25 YEARS AGO
Aug. 20, 1996
In the stretch of just a few days, three deadly accidents occurred on Highways 730 and 395, near Hermiston.
The first one, happening around 11 a.m. on Thursday, killed Ernest L. King, 50, and Trinette Statton, 19. King was traveling westbound on Highway 730 when his sedan crossed the centerline, resulting in a head-on collision with Statton’s pick-up truck. Statton died at the site, while King died later that day at Good Shepherd Hospital. David Karlin, 22, was riding with Statton when the accident occured, but walked away without major injuries. According to senior OSP Trooper Rod Hansen, both Statton and Karlin were wearing seatbelts — while King wasn’t.
The second accident happened around 5 a.m. on Saturday when Christopher Thomas Gumpert, 20, was thrown from his pick-up after it drifted off the road and rolled over multiple times. He was headed east on Highway 395 and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time. When emergency medical personnel arrived, he was already dead.
The last of the accidents involved a tractor-trailer and sedan near the Hermiston Municipal Airport. Matthew A. Prentice, 27, crossed over the center line and several lanes of traffic, hitting Orville G. Blazer’s tractor-trailer. Prentice, at the time, was remaining in serious condition at Oregon Health Sciences University while Blazer was uninjured.
50 YEARS AGO
Aug. 19, 1971
The history of the Umatilla County Fair is an intricate one, though many disagree as to when the first official fair actually was. Numerous fairs, under just as many names, have been in the area since the 1870s.
Contributing to the confusion is the fact that many of the early fairs were held as add-ons to the Pendleton Round-Up. However, many deem the 1939 Umatilla County Fair as the first full-fledged real one.
In 1937, the Umatilla Project Fair celebrated its 25-year anniversary in their new location near the junior high school. The following year was the first time that 4-H and FFA exhibitors were entered as part of the show.
The fair board was expanded to 15 members in 1939, representing all areas of the county, to establish the Hermiston show as a county fair. Though it was somewhat put on hold during the duration of World War II, as people focused on growing Victory Gardens and selling war bonds instead of creating fair exhibits, it resumed with as much spirit and entries as before. In addition, 1946 was the first year a full queen and court were chosen.
75 YEARS AGO
Aug. 22, 1946
In this day and age when vaccines are a very common topic of discussion, it’s important to remember when there weren’t any. Around this week in 1946, there was a confirmed case of polio that was diagnosed as “infantile paralysis” at a Walla Walla hospital.
The illness was described as “slight” with the patient getting along “satisfactorily,” though there was no mention of any treatment. Although it was only one case, it was enough to remind people to be cautious and observant.
The public was warned to keep out of drainage and irrigation ditches, as well as the Columbia River, and instead stick to swimming in public pools. Also noted were symptoms, the first of which being sleepiness and headache. Those noticing such symptoms were even requested by public health officials to get plenty of rest and consult a doctor if the conditions continue or worsen.
100 YEARS AGO
Aug. 18, 1921
Oregon’s newest town at the time, Boardman, boasted quite a grand school. In fact, it’d been hailed as “probably the finest school building in the northwest in a place of Boardman’s size” by a Hermiston Herald editor.
The new public school building cost more than $50,000 and had manual training, domestic science, and other classrooms. It also hosts an engine room in the basement and an auditorium on the upper floor. The school was built on the unit-basis, which means that new wings could be added on whenever necessary.
This, in addition to the cost, makes it “a great monument to the public spirit of the citizens and shows how confident the people are in the future of their town,” said the Hermiston Herald editor. Perhaps the only thing that seemed to be missing was a gymnasium, which was deemed unnecessary since the climate permitted outdoor activities practically year-long.
McKenzie Rose, a sophomore at Echo High School, searched Hermiston Herald archives to compile these article summaries.