From the pages of Astoria’s daily newspapers

10 years ago this week – 2002

Astoria Middle School teacher Barbara Miller thought the bulb in her overhead projector had blown out when it suddenly turned off during a fraction multiplication lesson.

But when the light switch wouldn’t illuminate the room, students realized something was wrong.

“Woo-hoo!” came a unanimous shout, as if God himself had spared the sixth-graders from fractions.

Instead, it was a fire in a transformer that caused a citywide power outage at 11 a.m. Friday.

With the swing of a champagne bottle against a flagpole, the newly expanded Columbia River Maritime Museum was officially “christened” Saturday.

Rob Mangold, president of the museum’s board of trustees, handled the ceremonial bottle-breaking with the help of a group of third-graders from Capt. Robert Gray Elementary School. As the champagne dribbled down the flagpole at the museum’s entrance, executive director Jerry Ostermiller welcomed the assembled crowd inside.

“Now let’s cut that ribbon and go have some fun!” he said.

Longtime challengers, first-time qualifiers. The Ilwaco baseball team will take part in the Class 1A state baseball tournament for the first time after qualifying with a 12-8 win over Ocosta Friday.

A 100-person brainstorm churned up a whirlwind of ideas Thursday night during a community workshop aimed at reinventing Astoria’s downtown core.

A central park, an open-air produce market, public bathrooms, office space atop a parking garage, a new library, a convenience store.

These were a few of the ideas urban design firm Crandall Arambula gathered from a spirited crowd of residents pondering the question of what the city should do with the block occupied by Safeway and the American Legion building.

50 years ago – 1962

Unusually severe pollution both upriver and in the lower river has caused some gillnet fishermen to hang up their nets and cease fishing for the season, William Westerholm of the Columbia River Fishermen’s Protective Union said Monday.

He said pollution, believed to result from industrial wastes and sewage, has hampered fishing by collecting on nets and may also be reducing catches as a result of some substance in the pollution which may prevent fish from entering the Columbia.

He said pollution has appeared in the Columbia from its confluence with the Willamette downriver. The pollution situation this year is worse than it has been for the past two years, he noted.

The new Columbia River Maritime Museum project is off to a running start. Contributions totaling $3500 are in its treasury as it completes its legal and formal organization; it has prospects of additional contributions soon. Also, offers of valuable maritime relics have been made, and the association has the old city hall-USO building available as temporary quarters.

An Orofino, Ida., professional deep sea diver will enter the waters of the Clearwater River July 4 to begin his bid to swim 557 miles to Astoria, setting an endurance record for distance and consecutive days of swimming.

Spence Campbell, 25, expects to arrive here 20 to 30 days later after swimming 8-10 hours per day, with overnight stops along the route.

He will start his swim in the Clearwater River at Orofino, shift to the Snake River at Lewiston, Ida., and the Columbia River at Pasco, Wash.

75 years ago – 1937

The members of the Warrenton High School senior class observed the annual “Flunk Day” Wednesday, May 16. The party motored through Jewell to the Lost Lake region and after a stiff climb reached the lake itself, where a most enjoyable day was spent in boating and picnicking.

WASHINGTON — The house after a bitter economy debate today defeated the Mott bill authorizing a $1,250,000 naval air base at Tongue Point, Oregon.

The fight against the bill was led by Chairman William Umstead, D., N.C., of the house appropriations sub-committee which handled the navy appropriations bill.

He based his opposition on the grounds that the navy department does not want the base and that it is not in conformance with budget bureau plans.

The fight developed into conflict between members of the house appropriations committee, who fought the base, and the naval affairs committee, which favors it.

“We all know, if war comes, it will come on the Pacific coast.” Rep. James W. Mott, R., Ore., warned. “That is why the fleet is there.”

Mott said the attack would not come at San Diego, San Francisco or Puget Sound, but “at the mouth of the Columbia River.”

SEASIDE — The meeting of the city council Monday saw the passing of several ordinances, one of which was an ordinance prohibiting gambling and playing certain games of cards and operation of a lottery or punch board played for money or credit. Any person convicted of violation of the ordinance would be fined up to $300 or imprisoned not more than 100 days.

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

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