Years from now, Astorians will still be telling stories about a daring visionary and iconoclast, Robert “Jake” Jacob. With matinee idol good looks and piercing green eyes, Jake was a force of nature — unforgettable in life, unforgettable in death.
Jacob died in September 2018, leaving behind a rich legacy of good works in his hometown.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Bruce Jones read the following proclamation.
WHEREAS, Robert H. Jacob, known affectionately to Astorians as “Jake,” was born in Astoria in 1949 and spent the last decades of his life enthusiastically helping create a vibrant and thriving Astoria; and
WHEREAS, Jake designed the master plan of the Astoria Riverwalk, using his architectural skills to incorporate the working riverfront with people, places and uses for all; and
WHEREAS, Jake worked to save and then preserve the Liberty Theatre for the city of Astoria; and
WHEREAS, Jake located and brought the Astoria Waterfront Trolley, also known as the “Old 300,” to Astoria; and
WHEREAS, Jake envisioned, designed and built the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa; and
WHEREAS, Jake led the charge to preserve and restore the Astoria Armory; and
WHEREAS, Jake led the charge to preserve and restore the Astoria Ferry Tourist #2; and
WHEREAS, Jake inspired and mentored other Astorians to do work to benefit the city of Astoria;
NOW THEREFORE, to honor Jake as the Astoria creative visionary he was and the dreamer he wanted each of us to be, the city of Astoria declares April 19, 2019 (which would have been Jake’s 70th birthday) as
ROBERT “JAKE” JACOB DAY
Astoria is a better community for everyone to live in and visit because of Robert “Jake” Jacob.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have herewith set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Astoria to be affixed this 15th day of April, 2019.
City of Astoria Mayor, Bruce Jones
Horns and whistles
At 5 p.m. on Friday, horns and whistles throughout Astoria will sound, including Jeff Daly’s Joy Train and the Astoria Ferry Tourist No. 2. Jones hopes Astorians will take a moment to remember Jake with gratitude for all of his contributions to the community, he said.
Many have called Jacob an “icon” of Astoria. More than 400 people attended a celebration of life for him at the Astoria Armory last fall. Friends and acquaintances found his audacious ideas and over-the-top antics refreshing and even hilarious. They knew his crazy genius allowed him to imagine and do things others would not dare.
Former Mayor Willis Van Dusen joked that the only thing in town Jacob had nothing to do with was the Column.
“Jake is part of the Astoria lexicon,” Van Dusen said.
Jacob “John Wayned” his way through life, believing that one should “do something, even if it’s wrong.” He continued to try new things, even as he struggled with alcoholism. Challenges and setbacks did not define him — he always figured there was another way to make something work out. A maverick, eccentric entrepreneur with charm and charisma, he left his fingerprints everywhere in Astoria.
Jacob was proud of his Finnish heritage, and would be amused to know that his brainchild, the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, just purchased a decorative trash bin for the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Park in his name.
“Jake loved to throw away trash and clutter, and he would love the idea that a trash bin in a Scandinavian park would be a place his buddies could visit — and also leave the town a cleaner place,” said friend Terry Rosenau.
Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa staff is building an outdoor bench with a plaque in his honor near the hotel — a bench built with contributions from each staff member, many of whom worked with him since the hotel opened in 2005.
Donna Quinn is director of sales and marketing for the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa.