10 years ago this week — 2011

Members of Congress are pushing to stop the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically engineered salmon, saying not enough is known about a fish they say could harm fishery businesses in coastal states.

It appeared last year that the FDA might approve the engineered salmon quickly. But the congressional push back and a lack of action by the FDA could mean the fish won’t be on the nation’s dinner tables any time soon.

The fish, which grows twice as fast as the conventional variety, is engineered by AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based company, but not yet allowed on the market. The company’s application has been pending for more than 15 years. If the agency approves it, it would be the first time the government allows such modified animals to be marketed for people to eat.

Congressional opposition to the engineered fish is led by members of the Alaska delegation. They see the modified salmon as a threat to the state’s wild salmon industry.

SEASIDE — You couldn’t put the brakes on family fun this weekend.

Thousands of car-jocks, trailer queens, motor mouths and gearheads parked in downtown Seaside to talk shop at the 13th annual Wheels ‘N’ Waves classic car show.

The streets of Broadway and Columbia, and the city parking lot outside the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, were packed bumper-to-bumper with more than 400 sleek hot-rods and other streamlined specimens of pre-1963 automotive history.

McGOWAN, Wash. — The third time’s the charm for the Middle Village — Station Camp site on U.S. Highway 101 across from the Astoria Bridge.

Construction is underway on turn lanes and widening of the highway for the entrance to the newest piece of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. That part of the project should take about 10 days, said Jim Sayce, project manager and liaison between the Washington State Historical Society and the National Park Service.

Sayce said construction of the interior of the park should wind up in February. “When the interpretive work is complete, it will bring to the public what some call the most important historic site on the lower Columbia River,” he said.

Whether you’re turning on your faucet in the kitchen of your home, or turning on your sprinkler to water the garden in Astoria, seldom would you think twice about where the water is coming from.

But members of the City Council found out how important that water source is one recent morning with a tour of the Bear Creek watershed, located 12 miles east of Astoria in Svensen.

“I call it a gem,” said Astoria Public Works Director Ken Cook. “The city has just a total gem of a resource here. And this is how the city gets its water.”

Seven communities get their water from the Bear Creek watershed, including Burnside, John Day and Fernhill. They use the three lakes on the city’s property — Main Lake, holding 200 million gallons of water; Middle Lake, higher up and feeding the Main lake with its 52 million gallons; and Wickiup Lake, with 59 million gallons.

“Basically, it’s like a big bowl, and it all drains down to here, the dam,” Cook said.

50 years ago — 1971

Members of the Columbia River Fishermen’s Protective Union continued to meet this morning, first for a “vote meeting” held at 10 a.m. at the Labor Temple, then a brief meeting between some fishermen and Bumble Bee Seafoods officials followed by a noon meeting of the union’s price committee and Bumble Bee.

“We are standing firm on our demand for more than the 22 cents per pound salmon price offered by the major canneries,” said one commercial fishermen spokesman. He added that the union had received some 40 to 50 new members at the morning meeting and now has a total membership of more than 400 people.

The spokesman said this morning’s vote was unanimous to hold out against the low price offers. The fishermen are asking 25 cents for silvers and 28 cents for Chinook.

Six students, rolling a barrel from San Francisco to Tumwater, Washington, to raise money for muscular dystrophy research, got a brief respite Monday when they crossed the Astoria Bridge — by car.

The bridge is not open to foot traffic, and so the six students rode across the 4.1 mile span.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of migratory birds became entangled in the nets of gillnetters in the Columbia River this morning, and almost sunk one vessel.

The birds, believed to be diving for herring, got into the nets and could not escape, forcing several vessels to return to port to try to free them. Many were dead before they could be freed.

The gillnet boat Retaw, skippered by Larry Schaub, of Astoria, was in danger of sinking from the weight of hundreds of birds in his net, so was towed to the Hammond Mooring Basin by a 40-foot utility boat from the Cape Disappointment U.S. Coast Guard station.

Remedial action must be taken to reduce nitrogen supersaturation or up to 90% of the salmon and steelhead run in the Columbia River basin could be lost in the next three years, a federal official said Tuesday.

Any new dam in the basin must include adequate control of nitrogen supersaturation, said James Agee, acting regional administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

In an interview with The Oregonian, Agee also said these controls are necessary at Lower Granite Dam, now under construction, before the lower Snake River project is completed.

Nitrogen supersaturation results when nitrogen from the air is trapped by the water as it spills over the dams. Migrating salmon absorb the nitrogen in their blood and when they surface to pass over a dam or fishway they suffer an often fatal condition.

75 years ago — 1946

School resumed for the fall term in Astoria schools Monday, with 1,369 registered in the public schools and approximately 200 registered at Star of the Sea school.

A.C. Hampton, city school superintendent, said that a noon registration check showed 1,027 pupils in the grades and 342 in the high school. The total of 1,369 was 27 more than the 1,342 registered on the first day last fall. All the gain was registered in Lewis and Clark junior high.

Fall salmon deliveries to Astoria canneries during the first four days of the season totaled 1.3 million pounds, for which fishermen were paid $143,016.82.

Port of Astoria officials and aviation supporters are initiating moves to halt dismantling of the radio range equipment maintained at the Astoria naval air station during the war years.

Information was obtained Monday that the U.S. Navy and Civil Aeronautics Administration had begun dismantling the range station, located on Clatsop Spit, as a result of discontinuance of Navy funds which had supported operation of the station by the aeronautics administration.

The station is an aviation beacon aiding navigation of aircraft to and from the Astoria airport, to which the Port of Astoria recently obtained access on a revocable permit basis.

All Astoria meat markets today reported that the meat shortage will become acute in a few days.

Pork is non-existent, the butchers said. One shop reported receiving its ration of meats from a Portland packing house, but complained that the amount shipped was so small he did not know what to do with it. The beef supply is low. Smoked meats are scarce.

Beef received here by several shops during the past few days has been freshly killed, but it had to be sold as fast as it was cut up.

Swift in Astoria said that its storage was cleaned out of beef, pork, smoked meats and was not oversupplied in sausage. Meat items will be short for some time, the butchers predicted, since nothing on hoofs is headed for the big slaughter houses.

The seamen’s union in Portland has agreed to move ships scheduled to enter the maritime commission reserve fleet here from Portland to Astoria, according to word received by Captain E.E. Thorne, reserve fleet superintendent. Thorne said about 30 ships are undergoing preliminary stripping in Portland now preparatory to their transfer.

The Gray Memorial Chapel and grounds on Clatsop Plains was the scene of a historic gathering Thursday afternoon and evening with the chapel crowded to capacity Thursday night for the principal feature of the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the old Presbyterian church society.

Clearing of ground was well underway today on Astoria’s first major postwar residential construction project, undertaken by the newly-formed Astoria Builders on a six block tract between West Lexington and West Niagara in Tapiola Park.

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