10 years ago this week — 2009

The latest Astoria project to get a boost from federal stimulus money is the Denver Street Combined Sewer Overflow project.

The $4 million funding package, channeled through the state Department of Environmental Quality, consists of a $2 million grant and a $2 million loan at zero-percent interest.

“Our focus has been acquiring grants for priority projects in the area of water and sewer infrastructure,” City Manager Paul Benoit said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research fleet is going to Newport.

Astoria at one time looked to be a contender for the location and several local governments lobbied for the ships to be located on the North Coast. But local leaders gave up the effort in January, in part because of the cost of submitting an application.

Today’s announcement came through the congressional offices of Northwest senators and representatives.

The Astoria Children’s Museum and the Indoor Play Park are coming together under one name and one roof.

The two organizations will be known as “Captain Gray’s Port of Play” and the new, single organization will be moving to the Gray Elementary School gymnasium in September.

The school already contains the Head Start program, a daycare, and the alternative high school classes. It makes sense for the Port of Play to join their ranks with its mix of creative and active education, said Elaine Sproul, treasurer of the Astoria MOMS Club and one of the organizers of the play park.

It makes equal sense for the two organizations to become one.

One of the most valuable Pacific groundfish is at risk of being labeled overfished — a nightmare scenario for the West Coast commercial trawl fleet.

A new stock assessment for petrale sole shows the population is far below the federal “overfished” level, which could lead the Pacific Fishery Management Council to halve catch limits immediately and possibly cancel the catch altogether until fish counts rebound.

But the assessment wasn’t initially adopted by the council’s scientific committee, which postponed a vote on the date in June to take a closer look at the numbers. Two more meetings on the subject have been set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1-2. The council is scheduled to vote on groundfish seasons in mid-September.

50 years ago — 1969

The hum of heavy equipment lulls residents to sleep at night in areas adjoining the Northwest Aluminum site in Warrenton as 20-hour a day work continues at the 200-acre site.

Helped along by favorable weather, the two crews of Construction West have put in 10-hour shifts for the past two weeks.

An estimated 400,000 cubic yards of earth remains to be moved before grading work is completed. If rainy weather doesn’t interfere, the job may be finished by Labor Day.

Nearly three million cubic yards of earth will have been removed once the huge industrial site has been leveled.

After logging 7,389 hours of flight time and flying on 704 assistance cases, ADC Master Chief Clyde M. “Crash” Causley — last enlisted helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard — called it quits Aug. 1, ending a 28-year military career.

Causley, stationed at Astoria Air Station since 1964, plans to reside in the Astoria area after vacationing for a time. It was fitting, then, that his crewmen brought him some fishing equipment for a retirement gift.

Albacore catches delivered to local canneries have shot upward, the area’s largest packing firm is running at full capacity, and the best is yet to come.

That’s the optimistic outlook here as the tuna picture continues to improve.

Besides processing salmon, Bumble Bee Seafoods is handling 100 tons of tuna a day with a substantial additional amount stacking up in cold storage.

A Bumble Bee spokesman said “tuna are coming in very strongly now.” He said boats were running anywhere from four or five tons up to 24 tons per boat. “We’re operating to capacity,” the official said.

July was a lean month for the Port of Astoria, with the sting of strike activity contributing heavily to a reduction in exports of more than 100,000 tons compared to July 1968 totals.

Only 10 ships docked here in July — 11 fewer than in the same period a year ago — with exports dwindling to 41,833 tons. However, inbound cargo figures improved.

Tonnage was 2,866 in July, up 1,037 tons from the same month last year.

The Oregon Highway department is having timber cleared from its Sunset Highway right-of-way for 2.5 miles eastward from Saddle Mountain junction to the west end of the four-lane segment near David Douglas Park.

This is being done so the highway can be widened to four lanes.

The logging operation removes a timber “greenbelt” along the highway that kept motorists from seeing logged areas back from the highway. Result has been considerable fuss by Portlanders who have made Seaside trips and become disturbed by removal of the trees.

75 years ago — 1944

An SP&S freight engine and a carload of wood plunged through the open draw of the John Day River bridge five miles east of Astoria, and into about 25 feet of water at 2:15 p.m. Monday. It is believed to be a total loss.

The engineer, G.A. Baldwin, and the fireman, Kenneth Reigie, escaped injury along with Elmer Williams, brakeman, when they jumped after the No. 395 locomotive toppled through the open draw pulling its tank car and the loaded wood car with it. There were 26 cars on the Astoria-bound freight train, and the other 25 cars remained safely on the tracks.

Railroad officials here said that Baldwin, making his first run on the line, apparently missed the approach signals and came upon the draw too fast. It had been opened for a passing boat, and was closing when the freight train approached. The engineer, fireman and brakeman leaped to safety on dry ground before the engine reached the draw.

The locomotive struck and smashed one of the bridge’s girders, and then dived into the water, disappearing below the surface and embedding itself in about eight feet of muck.

Portland–bound train traffic Monday was taken to Svensen by bus, around the damaged track at John Day, and thence by train to Portland. Trains have continued to operate between Astoria and Seaside.

Kenneth Murdock, radioman second class, U.S. Navy, son of Mrs. Florence Murdock, 341 Alameda, recently wrote that he had had a chance to visit with the Astoria members of Company L in New Guinea. Kenneth has been in the Navy for two years.

His letter, written July 29, reads: “Finally found Company L a short time back. They are having a pretty rugged time down here. Five of the fellows from home were killed in action just before I ran across the outfit ... I only got to see my friends for a short time as they were pretty far up. If you see Mrs. Savel, tell her that I saw Olavi and that he is fine. I am bringing some stuff home for Jimmy Hope. He is a technical sergeant and has a reputation for being one of the best in the division. The fellows have been overseas for nearly two and a half years now and they said I was the first one from home they’d seen that they really knew. Sure hope they get a chance to go home for a rest soon. That old infantry is really a tough racket.”

A moon fish, one of the strangest ever landed in the Necanicum River, was caught recently by three Portland fishermen, Pat Foley, John Bond and John Patterson.

The fish, so named from its unusual shape, being almost as round and not quite so flat as a dollar, weighed 20 pounds. It was caught with a fly rod. Ole Bracken, who has fished in this area for many years, identified the fish. He said that occasionally a moon fish is washed up on the beach or found in a crab hole but this is the first one he had ever known to enter the river. Authorities say that it is native to the Atlantic.

Bob Duke is the author of the weekly Water Under the Bridge column in The Daily Astorian. Contact him at beachduke@gmail.com

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