Water under the bridge

1968 — Ray Burkett, right, of Royal Oak, Mich., landed his 12-foot aluminum boat at West Astoria basin, ending a voyage from Detroit. He was met by chamber of commerce manager Jean Hallaux. Burkett addressed the Lions club and was given a friendship pin. He said service clubs and Boy Scouts are the secret weapons of America. He planned to leave in his boat for Portland, where he hopes to sell it.

10 years ago this week — 2008

It was short but delicious.

Columbia River chinook enthusiastically bit the hooks of thousands of excited fishermen in recent weeks, but the catch rate brought the Buoy 10 chinook season to a disappointingly early close today.

This is bad news not just for fishermen but for the charter boats, tackle stores and others who planned on fishing lasting through Labor Day. Fishing for coho salmon will continue, but these are a faint consolation compared to hard-fighting chinook that tip the scales at nearly 50 pounds.

The Buoy 10 chinook allocation of just 6,500 fish is very much in keeping with the pattern this spring, which heavily favored upriver urban fishermen. As many as nearly 1,200 adult chinook have been passing Bonneville Dam each day recently on their way to spawning grounds and hatcheries.

Scientists at Oregon State University say a new analysis of a 200-mile-long fault line off the southern and central Oregon coast shows it is more active than the San Andreas Fault in California, blamed for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

They say Blanco Transform Fault Zone likely won’t produce the catastrophic earthquake many predict for the Pacific Northwest, but they say an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 to 7.0, capable of inflicting heavy damage, is at least possible.

During the past 40 years there have been about 1,500 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater along the Blanco Transform Fault Zone, and many thousands of smaller quakes.

50 years ago — 1968

One of the rainiest Astoria Regattas in history ended Sunday, highly successful despite drenching rains that fortunately let up long enough for Saturday’s parade and Sunday’s inboard hydroplane races.

The lure of the Lewis and Clark expedition is still powerful after a century and a half, and people of all ages succumb to the urge to follow the trail of the explorers of 1804-06.

Latest to do so, and complete a successful journey over that arduous route, is 72-year-old Ray Burkett, Detroit, Mich.

Burkett reached Astoria in an outboard-powered 12-foot aluminum rowboat, four months out from his Michigan home.

He survived fire, sinking and various minor mishaps and lost 15 pounds on the way. He arrived hale and tanned.

Burkett, who admits to a background in radio and newspaper work, said he undertook the trip partly for his health and partly to promote sale of a couple of books he has written. One is a handbook for vending machine operators, the other a volume of poetry.

An organization which includes Astoria-area men has been formed to prevent heating of the Columbia River by nuclear power plants and any resulting loss of salmon.

Russell Bristow, executive secretary of the Columbia River Fishermen’s Protective union, said some 25 representatives of fishing industry and conservation groups met Sunday in Salem. They set up what is tentatively called the Clear, Cool Water committee.

75 years ago — 1943

American women must get along without nylon hose for the duration, but after the war supplies will be plentiful.

This was the message of Earl Constantine, president of the national association of hosiery manufacturers, in an address last week to hosiery sales representatives.

He predicted, however, that new synthetic fabrics developed for wartime use would compete with nylon for the favor of the nation’s womanhood.

Ida Larson, observer at Knappa post, was awarded the silver and gold “Observer of the Month” medal by radio station KOIN of Portland. The presentation of this award was aired recently over KOIN’s “Stop, Look and Listen” program.

News reaching shore from the broad reaches of the Columbia River told today of better-than-usual sports fishing luck, as the Waltonians from all over Oregon tested their mettle against the illusive Columbia River chinook.

Consensus of opinion among sporting goods houses here and other observers is that the “old stand-byes” or the guys who annually make their pilgrimage to the shrine of the chinook are here in force; and while there are not as many out-of-state visitors, sale of tackle and licenses indicates fishing equal to 1942.

The informal exchange service a customer apparently believed in operation at Carolyn’s apparel shop when she came in to the establishment with her old coat and walked out with a new one, without paying, has been discontinued, Richard See, operator of the shop, said. In fact, See has gone further than this. He has notified the police of the transaction and a search is on for See’s unusual customer.

Nearly a half inch of rain Tuesday night made this month the second-wettest August in 118 years of weather history.

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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