10 years ago this week — 2011

Astoria is in the running for Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town competition, which ends Feb. 11.

After getting as close as about 200 votes behind top contender Lewisburg, West Virginia, Astoria has fallen behind by several thousand votes but still has a firm grip on second place. In part, this may be because of a vote-getting rally in Lewisburg Friday.

As of this morning, more than 67,500 votes had been cast for Lewisburg (population about 3,400) as opposed to around 60,000 for Astoria (population about 10,000).

How is this possible?

Technically, the Budget Travel site only allows one vote per five hours. But there have been rampant rumors of people voting more often, using multiple browsers and devices (desktop computers, laptops, web-enabled phones, etc.) and refreshing the web page every few minutes. Apparently, this tactic only works for those who have a dynamic IP address.

Some, in the comments section of Budget Travel’s contest page, have even accused Lewisburg of “robo-voting” to push their total so high, which is unlikely. What is likely is that the areas surrounding Lewisburg are rallying to the cause and voting relentlessly. Lewisburg’s proximity to Washington, D.C., has probably helped, as well.

If Astoria wins, the Lewisburg mayor will be flown to Astoria. One local suggested that if Astoria loses, the competition’s mayor should be sent 50 pounds of lutefisk.

Six Clatsop County youth recently joined 60 other youth from around the state at the Western Oregon Regional Leadership Development Retreat. The youth went to classes that taught leadership skills and how to use them in the community; how to manage and organize one’s time with so many commitments; public speaking; improvisation; and team building skills.

Christy Lynn and Dani Sampson from Clatsop County were on the governing board who helped plan and organize the multi-county event. They also taught the “Super Manager” session. The six attendees from Clatsop County participated in a community service project making crib-size tied blankets for youth in need.

Like any other day, a brown UPS truck pulled up in front of Astoria High School on Tuesday morning. Driver Jack Olson go out of the truck, and in stunning sunlight, walked to the back and hoisted the back door.

This, however, was no ordinary delivery.

Students streamed out the front door to greet Olson and began picking up brown paper boxes and shuttling them inside.

Ten students carried in 165 boxes.

With them, a new era walked in the school’s front door.

As part of a Google pilot program, every student at the school will soon have their own new Google Chrome Notebook, months before the public can buy the internet-only laptop. Within the next few weeks, a companion wireless internet network valued at $30,000 is being installed to accommodate the increased online traffic, paid for with a grant from the Oregon Department of Education’s Oregon Virtual School District.

50 years ago — 1971

Astoria’s official 1970 population is 10,399. That’s 155 more than previously announced by federal census officials.

City Manager Dale Curry told the City Council on Monday night that the population reflects a gain of 155 persons through recent annexation of Blue Ridge. The original census figure was 10,244.

The population is still below the city’s 1960 figure of 11,239.

Robert Elsensohn, president of the Clatsop Environmental Council, submitted to the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners this morning petitions containing 2,694 signatures which sought an estuarine study in this area before a building permit is issued to American Metal Climax for construction of an aluminum plant in Warrenton.

In a preceding prepared speech, Elsensohn made several charges against the INTALCO aluminum plant in Ferndale, Washington, which is half-owned by American Metal Climax, and rebuked Gov. Tom McCall for his statements in support of the company.

The petition urged that the estuarine study be completed by all interested local, state and federal authorities.

Tedd Briggs, vice president of American Metal Climax, told the Seaside Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that though his company supports the idea of an estuary study, construction of the aluminum plant in Warrenton will proceed as scheduled.

He explained the company is not worried about the results of such an estuary study and thus has nothing to lose by going ahead with construction of the plant.

McCall’s assistant for natural resources, Kessler Cannon, said on Wednesday he would try to have the Oregon State University Department of Oceanology study the possible harm of fluorides on the Columbia River estuary.

Unemployment in Clatsop County and Columbia County in the Clatskanie area swelled to 18.3% during the third week in January. But R. Morrison, manager of the state employment division’s Astoria office, said the average rate for the month is expected to approximate the 11.6% of December.

“For the past three winters, the month of January has ushered in weather conditions having a more than adverse effect on area employment,” Morrison said. “Snow in 1969, heavy rains in 1970 and a combination of both elements in 1971, combined with the normal seasonal and economic trends to reduce employment to well below average winter totals, and to raise unemployment to new, if temporary, highs.”

75 years ago — 1946

For a fisherman who raked in 1.6 million pounds of fish from the floor of the Pacific Ocean with his drag net in 1945, Capt. Bob Cronen of the dragboat Brookfield has strict ideas of conservation.

His ideas of conserving the fisheries resources of the Pacific are practical. What Cronen, whose Brookfield was the highest producer in Astoria’s home fleet of draggers in 1945, desires is that he and other drag fishermen can bring in that much fish year after year. These fishermen have large investments in the dragging business. These investments, Cronen said, are good only so land as fish hold out.

Drag fishermen should be impressed with the needs of conservation by remembering the price paid for wasteful fishing practices on the Columbia River in years gone by, Cronen observed. In the early days of drag fishing, the loss of fish life from the use of close mesh, bottom scraping gear was heavy. Today, Cronen said, the trend was toward larger mesh web. Drags now bounce along the ocean floor permitting crabs and other fish to escape.

Cronen pointed out that draggers were today taking but a few crabs and only about 5% of those caught were injured. Drag fishermen toss crabs back in the ocean.

Secretary of the U.S. Navy James V. Forrestal has given his approval to the Astoria inactive fleet base construction project, according to a telegram received today from U.S. Rep. Walter Norblad, an Oregon Republican representing the North Coast.

First rock in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Jetty A reconstruction job at the mouth of the Columbia River was to be delivered today by Strong and McDonald, a Tacoma, Washington, contracting firm which holds the $294,000 contract to do the work.

The contracting company has until July 30 to complete it. The winter months have been spent in building a road to the jetty for delivery of rock by truck.

Heretofore all rock deliveries on jetty construction and repair projects in this region have been made by railway lines built out along the jetties.

The Tacoma firm, however, decided to make all deliveries by truck. To do this it was necessary to repair and plank the tramway leading from Fort Canby to the jetty. This road building has been completed.

Don’t tell city officials in Astoria there is a big unemployment problem in the community. The city officials just wouldn’t believe it and their rejection of the impression comes from their own experience.

They just can’t find men through the employment office or otherwise to do badly needed work on streets, sewers and water systems. The city pays $1 an hour for this common labor but there are few takers.

At present and for some time there are only three men on the water department’s force and 7½ men to look after streets and sewers. When they get a new man, he generally quits after a few days because he doesn’t like the weather.