Umatilla to offer Old Town tours

<p>A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notice stands before a paved road at the Umatilla Old Town site. The notice reads: It is unlawful to: injure, excavate or appropriate any historic or prehistoric ruin, monument, object of antiquity or of scientific interest É punishment may include fines of up to $100,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment."</p>

For the first time since its closure, the Umatilla Old Town site will be open to visitors  when tours are conducted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 24.

The 80-acre site along the Columbia River has been closed for more than five decades, and the tours will run in conjunction with Umatilla Landing Days.

“Umatilla has a lot of history, and we want to celebrate that,” Larry Nelson, tour organizer and Umatilla Museum board member, said. “We want to be able to bring that history forward to the people who live here today to see where their families lived before. we want them to be able to see what it was like. I don’t think people realize what they’ve left behind because they’ve never been able to see it.”

Buses will run a circuit between the Umatilla Museum, Marina Park and Old Town before each tour, and the route is expected to take about 45 minutes. Guides will describe locations of well known buildings and residences as the tour passes the location of each, and markers will be set up to designate those locations.

Tickets for the tours will be available at the Umatilla Museum and at the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce booth at Marina Park. The tickets will be distributed by donation, and the suggested donation is $2.

Visitors will not be allowed to exit the bus, but photos will be permitted. The Umatilla Museum will be open all of Landing Days weekend. During the summer season, which is now in operation, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment. For more information, to volunteer or to schedule a tour, call 541-922-0209.

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