Hermiston History

Detective Poncho Rio directs West Park Elementary School first graders in loading cans of food headed for the Hermiston Police Department’s Christmas Express in 1993.


Dec. 14, 1993

It took the tie-breaking vote of Mayor Frank Harkenrider to pass a motion at Monday’s city council meeting to reopen Hodge Park during weekdays.

“Dick and Lorna Hodge donated Hodge Park not for the grownups, not for the high school kids; they donated it for the little kids,” Harkenrider said.

“It is Stoner Park and will continue to be,” said Councilor Gary Quick. “I don’t give it a week and we’ll be back with more of the same problem.”

The council closed the park — reputed to be a center of illegal activity — in October in the wake of a rash of violence at or near the high school.

City administrator Ed Brookshier recommended that the council consider reopening the park as a “good neighbor” gesture to the Hermiston Plaza, which has been beset by young people who used to congregate at the park.

Hermiston History

Hermiston High School’s Keith Johnson pulls away an offensive rebound in 1993.


Dec. 12, 1968

Mrs. Robert (Betty) Pitzer of the Hermiston Veterinary Clinic says the number of local dogs treated at the clinic for distemper each week brings the frequency to a near epidemic level.

During the past six weeks, approximately 10 to 15 dogs have been treated weekly for this disease, which could have been prevented with simple vaccination shots which are quite painless to the animals.

Most of the dogs die from the disease, says Mrs. Pitzer, and if they do survive they quite often suffer permanent brain damage or partial loss of muscular control.

• Al Frost, Jaycee chairman in charge of having Santa make calls to local children in the area, says Santa has been making calls fast and furious every evening this week from 7 to 9 p.m., and although tonight was scheduled to be the last night for Santa’s pre-Christmas calls, the response has been so overwhelming that Santa will stay for another day and make calls for an additional evening.

Hermiston History

Wayne Harris, a Hermiston postal carrier, helps handle Christmas mail in 1968.


Dec 16., 1943

Residents who happened to be looking out of the window Wednesday morning were startled to see through the fog and haze a large building go riding down the street. Upon observation it was discovered that workmen had cut the Sterr grocery building, located west of the tracks, in half and were moving it to a vacant lot just east of Hermiston Auto Co. Here it will be placed on a concrete foundation.

Although Charles Hodge, owner of the Hermiston Auto Co., is out of the city, it is understood that he has purchased the building and vacant lot and plans to sell International tractors and farm machinery, including parts for same.

• A damaging fire of some unknown origin razed the loading docks and offices of the U.S. Army oil terminal at Umatilla Tuesday evening about 4:30. The flames spread so quickly that absolutely nothing was saved from the office, including all equipment, files, records and two dogs which could not be released.

The Umatilla and Hermiston fire departments answered the call but were too late to save the building, but were instrumental in keeping the flames from spreading to the nearby gasoline and fuel oil storage tanks.


Dec. 14, 1918

Mr. and Mrs. R.A. Stewart, northeast of town, have received the following letter from their son Carl:

My Dear Folks: You will notice that my address is changed and I am now with a division that is much talked of lately and has a fine reputation on the front. The boys are a fine bunch and I expect to have a very pleasant time, if one can possible say war is a pleasure, although I can imagine life under such circumstances far worse than this. Since I started this I received your letters of August 16th and 20th and was indeed most pleased to get them.

Well, Austria is out of it and before you read this everything will be over, and as I write this Nov. 3rd it looks as if I might be home for Christmas. With best love, I am your son Carl.

• Ora, the nine-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. John McElroy, Minnehaha district ranchers, came mightily near having his left eye torn out Saturday while playing buzz saw with a string and button.

While buzzing the button the string broke, thus releasing the button, which, still revolving, struck the eyeball, lacerating it so severely that the parents were compelled to take him to Pendleton to an eye specialist, who had to take a stitch to close up the wound. While uncertain as to the outcome of this accident, it is thought by the specialist that the sight will not be impaired.

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