From the pages of Astoria’s daily newspapers

10 years ago this week – 2002

After taking a second look at deepening the Columbia River channel to make way for bigger ships, federal scientists said Monday the project will not harm salmon and other threatened and endangered species.

Known as biological opinions and required under the Endangered Species Act, the findings mark a major milestone for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the $196 million project to deepen about 100 miles of shipping channel by three feet between Astoria and Vancouver, Wash.

The findings brought praise from Columbia River ports, which have pressed for the channel deepening to avoid being left behind as shipping companies move to bigger vessels, but left environmentalists and Indian tribes mulling whether to go to court to protect salmon runs.

A second bid to deepen the Columbia River shipping channel may have appeased federal fish managers, but it only amplified the fury of many locals.

From plans to dump dredge spoils in the heart of a regional salmon fishery through layers of unproven restoration and economics, the project has again unearthed the ire of the lower river.

“People should be righteously angry at this gross political distortion of science,” said Peter Huhtula, director of the Astoria-based Channel Deepening Opposition Group, who has fought the project’s every footstep.

Astoria neared the final step Monday night for cellular phone companies to build antennas within city limits.

The City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would permit cell phone towers or other transmitters for the first time in Astoria. The issue will face final approval at the next council meeting June 3.

50 years ago – 1962

The city council took under advisement Monday night a proposal for changes in the city ordinance governing conduct of public dances after members of the Astoria Ministerial Association had questioned some of the changes, including one which would permit Sunday dancing by special authorization of the council.

The proposed new ordinance, described by the city manager as actually more stringent than the one now in effect, will be brought before the council again at its next meeting June 4.

A tourist who called at this newspaper office Saturday remarked that he was a good deal surprised to find only one United States flag flying on Armed Forces Day in downtown Astoria – the flag over The Daily Astorian building. Public buildings – the U.S. Post Office, the court house, the city hall and others – all were closed and flagless.

The tourist was not favorably impressed.

Wednesday next week is Memorial Day. It too will be a day when public institutions and many businesses will be closed. Will display of the United States flag be neglected then, too?

Astoria was the end of the line Wednesday for a boxcar with a French accent and a legend back of it that symbolizes the lasting friendship between two nations.

“Quatorze-Hommes-et-Huit-Chevaux” (40 men and 8 horses) as the French boxcars were called in World War I, when they transported American doughboys (and horses) to military bases near the front lines, was transported from Salem, where it had been the property of Marion County Voiture 153 of the 40 et 8 organization.

75 years ago – 1937

Vegetable production in the county is getting started in good style, according to County Agent Afton Zundel, with acreage much increased over last year’s total and with prospects for further extensive growth in future.

A rough preliminary estimate of the vegetable situation this spring indicates something over 525 acres planted to various kinds of vegetable, exclusive of family garden plots where there is no commercial production.

Of this acreage, there are about 225 to 250 acres of telephone peas of the tall growing variety.

Headed by R.F. Moore, president of the Oregon Coast Highway Association, a delegation of Astoria and Seaside people is expected to leave here Monday to join the Oregon caravan en route to the Golden Gate bridge opening celebration at San Francisco, May 27 to 30.

There will be general approval of the stand of the directors of the Astoria Chamber of Commerce in regard to continuing of the fight for development of the Tongue Point base.

The claim of the Columbia basin area for adequate defenses at the mouth of the great river is a just one. It is backed by every technical and strategical reason that can be advanced and, in fact, by everything except the political influence and voting power necessary to win departmental and congressional favor for the project.

In convincing the members of the house naval affairs committee of the necessity for the Tongue Point development, to a point where members arose to plead for the appropriation and defend it from the inconsistent opposition of the navy department, and in bringing it to the floor of congress much more progress was made than ever before.The request is a reasonable and proper one and a persistent fight prosecuted with unflagging zeal will in time wear down the opposition. The project is worth such a fight and the spirit evidenced by the Chamber of Commerce indicates it will be made.

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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