,686 registered voters in Clatsop County balloted Tuesday in the special Oregon sales tax referendum and local voters rejected the issue 8,269 to 767.

With the passage of the Memorial Day weekend, the tourist season is underway, and it’s off to a good start, according to Jean Hallaux, manager of the Astoria Chamber of Commerce.

The influx of out-of-towners kept the motels busy, Hallaux said, and Fort Stevens State Park was full over the weekend. The chamber office itself has experienced spottiness, in that sometimes there are many tourists with many questions, and at other times, “business” is slow.

The United States National Bank of Oregon and The Daily Astorian announced plans for new buildings in Astoria today.

The bank announced purchase of the newspaper’s present site and plans to remove the building and build a new bank. The newspaper announced purchase of property on Exchange Street, between Ninth and 10th, and plans to construct a plant for itself on the southeast corner of Exchange and Ninth.

75 years ago — 1944

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, Allied Expeditionary force, London — American, British and Canadian invasion forces landed in northwestern France today, established beachheads in Normandy, and by evening had “gotten over the first of six hurdles” in the greatest amphibious assault of all time.

Astoria awoke gradually this morning to hear reports that allied invasion of Western Europe was a reality. That was first announced here at 12:33 a.m. in radio flashes from Eisenhower over the allied communication system, developed into an Astorian-Budget extra which hit the streets at 6 a.m. and led into increasingly complete news reports as the day progressed.

Interest was apparent throughout the city from the first flash. Beginning in a sleepy excitement, with church bells and telephones breaking the early morning silence, the concern over the war’s new turn calmed down after dawn to serious comment and speculation, with the public generally turning to regular business pursuits after 8 a.m.

Radios were quietly turned to morning newscasts in many stores and restaurants.

Most frequent comments over coffee cups and business men’s desks concerned the size of the operational forces and the losses “bound to be” suffered.

The early settlers were attracted to the fertile Northwest country because of the farming possibilities. The development of electrical power for rural areas is opening even newer horizons to agriculture.

Rural electrification administration engineers estimate there are about 74,000 unelectrified farms in the Northwest states, of which 34,000 have been classified as potential customers of nearby cooperative distribution systems.

George V. Shevlakov, assistant superintendent of the Vanport schools in Portland, and a recognized authority on settlement of juvenile delinquency problems, defended modern youth in a speech before the Astoria Rotary club and the Clatsop League of Women Voters.

The 43-year-old Russian declared that youngsters today “are no better or no worse” than those of previous generations; that in fact before the war, juvenile delinquency was in a sharp decline.

But, he said, wartime conditions have created abnormal, distressing atmospheres and have filled the air with uncertainty, fear and doubt in the future. These conditions, Shevlakov said, comprise fertile fields for juvenile delinquency.

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

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