25 YEARS AGO
While most Echo residents looked to the Umatilla River for signs of flooding, the flood of ’93 came from a most unexpected direction. More than 20 homes were flooded by up to seven feet of water as a portion of the Hermiston Irrigation District canal east of the city collapsed.
The canal, which is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, broke in Bud Tefft’s backyard. Tefft, who was outside working at the time, said the only sound he heard was the water running through his horse pen. “I looked over and saw the canal had collapsed. I ran in the house to call 9-1-1,” he said.
Tefft said it was more than 45 minutes before any emergency personnel arrived on the scene, and another hour after that before the water was shut off in the canal.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. That damn water was running all over the place and it took them so long to get over here. I don’t understand what’s going on around here.”
Hermiston Police Department reports show that the first 9-1-1 call came in at 11:18 a.m. Echo Fire Department and Umatilla County Sheriff records show that both began responding less than 15 minutes later.
By the time water flow was stopped, most of the area from East Main to the northern edge of town had flooded. The water reached as far as the Union Pacific Railroad tracks before being stopped.
While crews evacuated the houses and shut off the electricity, district officials summed up the damage and tried to figure out what happened.
“We may never know what actually happened, but it was probably a gopher hole,” said Bill Porfily of the Hermiston Irrigation District.
Water in the canal was flowing at 250 cubic feet per second for nearly two hours, meaning that nearly 35 million gallons of water flooded the town.
50 YEARS AGO
A car driven in the middle of the night in the vicinity of Good Samaritan Center nursing home and the Hermiston Medical Center, also the burglary and ransacking of the office of Dr. Roy P. Rasmussen, Jr. plus theft of a medical bag from Dr. Rasmussen’s automobile have set police on the trail of a possible narcotics addict.
A report was given to Hermiston police by Dr. Rasmussen March 20 that medical supplies and equipment had been stolen from his motor vehicle in the parking area of Good Shepherd Hospital at the time he discovered the theft. He placed the value of the bag and contents at $150.
Police have linked this with the investigation in the vicinity of the 900 block of W. Orchard and W. Juniper Avenues of a car without lights moving about 2 a.m. and a man running from the vicinity of the doctor’s offices, entering the vehicle and driving away. The witness did not wish to be identified.
In checking the physician’s offices, police found a front door unlocked in the office of Dr. Rasmussen, discovered a storage room light on and cabinets and a refrigerator open. Dr. Rasmussen came to the office when called and said nothing was missing. Narcotics kept at the office were hidden and intact.
Echo police chief Tex Wilson brought a doctor’s bag found by Henry Tefft Sr. of Echo on Highway 32, about a mile and a half north of Stanfield, and Dr. Rasmussen identified it as the missing bag. Medical supplies had been removed, including 12 syringes and some drugs.
75 YEARS AGO
Mrs. H. W. Grim of Route Two, Hermiston, was greatly honored recently when she received a Purple Heart, signifying that her son, Eldon L. Allen, was killed while performing a heroic feat with the armed forces. Eldon, who was killed on Christmas Day, was fighting with the U.S. troops in New Guinea.
Eldon joined the army January 7, 1942, and was sent overseas April 20, 1942. He saw considerable action from that date until Christmas of the same year when he was listed among those killed. He was well known in this community.
It is believed that this is the first token of honor of this nature received locally during the present conflict.
• Rev. M. B. Ballinger, who has served as pastor of the Hermiston Methodist church for the past two years, wired the Herald office Wednesday from San Francisco as follows: “Just had examination and since no objections voiced by anyone, assume have been accepted.”
Rev. Ballinger left here Monday to appear before a Methodist committee on Army and Navy chaplains. It is not known exactly when he will leave Hermiston but it is assumed that he will remain until after Easter.
100 YEARS AGO
A new manufacturing industry will soon be in operation in the Hermiston valley, for the first of this week witnessed the breaking of ground preparatory to the construction of an alfalfa meal plant in this city. This long-sought and much-needed acquisition is to be launched by the C.S. McNaught Co., and it is hoped by that corporation to have everything ready and the plant in perfect operation to hand the first cutting of the new crop of alfalfa early in June.
The plans and specifications call for the construction of a building located on the vacant ground on the railroad right of way at the head of West Main Street. The building will be substantially constructed from corrugated iron on a cement foundation and there will be installed modern machinery for the manufacture of alfalfa meal for stock and chicken feed packed in 100 pound sacks. It will store 100 tons of baled hay and 100 tons of sacked alfalfa meal.