25 YEARS AGO

Dec. 3, 1996

The Hermiston Breakfast Kiwanis club heads the annual Festival of Trees auction and dinner, which brought in over $10,600 this year.

Many elegantly-decorated trees were present, such as “O Holy Night,” “A Royal Christmas,” “A Russian Christmas,” and “Gingerbread House All Frosty and Spice.” J.L. Brandt Electric bought and donated the “O Holy Night” tree, decorated by Kari Christansian, to the Hermiston Public Library; “A Royal Christmas” was decorated by Express Personnel Services, bought by Sherrell Chevrolet and J.L. Brandt Electric, and donated to Rose Arbor Assisted Living Facility; “A Russian Christmas” was decorated by Bonnie and Glen Greiner, bought by Amstad Farms and Bothum Construction, and donated to Our Lady of Angels Hospital; and the “Gingerbread House All Frosty and Spice” tree, created by Cottage Flowers, resides in The Hermiston Herald building.

In addition to the auction were a fabulous dinner and free family day — where the many families crowded the Hermiston Community Center for numerous activities, visiting with Santa, and viewing vendor booths.

The majority of funds will be used to improve Newport Park, the oldest baseball field in the city. Specifically, the focus is on rebuilding a backstop, concessions stand, and repairing a portion of the chain-link fence.

“It’s important because those who can’t walk, like grandparents, can watch from their cars,” explains co-chair-person of the festival Kari Christiansen.

50 YEARS AGO

Dec. 2, 1971

A new daycare center is opening its doors in Hermiston, though staff interviews are still being conducted and some construction is yet to be finished.

According to temporary director Mrs. Norma Rebmann, necessary work like separating the furnace from the utility room, installing a fire protection sprinkler system, and finishing the cyclone fence still needs to be completed to meet state standards. Rev. Jack Naff, chairman of the personal committee, conducted interviews for teacher and director applicants and expects all positions to be filled by the end of the week.

• Though Christmas is nearing, it seems some people are increasing their chances of landing on the naughty list. Vandalism at the Boardman Riverview Cemetery, destruction of rural mailboxes and bicycle theft have been repeatedly reported in the past few weeks. Postmaster Fred Reeves of Hemriston informed The Herald that mailbox destruction carries penalties of heavy fines, prison time or even both. As for the theft, 10-speed bicycles have been stolen in the Hermiston area — four of which were taken from the West Highland Avenue region alone.

75 YEARS AGO

Dec. 5, 1946

An area shrouded in secrecy, the Umatilla Ordnance Depot, is hiring ammunition handlers. Those who desire the position will go through an examination of experience of training — but a written test isn’t required. Applicants must be between ages 18 and 62, though exceptions might be made for veterans and war service indefinite employees.

The starting pay for the position is an attractive $0.94 an hour, a little over 1946’s minimum wage. One could even apply for permanent positions, which would lead to probational appointments with permanent classified civil service status at the Umatilla Ordnance Depot. In addition to supporting the war effort and making some money, the chance of getting a closer look at the mysterious Umatilla Ordnance Depot probably adds another layer to the appeal of this job.

100 YEARS AGO

Dec. 1, 1921

The newspaper was quite frightening this morning in 1921, bearing the news of a train collision that killed at least eight people.

Union Pacific Trains 12 and 17 collided near Rufus, the result of a miscommunication. Train 17 is the westbound afternoon train that travels through Hermiston and train 12 is the night train that travels between Portland and Spokane.

Union Pacific was using only one of its two tracks between Rufus and The Dalles, and failure to inform the trains of this resulted in them using the same track. They collided at high speeds — one at 25mph and the other at 55mph. Both trains were derailed from the shock, and the tracks are consequently already cleared.

The fatalities are still being determined, but it’s certain that eight are dead and at least 25 injured. Thankfully, the three Hermiston residents aboard — Dr. and Mrs. F. V. Prime and F.B. Swayze — survived.

——

McKenzie Rose, a sophomore at Echo High School, searched Hermiston Herald archives to compile these article summaries.

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