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HERMISTON HISTORY: Safeway gets debit machines, empty high school bomb hoax and fuel rationing

Published on November 28, 2017 6:28PM

Robert Bernard Adams, 37, became Hermiston Police Department chief 50 years ago.

HH file photo

Robert Bernard Adams, 37, became Hermiston Police Department chief 50 years ago.

Drivers were skidding around Hermiston in November 1992 after an early winter storm layered about an inch of ice on area roads.

HH file photo

Drivers were skidding around Hermiston in November 1992 after an early winter storm layered about an inch of ice on area roads.

Hermiston potato grower Fred Dormaier joined in donating and delivering potatoes to feed 10,000 people in Portland in 1992.

HH file photo

Hermiston potato grower Fred Dormaier joined in donating and delivering potatoes to feed 10,000 people in Portland in 1992.


December 1, 1992

•Snow, wind and freezing rain combined to cause more than 10 reported crashes and countless unreported fender benders as holiday travelers returned home from Thanksgiving on Friday.

•Nothing goes better with turkey than mashed potatoes, but members of the Oregon Potato Commission and Boardman’s Oregon Potato Company went a step further in Portland last week when the two led a list of state food producers to feed 10,000 people at a community dinner. Oregon growers, looking for a way to share their potato production with others in the state, jumped at the chance to join ex-Trail Blazer Kermit Washington’s Sixth Man Foundation, a non-profit group, sponsors of the annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner. The promise of 3,000 pounds of potatoes to be processed by Oregon Potato Co. into flakes would eliminate the ordeal of hours of peeling and early preparation, the Portland Foundation was able to gather more than $28,000 in donated Oregon food products for the dinner.

•The future, — well, at least part of it — is here in Hermiston in the form of 11 new debit machines at the local Safeway Store. Customers can use the machine to automatically pay for purchases at the store, without any checks or cash leaving their hands. The new gadgets are one of the latest examples of electronic money spreading across the nation. Electronic money — which uses computers and data bases to pay bills instead of hard currency — is reaching into even rural areas. “I think we are on the outskirts of electronic money here,” said Steve Williams, branch manager at U.S. Bank in Hermiston. “Stores in California have been using these machines and cards for years, and it’s slowly coming up the West coast.”

•A few construction and remodeling problems have continued to haunt Blue Mountain Community College’s new West Campus building on the southeastern side of Hermiston. The biggest headaches have been getting the final electrical problems corrected and insuring the new carpet will meet the specifications set in the bid, said Ron Daniels, president of the college. Columbia Hall, the new building housing BMCC’s Hermiston branch, was originally set to reach completion on Sept. 1, but early problems pushed it back to Sept., 15. At that time the staff moved in the building and worked around the contractors for about a month. The Oct., 14 open house happened, however there were some finishing touches still to be completed.


November 30, 1967

  • Hermiston city police received an anonymous call over the fire phone at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The tipster, believed to be a 15 or 16 year old boy, stated that a bomb had been placed in the Hermiston Senior High School and would explode sometime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. City police contacted Corporal Rothermel of the state police and both city and state police started an immediate search of the school. Under the direction of Hermiston Police Chief Robert Adams and State Police Corporal Rothermel officers from both departments began extensive search. By 9:30 a.m. the entire school had been carefully scrutinized and police were unable to find any evidence of explosives in the school.


December 3, 1942

•An extreme high and an extreme low was experienced by Hermiston service station operators this week. Monday saw hundreds of motorists awaiting their turns at the filling stations, many filling not only their tanks but loading up with 50 gallon barrels and other containers. The picture was entirely different Tuesday, with gasoline sales practically nil. One station attendant stated that he did not sell one drop of gasoline while others reported sales of eight, sixteen and twenty gallons. In another station the attendant waited until 10 o’clock for someone to come in then gave up in disgust, locked his pumps and went home. Beginning Tuesday, when a motorist drives into a service station, besides cash, he will have to dig up ration coupons. These must be endorsed by the holder before they are valid in order to protect books from misuse in case of loss or theft. However, the worries of the motorist and service station attendant are far from over. Gas rationing was primarily launched to save tires. Periodically each motorist must have his tires carefully inspected by an approved tire inspector.

•The Presbyterian church at Stanfield suffered $1,000 damage, covered by insurance, in a fire Sunday morning between seven and eight o’clock. The fire evidently started from an overheated stove with most of the damage held to the basement. Dr. J.M. Cornelison, supply pastor, reports that next Sunday services will be held in the high school auditorium.


December 1917

•The telephone played an important part in securing a representative meeting of good roads boosters here last week, when a hurry-up call was sent to Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo by the Hermiston Commercial Club secretary. The meeting was for the purpose of selecting delegates from the four towns to wait on the county court and urge them to at once begin laying base for the Columbia highway between Umatilla and Echo, so that there would be no obstacles in the way when the state highway awards contracts early next spring for hard surfacing the highway along the water grade route from The Dalles to Pendleton.

•Better send in your money now to Secretary of State Olcott and avoid trouble by getting your auto license by the first of the year, for that gentleman has sent out a general warning to automobile owners in this section that they will not be allowed to run their machines on public highways after January 1 unless they have the 1918 license tags attached without subjecting themselves to prosecution. Payment in time may save a fine in this instance.

•The First National Bank of this city is in a healthy and prosperous condition as shown in the statement of its financial condition printed in the columns this week. Its resources have increased amazingly within the past year, and in this showing is reflected the ever increasing stability of the Hermiston valley.


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