10 years ago 2003

The most glaring deficiency of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial is that the federal government does not recognize the Indian tribes that greeted the explorers on their arrival at the mouth of the Columbia River. In the Waning days of the Clinton administration, the Chinooks were recognized, only to have that status challenged and removed by the Bush administration. The Clatsops’ application lies in bureaucratic limbo.

This is not an idle matter. One cannot tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition without the Indian component.

•••

They battled Hitler’s U-boats in the stormy Atlantic.

But these days, the former crew members of the USS Card are less interested in reliving their wartime exploits than simply sharing the company of friends.

Thirty-one of the vessel’s surviving crew gathered Friday in Astoria to help donate a wooden name board from the ship to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

The Card was one of a series of unfinished cargo ships that were converted into makeshift aircraft carriers at the beginning of the war and pressed into service protecting Allied supply convoys from attacks by German submarines.

•••

The plan to deepen the Columbia River shipping channel has been put on hold as a part of the Bush administration’s policy of not starting new projects so it can reduce the backlog of public works.

The decision could delay the project for years.

But some members of Congress said they had assumed the project would not be subject to the no-new-start policy and plan to fight the decision.

“My impression is that it would not,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. “Nobody has thrown that at me.

Sen. Ron. Wyden, D-Ore., objected to the new-start label for the project because it already has received some funding. He said he would take the case for the channel deepening directly to the White House if necessary.

50 years ago – 1963

The grain storage program at the US Maritime Administration base here was practically ended this week.

The Liberty ship George Poindexter, loaded with 6,000 tons of surplus wheat, was to leave Wednesday for Vancouver, Wash., to be unloaded and returned to the base here.

The Poindexter is the next-to-last member of the Astoria Reserve fleet which once bulged with 46 million bushels of surplus grain. The last vessel, the Lot M. Merril, is scheduled for unloading sometime next week.

The storage program began here in 1954 when 97 vessels were loaded with 20 million tons of stored grain. At its height 175 ships were in use.

All ships are returned to the base here after the grain is unloaded.

•••

Astoria lacks a downtown garage with overnight storage or parking facilities. Visitors perforce must leave their cars on the streets if they stay in a hotel rather than a motel. This makes it hard for the city’s public works department to sweep downtown streets satisfactorily, and gives rise to a demand for preventing overnight parking downtown.

We have been through this sort of thing before, but the lack of adequate parking facilities has always compelled the city government to tolerate overnight parking on the streets.

Perhaps the most logical way out is in permit parking on alternate sides of the streets on alternated days, so that one side of each street can be swept clean at least every other night.

•••

The White House in Washington, D.C. announced a revised schedule today which calls for the President to make only a brief, 15-minute visit in Oregon – to the former Tongue Point Navy base near Astoria.

The earlier schedule had Kennedy visiting both the Astoria and Portland area with a speech listed.

The new schedule calls for Kennedy to travel by helicopter from Tacoma to Tongue Point, arriving next Friday at 1:05 p.m. PDT. He will inspect the former base there and meet with a citizens committee interested in making other use of the site.

75 years ago – 1938

Memories of the Astoria fire were revived today as the foundation was leveled for the new building at the northwest corner of Twelfth and Commercial. Charred earth, ashes and fire-ravished odds and ends of the old Owl Drug store, which stood on the site, were dug up by a bulldozer. A truck hauled the earth away. Piling will be driven as soon as excavation is complete.

•••

William Seeborg, president of the Astoria Safety council, today explained that the severe penalty provided for violators of the proposed ordinance on regulation of bicycle operation in Astoria contained a clause providing for impounding bicycles in lieu of the maximum jail sentence of ten days and maximum fine of $100.

The range in penalties is designed to punish both the flagrant violators as well as the innocent first offenders. Thus the ordinance permits the judge to give a mild sentence as well as a severe one, depending on the character of the offense.

Under the ordinance, a bicycle may be impounded for a maximum period of 30 days and the operator may be denied use of his permit to ride a bicycle.

Seeborg said that the safety council would instruct bicycle riders on the provision of the traffic code which they are required to know in order to pass a written test, conducted by city police. The examination is simple and can be passed by a child acquainted with simple traffic regulations which he should know for his own safety.

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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