Water under the bridge

2008 — Bryan Jones, of Elko, Nev., charges out of the gate aboard War Paint during the bareback riding competition at the Clatsop County Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo.

10 years ago this week — 2008

“Hold tight with a leather fist, watch out when he starts to twist,” a country song goes and so it was Friday and Saturday at the Clatsop County Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo, with riders coming from all over the Northwest to try their luck against broncs, bull and a stop watch.

Amongst those competing for the lowest recorded time in an event was Jon Englund of Astoria, heading for his son Jay Englund in the team roping event Saturday night.

“It’s so much fun to be here,” said Englund. “It’s so nice to see a good crowd.”

Organizers estimated the crowd totaled more than 1,500 Friday and saw about the same number in attendance Saturday as well.

Warrenton Fire Chief Ted Ames is worried about his agency’s ability to protect the public if a liquefied natural gas terminal is built in Clatsop County.

Ames knows his department doesn’t have the resources to handle an LNG emergency right now. In fact, with 800 service calls a year, he said, the agency struggles to keep up with day-to-day operations as it is.

Two Long Beach Peninsula heritage projects are in the lineup for Washington state money.

The Chinook School gym and the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco earned high scores in a statewide competition when the Washington State heritage Capital Projects Fund advisory panel announced rankings and recommended distribution of $10 million for historic projects.

50 years ago — 1968

While sportsmen’s groups clamor for further curtailment of commercial fishing and the governors of Oregon, Washington and Idaho solemnly confer on how to do something about it, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is giving an unusually graphic example of what is really the matter with the salmon runs of the Columbia.

The slaughter of salmon caused by construction of John Day Dam has become so immediately enormous that dead fish are scattered on the banks and the loss between dams is graphically demonstrated by the fish counts.

John Day Dam already in a month has killed more fish than the entire commercial fishery harvests in a year. And the ones that the dam kills are the ones depended upon to reach the spawning grounds and reproduce the species.

The anti-commercial fishing efforts of the steelheader associations and the governors seem rather misdirected and futile when one considers the enormous butchery of fish that this one dam is doing.

Preliminary plans were presented Tuesday night for a convention-exposition center at Gearhart, a facility that would be “the only public playground on the coast,” in the view of county commissioner Hiram Johnson.

Demanding immediate federal action to curb foreign fishing in U.S. coastal waters and imports of foreign-caught fish, Northwest fishermen painted a gloomy picture of the industry’s future Wednesday at an Astoria hearing.

On the receiving end of a barrage of questions was Harold E. Crowther, national director of the Bureau of Commercial fisheries; and Don Johnson, Seattle, regional director of the bureau.

The small maritime museum assembly room overflowed with federal and state fishery officials, representatives of fishermen’s unions and packers representatives as Crowther outlined a “master plan” for future development of the fishing industry.

“There is no overall solution to the fishery problems,” Crowther said. “We must look at each segment of the industry since the problems are not the same.”

Gov. Tom McCall said today there is new hope that the Columbia River Highway between Portland-Astoria might be included in the interstate highway system.

He said Rep. Wendell Wyatt, R-Ore., advised him that a Senate-House conference committee has added 1,500 miles to the interstate system.

If the Portland-Astoria section is added, it would become a four-lane freeway.

Wyatt urged the governor and Oregon highway officials to file an application immediately.

75 years ago — 1943

A careful watch must be kept at the Bonneville dam next fall if migrating salmon are to be passed over that barrier, in the judgment of Arne Somela of the Washington Department of Fisheries who is in Astoria this week.

With eight units of the power plant now in operation, control of the gates will be extremely difficult during the low water period, he says, and this may change the attraction to the fish ladders. He was at Bonneville last week and conferred with the U.S. engineers on the problem.

Somela, who was raised at Ilwaco and who was with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service before going to the Washington department recently, has been assigned to the Columbia River by the department. He plans to remain at Bonneville most of the time during the low water period to watch developments at the ladders.

To teach recognition and combating of war gases, the Clatsop County defense council with aid of representatives from the state defense council will begin a two-day school at 8 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium of Lewis and Clark school.

A group of gas experts from the state defense council will assist in conduct of the school. This Clatsop County school is the first to be held in the state.

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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