1918 — 100 years ago
“When is the Columbia River Highway now under construction in Hood River County going to be open for travel?” This is the query which is on many tongues here and local hotel and garage men report receiving a great many inquires of the same tenor from motorists in Portland, the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon. No satisfactory answer can be given for this constantly increasing number of inquiries, but Hood River people who have recently inspected the portions of the highway now under construction declare that the road cannot possibly be opened before the middle of July, at the earliest, unless construction work is materially speeded up.
Verbatim: Downtown work: It’s almost over!
By BILL CAMPEAU
News special report
When residents and visitors travel around downtown Hood River today, the start of the weekend Blossom Festival, they’ll be able to drive down Oak Avenue and walk the sidewalks.
According to City Manager Lynn Guenther, all paving was to be completed Friday, including Oak, and First and Third streets, all with sidewalks.
“The only thing left to be done are such items as lights and trees,” he said. “Electrical and landscaping will be completed over the next couple of weeks, but the main job will be finished.”
Needless to add, most merchants along Oak are ecstatic. Stores along Oak will be open for business without barriers and shoppers will be able to enter the stores easily and window shop risk-free.
Rose Kelly, manger of the Waucoma Bookstore at 212 Oak Street, expressed her reaction in one word:
“People have been very nice during this time of upset and business has suffered,” she added. “However, the long-term benefits will offset the down side. Hood River has invested a lot o f time and effort in this project and our downtown area is alive and thriving.”
Pete Jubitz, owner of Franz Hardware at Second and Oak, was happy that the project is pretty much completed. “We have sacrificed a lot over a period of two years for new streets and sewer pipes, and I hope this will work out.”
Gail Petitt, manger of Annie Cruz at 209 Oak, said:
“I can hardly wait. I think we should have a great big party to let everyone know all the tear-up is over.
“The workers were very accommodating. They did the job at the right time of the year and the result is really neat. The only thing I couldn’t stand was the big vibrating roller thing, but that’s gone now. The trees and lampposts look very good too,” Petitt said.
— Hood River News, April 18, 1998
1928 — 90 years ago
A rainstorm, which more nearly compares with tropical storms than any seen here in many years, descended upon Hood River Valley last Monday afternoon. In less than 10 minutes, more than half an inch of rain fell and the streets downtown were, for a few minutes, awash. Thunder and lightening accompanied the storm and small hailstones fell out in the valley. Owing to its short duration, the storm did no damage.
Nels Nelson, manager of the Oregon Lumber Co.’s plant at Dee, states that this season will probably witness the largest cut in the woods and the mill of many years. Both the mill and woods crew are now in full operation.
1938 — 80 years ago
With the announcement at the city council Monday night that the beautifying of the triangle at the west end of State Street at 13th will be jointly undertaken by the Camp Fire Girls and Mayor A.S. Kolstad, came the report that an effort will be made to secure a permit for the use of the adjoining wooded tract as a playground for small children. This tract is privately owned, but the council believes that the owner will be willing to grant the use of the area for playground purposes. It could be easily fenced to keep children off traffic lanes.
1948 — 70 years ago
Petitions for the formation of a West Side fire district will be circulated in that area during the coming week, announces Bill Hukari, West Side fire chief and overall chairman of a formation drive. All residents of the area are urged to give serious consideration to the fire district. The district is bounded on the east by the Hood River city limits and the Hood river, on the west by a line encompassing the inhabited limits of the extreme West Side to a point east of Mitchell point, and on the north by the Columbia river, excepting that portion of the Hood River city limits.
1958 — 60 years ago
Logging jobs, starting fast this year, fell off in the rainy weather last month to put a shaky floor under Hood River’s shaky job situation. Muddy road and snow in high elevations forced suspension of several valley log operations in March. The biggest upswing in job openings appears to be in trade and service fields here, with retail sales showing a slight upswing, probably due to the Easter shopping splurge. Construction work is falling off, with completion of several major products. The employment office notes a large surplus of all types of construction workers.
1968 — 50 years ago
How much damage? We’ll know by June. It was a common question and answer among growers here after a sharp freeze hit the Hood River Valley — and all of the Northwest — last Friday. In between the question and the answer was all sorts of speculation. After temperatures dropped as low as 20 degrees Friday, growers of the valley’s 13,000 acres of tree fruit immediately started comparing notes about black pistils. At the Hood River Traffic Association meeting Monday, one report indicated the largest crowed turned out since 1964, when another freeze thinned the apple and pear trees.
1978 — 40 years ago
Turkeys were thawing and the kitchen was humming at the Pine Grove Grange this week. It was a sure sign that Blossom Day in Hood River was not far off. Mary Moore, who has headed the widely known Pine Grove Blossom Day Smorgasbord dinner each of its 25 years, said the crew is right on schedule for the event. It was the Pine Grove dinner that started it all, and that smorgasbord has served as many as 2,000 persons on a Sunday. Since the original day began, both the program and the blossom route have extended to cover the whole county.
1988 — 30 years ago
Effectively immediately, boaters on Laurance Lake near Parkdale will no longer be able to use gas engines, according to information from the Oregon State Marine Board. Marine board members voted April 15 to rescind an earlier decision allowing gas motors on the lake. The new decision follows a public meeting in Hood River last month, which garnered considerable opposition to gas engines on Laurance Lake.
Every report confirmed it — Blossom Festival ’88 was a near clean sweep in every department. It would have been hard to orchestrate the pear blossoms any better. Trees were in bloom in the lower valley, where leaves were also starting to show. And they were also in bloom in the middle and upper valleys. There were even some pink apple blossoms at lower elevations.
1998 — 20 years ago
The Columbia Area Transit, which offers dial-a-ride and alternative transportation throughout Hood River County, will again offer fixed drop service in the city this summer. Executive Director Linda Floyd explained that a fixed drop service follows specific routes, like a municipal bus. “We thought it was successful last summer and we’ll repeat it this summer,” she said.
Blossom Festival weekend was a smash. A year ago, rain seriously cut into the crowds and dampened not only spirits but attendance as well. This year’s event started out with smiles on Friday at the coronation of Amanda Dethman as Blossom Queen in ceremonies at Down Manor. She was crowned by last year’s queen, Angela Clark.
2008 — 10 years ago
Below-freezing temperatures forecast for the weekend threaten the bloom of Hood River Valley fruit crops. The forecast calls for temperatures to drop in to the mid- to upper-20s during the next three or four nights. “Prior to bloom we can handle 28 degrees, but after bloom, we need it to be above 30,” said Pat Moore, a mid-valley pear grower. “The pollen has to have heat to ripen.”
— Compiled by Trisha Walker, News staff writer