Yesteryears: The Hood River ‘runs out of water’ in 1976

July 8, 1976 — Purchase of the White Salmon Enterprise by the Hood River News became effective July 1. Previous owner Robert Meresse (right) stands in front of the Enterprise office with Hood River News Publisher Dick Nafsinger (center) and Barry Ternahan, who will be the editor and general manager of the Washington newspaper. Meresse and his wife, Yvette, have published the newspaper for several years. It had been owned by the Meresse family since 1912.

Hood River News archives
July 8, 1976 — Purchase of the White Salmon Enterprise by the Hood River News became effective July 1. Previous owner Robert Meresse (right) stands in front of the Enterprise office with Hood River News Publisher Dick Nafsinger (center) and Barry Ternahan, who will be the editor and general manager of the Washington newspaper. Meresse and his wife, Yvette, have published the newspaper for several years. It had been owned by the Meresse family since 1912.

1916 — 100 years ago

Several farms on the lowlands adjoining the Columbia River were flooded by the high water of the past week and considerable damage was done to crops. J.H. Koberg, who has one of the most extensive truck farms on the river flats, saved his crops from damage by building a dike. This was maintained at considerable trouble as the river was constantly washing the earth away. Several teams were employed.

1926 — 90 years ago

That Hood River County was the mecca for many thousands of holidays makers from the outside is evident from the figures available from the various resorts in this county. Traffic over the Loop Highway, the Columbia River Highway, the Lost Lake Road and the new Cooper’s Spur Road reached record proportions. In town, every restaurant did capacity business over the July Fourth holidays, and there was a good demand for accommodations at the Columbia Gorge Hotel.

1936 — 80 years ago

It is reliably reported that directors of the Oregon-Washington Bridge Company and the Army Engineers have arrived at an agreement on the cost of the changes to the structure which will have to be made before the dam at Bonneville is finished and the Columbia River here rises to a permanent level of about 71 feet. Word of acceptance is now awaited from Washington and when that arrives, plans for extensive changes to the bridge approach and structure will be early completed. Recently a report to the effect that a new bridge was to be built between Koberg Beach and Bingen was given prominence in the Klickitat County town, but, while it is true that a survey was made, the object was to ascertain comparative costs of the work to be shortly done on the existing bridge.

VERBATIM: Rain Damage to Cherries is $450,000

No More Fresh Bings To Go To Markets

Late June rains of last week dealt cherry growers of Hood River Valley the hardest blow they have ever suffered collective, and it is now estimated that the loss will be between $400,000 and $450,000. The rain set in Thursday evening of last week and was almost continuous for at least 14 hours. In many orchards, Bings and Royal Annes were in the sugar stage and ready for picking, and the absorption of rain resulted in splitting, ranging all the way from 22 to nearly 90 percent. Before the rains, growers were, in many instances, expecting a crop equal or better than in any other previous year.

As of now, the one bright spot in the industry is that Lamberts generally came through the rain in fair shape and a minimum of splitting of this late variety is reported.

The Apple Growers Association states that estimates of shipping cherries is cut in half, and no more Bings will be packed for the fresh markets; fruit remaining on hand and unharvested will go to the cannery for processing.

This decision came as a result of sorting of fruit and observations of field men, which revealed the full extent of the damage.

At the AGA cannery, special sorting belts have been installed and a night crew will commence tonight to handle additional tonnage.

The packing of Lambert cherries, which show a much smaller percentage of rain damage, will also start today.

— Hood River News, July 5, 1946

1946 — 70 years ago

Thanks to the efforts of County Agent A.L. Marble, the bread shortage in the Hood River area is now at an end. Marble, remembering provisions set up under the Production and Marketing Administration of the AAA, learned that emergency flour could be secured to provide bread for orchard and other agricultural workers and took advantage of the regulations to secure 171 sacks of flour per week for the next four weeks. This flour is being milled at The Dalles and will be distributed among local and other bakers who supply the Hood River area with bread. This extra allotment of flour, totaling in all 684 sacks, should easily provide as much extra bread as is likely to be needed by orchard and field workers during the cherry harvest and thinning season.

1956 — 60 years ago

Two bids on Hood River Memorial Hospital’s proposed building addition submitted Tuesday morning total $882,931 and $974,368. Compared to the architect’s estimated cost of $450,000 for building the first and second floor additions and group one equipment, the low bid of the Weston Construction Company of Portland amounts to approximately double the hospital’s cost estimate. The hospital board took no action on accepting or rejecting the bids until an adjourned meeting next week when President E.R. Pooley and Kenneth Abraham, board member, may be present.

1966 — 50 years ago

Murky, rainy weather during the Fourth of July weekend spelled disaster to many cherry crops in the Hood River Valley, some reports going as high as 90 percent damage from splitting. Field men for packing companies ran samples early this week, then concluded that the weekend’s rain had taken about 40 percent average toll of the crop remaining on the trees. One grower on the east side said he figured to net $10,000 on his crop — but that was last Thursday. After the weekend of rain, he said it was questionable whether the crop would even be picked. In his case, damage was estimated at 50 percent.

1976 — 40 years ago

For the first time in recent memory, the Hood River ran out of water on Tuesday this week. Mayor J.B. Coffey issued an immediate shutdown on all irrigation and he sent police and fireman throughout the community to close off sprinklers. A meeting of the fire and water committee of the city council was called for noon Wednesday to discuss the shortage and to seek possible solutions. The critical situation came to the attention of city officials when reports came in from water users in the Tucker Road and Rockford areas that they were without water.

1986 — 30 years ago

“We’re projecting 48,000 to 50,000 people — about a 10 percent increase over last year.” Managing crowds has become a way of life for Jim O’Banion, Port of Hood River manager, since the Columbia River Gorge was discovered as a boardsailing utopia. This weekend, O’Banion and the other people involved in the operation of the Columbia Gorge Pro-Am Speed Slalom, which begins July 11 at the Port Marina Park beach, will face yet another challenge, as a record number of competitors and spectators are expected for the 10-day event.

1996 — 20 years ago

With the anticipated sale of the Columbia Building to Full Sail Brewing Company nearing closure, DaKine Hawaii may be moving to Hood River’s waterfront — but the exact location could cause a stink. In an effort to relocate DaKine and finalize the Columbia Building sale, the Port of Hood River has offered the windsurfing industry manufacturer a building site on Lot 5, east of the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Because of odor problems caused by the plant, DaKine has suggested moving to Lot 6. Lot 6 is a prime piece of the port’s waterfront property that is designated as commercial and open space in the port’s waterfront master plan currently under review by the city. The parcel has been the subject of much controversy, with local citizens and recreation groups asking that the land be left for public open space.

2006 — 10 years ago

Pilots can now fuel up 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Hood River’s Ken Jernstedt Airfield. Technicians from NW Pump and Equipment of Portland installed a card reader and hooked up its modem line on Thursday. “Because we have prevailing winds from the west, people stop here to refuel because often they find themselves a little short on fuel at this point,” said Manager Anne Yanotti. “The addition comes at a peak time of business for the airport as the summer months bring in more pilots through the Columbia Gorge.”

— Compiled by Trisha Walker, news staff writer

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