Water under the bridge

1968 — First of a shipment of 113 European-built compact cars was lowered over the side of the Danish motor vessel Samoa at Port of Astoria docks.

10 years ago this week — 2008

WARRENTON — One year ago today, the Tillamook boys soccer team shocked the Astoria Fishermen with a 0-0 tie. In three games since then, the Fishermen have outscored the Cheesemakers 9-1, including a 2-0 shutout Tuesday night at the Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association field.

Astoria’s Sean Speer scored on a header in the first half, and Zach Norton had a nice goal in the second half for the Fishermen, who were tuning up for a first-place showdown Thursday against Seaside.

But a 1-1 tie between Seaside and Scappoose Tuesday night gives Astoria the Cowapa League title, and makes Thursday’s contest meaningless-as far as the standings are concerned.

The Astoria bicentennial is approaching quickly. And as Astoria reflects on its history, it is reminded that the city and the little fishing town of Tofino, British Columbia, might be historically linked.

Tofino could be the final resting place of the Tonquin, a 98-foot, three-masted brig which John Jacob Astor sent late in 1810 from New York to establish the Fort Astoria trading post on the Columbia River, trade with the natives and deliver four tons of gunpowder to Sitka, Alaska.

David Griffiths, the executive director of the Tonquin Foundation, and Mare’ Dewar, a restaurant owner from Tofino, came to Astoria Monday to offer their help in coordinating joint efforts to celebrate the Astoria bicentennial.

“The Tonquin is the Holy Grail of British Columbia shipwrecks,” Griffiths said. “There’ve been so many expeditions over the years looking for it. “I refer to her as the ‘Mayflower of the West.’”

50 years ago — 1968

Mrs. William Reed of Clatskanie was the recipient of an unexpected gift Monday morning as she drove into the toll gate at the Columbia River bridge.

Her car was the one-millionth to cross the structure since it was opened to traffic July 29, 1966.

Mrs. Reed received a plaque to mark the event and a pass to return to Oregon.

“We just come down to show my uncle the bridge,” Mrs. Reed said. “I didn’t expect this.”

The Port of Astoria chalked up another first Wednesday morning when the motor vessel Samoa of the East Asiatic company fleet began discharging a cargo of small European cars at Pier 3. In addition to 60 tons of general cargo, the Samoa had in her hold 113 British- and Swedish-built automobiles destined for Portland dealers.

So far as port authorities could determine, this is the first shipment of cars ever unloaded here direct from a foreign country. The shipment was routed here to save time and money, according to company agents.

The Astoria waterfront along the Columbia River is worth millions of dollars in canneries, docks and business buildings.

But the occupants may be squatters with no right to be there.

Most of the buildings are on filled-in land.

“We can find no convincing evidence that the state has parted with its ownership of the underlying riverbed upon which these fills have been made,” says Dale Mallicoat, state lands director.

Mallicoat says the state does not intend to be punitive or to harass those who occupy the land. He says he just wants to settle the title, so that all concerned can lay definite plans.

“I have never observed a land problem that is quite as complex as this one at Astoria,” Mallicoat says.

75 years ago — 1943

Motorists in the far west felt the impact of the growing Pacific offensive today in an office of price administration order sharply reducing their gasoline allowances.

Effective at midnight last night, A, B and C ration coupons were reduced in value from four to three gallons in 10 states, including Oregon and Washington.

“As the United Nations begin to take the offensive of new world battlefronts it is necessary to deliver ever-increasing quantities of fuel for planes, tanks, trucks and other war vehicles,” OPA said.

Many of the smaller craft in the Astoria deepsea fishing fleet were nursing wounds today after a two-day struggle against gales at sea over the weekend which took the lives of at least one fisherman, left uncertain the fate of three more, and threatened many others.

Two boats washed ashore, one at Nelscott and one off Camp Clatsop.

The pilot house and other equipment from a small boat were discovered Monday by the Coast Guard off Camp Clatsop, and the fate of anyone aboard remained a mystery.

The Coast Guard motor boat Triumph, with Chief Boatswain’s Mate Alvin Combs in command, hauled the troll boat Tyee from a watery grave in a 20-hour battle against mountainous seas last weekend, in one of the most thrilling rescues of local Coast Guard history.

Plans for the biggest Navy day in local history were being whipped into final shape by the Navy day committee here this week, pointing toward the afternoon and evening of October 27, anniversary of the American navy’s birth.

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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