25 YEARS AGO

Sept. 3, 1996

After about 33 years of being a Hermiston barber, Gene Wicks put away his clippers and razors for the last time at Gene’s West Side Barber Shop. His career began in 1963 when he moved from Pilot Rock to Hermiston, following his graduation from barber school two years prior.

He worked alongside Larry Montgomery, who owned the shop at the time. In 1967, Wicks bought out Montgomery and made some upgrades to the shop he described as “a little hole in the wall.”

Ed Parkins, who had his hair cut by Wicks for nearly 20 years, joked that Wicks’ retirement might impact him, too. “I’ll have to buy a guitar and join a rock ’n’ roll band, I guess.” Parkins was one of Wicks’ last customers.

Although Wicks is looking forward to more time for activities he enjoys, like fishing and camping, he said he would miss life as a barber. “You really get to know your customers. When they walk in the door, you know exactly what they want,” he said. “You meet a lot of nice people and make a lot of nice friends.”

50 YEARS AGO

Sept. 2, 1971

An ambitious recycling project began as nearly 20 tons of shredded garbage was dumped at a six-acre test plot near Boardman. Several weeks ago, the Boeing Company and Columbia Processors Cooperative of Portland announced its plan to recycle garbage from the Portland area onto 100,000 acres they plan to irrigate with the Columbia River.

Elton Weeks, assistant project engineer for Boeing’s Boardman Project, said the purpose of the plots would be to study the effects of waste applied at different depths and amounts. Boeing engineers, in cooperation with Oregon State University, will be experimenting with this first batch until the spring. “We’ll take detailed tests of the chemical and physical reactions to help determine whether our approach is sound, and whether there will be any effects in the ecology of the area.”

Cliff Schiel, chairman of the Metropolitan Disposal Committee, said they received complete approval from all government agencies — from “the governor on down” — with the exception of the Metropolitan Service District officials (the governing body of the Tri-Cities area) who said they’d withhold judgement until after the tests.

According to Schiel, the cost and local reaction are considerably favorable. He also said the project is comparatively odorless and reduces leaching problems. “There are tremendous advantages to the method and we haven’t found any disadvantages yet.”

75 YEARS AGO

Sept. 5, 1946

Though the Hermistonians of 1946 weren’t dealing with a pandemic at the time, it seems their elementary schools were just as overwhelmed. In grades one through eight, there were 693 students — a 47 student increase from the 646 of last year. Specifically, the first grade student count topped all others and set a record at 106 students.

To accommodate this great increase, there will be three full first grade sections in town and 23 first graders combined with second graders at Ordnance. In addition, several upper grade students who live in town will have to be shifted to the other sections that begin at 8 a.m.

Another portion of the project plan to ease overcrowded conditions is to add another teacher in the intermediate grades. Principal Cliff Norris is still working through this problem and hopes to provide relief to the overloaded teachers by the beginning of next week.

100 YEARS AGO

Sept. 1, 1921

In 1921, the Pendleton Round-Up boasted quite an array of famous figures. Among those expected are A. Phimister Proctor, a sculptor who recently completed an equestrian statue of President Roosevelt to be presented to the city of Portland by Dr. Waldo Coe; editor of the Cosmopolitan, Verne H. Porter; well-known author Mary Roberta Rinehart; and popular screen favorite Bebe Daniels. They’ll take their seats in the grandstand at this 12th annual show.

Being a community affair conducted on a nonprofit basis by the Round-Up Association (which is made up of prominent Pendleton citizens), the Pendleton Round-Up hence attracts thousands of visitors. An additional attraction this year is the Northwest Grain and Hay Show, to be held in Pendleton during Round-Up week. The show is open to the public and a $1,500 premium list, the greatest ever offered for such products in the northwest, is also capturing the interests of wheat growers and others.

———

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

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