New Year 1944

10 years ago this week — 2009

Leaders in Clatsop County’s five cities welcomed the new year with cautious optimism, knowing there are tough financial times ahead.

In Astoria, a top priority is paying for federally ordered improvements.

In Warrenton, the challenge is keeping up with construction.

In Cannon Beach, the new mayor has a “sustainability” agenda in the works.

In Gearhart, the water system is front and center.

In Seaside, the agenda includes selling the old library, improving sidewalks and battling flooding.

Roadside trees weighted by ice continue to cause disruption on U.S. Highways 30 and 26 to and from the North Coast, blocking the highways and bringing down power lines.

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin has kick-started a campaign to get rid of them — even though state laws require them.

The irony is that the Oregon Department Transportation doesn’t like them either.

“They don’t work for us very well,” said Dan Lepschat, the ODOT forester. “Frankly, we don’t want them.”

Nine rooms at the Tolovana Inn in Cannon Beach suffered damage when a three-alarm fire broke out Thursday night on the third floor and spread to the basement.

There were no injuries. Some of the rooms were occupied, and the tenants were moved to other units.

50 years ago — 1969

Astorians dug out Wednesday from the worst ice storm in many years as utility, television and highway crews struggled to restore service interrupted or cut off completely Tuesday night by a silver thaw.

State police said all highways were open out of the city, although chains were required on Highway 26 beyond Elderberry Inn and east of Clatskanie on Highway 30. Highway 101 reportedly was bare with icy spots.

The constant contest between the stork and the grim reaper in Clatsop County reveals a happy ending, with births well in excess over deaths.

According to the county health department, there were 405 births registered as of today, against 322 deaths during 1968. On the stork side of the ledger, baby boys nudged out baby girls by one, with 194 boys born to 193 girl babies.

In 1967 there were 375 births in the county recorded, showing a substantial growth in population, baby wise, this year.

A harrowing tale of five-yard visibility and 60-knot winds during a rescue mission was related by Coast Guard Lt. Comdr. Tom Finnegan on his return to Astoria Coast Guard Air Station from Sand island near Portland.

Finnegan was pilot of a helicopter which saved a stranded duck hunter from the island Tuesday. The hunter’s companion died of exposure.

The public’s ownership of Oregon’s dry sand beaches was upheld again today by Circuit Judge J.S. Bohannon in an opinion in the case of the Surfsand Motel at Cannon Beach.

Judge Bohannon held that Oregon’s beach bill is constitutional and ordered William Hay to remove the cable between pilings driven into the beach.

75 years ago — 1944

Quietly, new years came to Astoria and the lower Columbia last night right on schedule time. Many amusement places were already dark when the midnight hour struck. Today Astoria streets are deserted with all business establishments and offices closed for the holiday. Largest crowds of the new year celebrants last night were at the Labor Temple and Suomi hall dances with the night clubs fairly well filled.

The unsanitary condition of Astoria eating places was the principal topic of discussion at the Clatsop County Health Association meeting Thursday.

It was reported to the association that three cases of trench mouth had been handled in recent weeks by one Astoria doctor. One of these cases was directly traced to the dishwashing in a city restaurant.

The group conceded that the restaurant problems of insufficient, inexperienced and transient help contribute to poor standards of cleanliness, but agreed that the situation should be improved.

An outstanding feature of 1943 was development here of 453 public housing units, in trailers, dormitory units and apartments.

They are the Riverwood Parks project of 240 apartment units in Jeffers Gardens, 100 trailers in Astoria near Gyro field, 46 apartment units at the former site of the Warrenton soil conservation service camp near Warrenton and 67 dormitory beds in the remodeled old Astoria city hall.

Launched last week at the Oregon Shipbuilding company’s yards in Portland was a Liberty ship named the Mary E. Kinney, in honor of Mrs. W.S. Kinney, first woman to be elected to the Oregon state legislature and an Astoria resident for years. Mrs. Kinney was elected senator from Clatsop County in 1923 and served two terms.

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

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