10 years ago – 2004

ST. LOUIS — Like aging rock stars on a comeback tour, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are enjoying a huge surge in popularity.

America this week celebrates the bicentennial of the expedition’s departure from the St. Louis region, when the explorers and a roughly 40-member crew set off to explore the Louisiana Territory and seek a Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean.

Stamp collectors and Lewis and Clark fans from around the Northwest and beyond watched the unveiling of three new stamps honoring the explorers at ceremonies at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park and Fort Clatsop National Memorial Friday.

The wind blows through your hair, salt air fills your lungs and the river’s so close it seems you can almost touch it. You’re cruising past the seafood plant, past the Fishermen’s Memorial, past downtown Astoria, past the Maritime Museum and the millpond, and all the way to the East Mooring Basin at 36th Street. You’re on a cruise ship, right? Wrong! You’re on board the Astoria Riverfront Trolley!

Gleaming in the sunlight, refurbished inside and out and in tiptop mechanical condition, the Astoria Riverfront Trolley, Old 300, began its sixth season May 9 – opening day of the Astoria Sunday Market.

A photo collage of projects underway at the Port of Astoria decorates the cover of a plastic three-ring binder that holds the Port’s 2004-05 budget. It’s an unusual touch for an austere document like a budget, but Executive Director Peter Gearin is pumped about the port, and especially the Astoria SeaFood Cluster. That’s the name given to the growing number of businesses springing up at the port as a result of its investment in infrastructure.

50 years ago – 1964

Striking members of the Building Laborer’s union are scheduled to return to work Wednesday morning on two jobs in this area, Eugene Koch, business agent of the union in Astoria, said Tuesday.

Jobs involved here are the Ben C. Gerwick and J.H. Pomeroy contract for constructing the Desdemona Sands viaduct of the Astoria interstate bridge, and the Peter Kiewit Sons Company contract to build the Smith Point bridge across Youngs Bay.

Sen. Wayne Morse has sent a copy of a telegram in which he again belabors Astoria’s “Republican mayor” for trying to “mislead” the people of Oregon as to the “true facts of the attempted steal of Tongue Point.”

Since the true facts of the long negotiations by the city of Astoria to buy Tongue Point for resale to a group of local business men are well known to all Astorians who can read newspapers, there’s no point in further beating of this dead horse.

The State Highway Department will call for bids Thursday for completion of bridge pier work on the $24 million Astoria bridge.

We here in the Sunset Empire can consider ourselves fortunate that the construction strike ended fairly quickly. A few years ago a similar strike dragged on through much of the summer. Here in this corner of Oregon we have several highways and bridge construction jobs in progress. Had the strike spread and halted all of them, it could have crimped our economy severely as well as retarding completion of the jobs.

Crown-Zellerbach Corporation’s award of a site-clearing contract at Wauna to Peter Kiewit Sons Company – the same firm that is building the Youngs Bay highway bridge – should remove any doubts that Crown means business with its proposed development at Wauna.

75 years ago — 1939

The annual encampment of the Oregon National Guard will open June 13 at Camp Clatsop.

Five troop trains and three motor convoys will leave Portland on that day, most of the men for infantry training at the Oregon coast training grounds, but the 63 officers and 636 men of the 218th field artillery will go direct to Camp Murray at Fort Lewis, Wash., for howitzer duty.

Troop trains will start at Baker, Marshfield, Oregon City and Klamath Falls, taking men from 28 cities in the state. The five trains will include 23 sleepers, 23 day coaches and 18 baggage cars.

Civic pride and community enterprise awakened with great gusto Sunday morning at 11 o’clock in the Altoona fish station district when Tom Jorgenson’s whale came to the top and headed for the beach under the boat house.

When Jorgenson let go of the whale Friday night he had no idea it would come to the surface, but by Sunday it had become bloated and drifted in among piling and net rocks to the hoist at the Altoona fish station.

Henry E. Niemi, 18, a young fisherman living at the station, and Ralph Bernhoff, 15, who lives nearby, put an end to the whale’s stay by slipping a line around one of its long fins and slowly towing it in the channel. Niemi said the whale had no bad smell. It apparently had been attacked by some monster of the deep because its thick gray hide was punctured with holes.

There were at least eight persons, seven men and one woman, dispensing flasks and jiggerfuls of liquor to the wrong customers in Astoria Tuesday afternoon. The customers were four state liquor commission agents.

Six of the dispensers are in the city jail and two are at liberty under bond on a charge of selling liquor without first obtaining a license. This is one of the biggest raids in a decade and the largest since state liquor stores were established.

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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