The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, June 15, 2021, Page 4, Image 4

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THE ASTORIAN • TuESdAy, JuNE 15, 2021
Founded in 1873
Circulation Manager
Production Manager
Systems Manager
Capitol closure will continue
hen will the Oregon Capitol
reopen to the public?
First came the coronavirus,
then the windows boarded up against pro-
test violence, and now even more Capitol
construction. Any chance of reopening the
Capitol before the 2021 Legislature ends
in roughly two weeks seems questionable,
regardless of when Gov.
Kate Brown lifts most
statewide restrictions.
The Legislature’s
coronavirus safety plan
limits who is allowed in
the Capitol so long as
Marion County is in the
Oregon Health Author-
ity’s extreme, high or
moderate risk levels.
I asked Danny Moran, the communi-
cations director for state House Speaker
Tina Kotek, D-Portland, about the deci-
sion-making process.
“As of the latest update this week,
Marion County remains one of 11 high
risk counties in the state,” he said in an
email. “When Marion County enters mod-
erate risk status, an evaluation group con-
sisting of the presiding officers, cau-
cus leaders, and supported by the OHA,
shall direct the Legislative Administra-
tor to develop a framework — based
on subgroup recommendations — to
expand in-person access to the Capitol
and increase staff presence in the building
in anticipation of entering the lower risk
The Legislature, which is in charge
of the Capitol, always could change that
timeline. However, Democrats control
the Legislature. So far, they have blocked
Republicans’ attempts to reopen the
building or end Brown’s pandemic state
of emergency and curb her emergency
Construction challenges await: As
part of the ongoing Capitol upgrades,
a construction fence blocks the main
entrance. Piles of construction material sit
between that fence and the front doors.
Once the 2021 Legislature leaves town,
much of the building will be shut down
for construction. The Capitol wings —
legislative offices and hearing rooms —
and underground parking garage will close
July 10 for the rest of the year. Lawmakers
have until July 9 to pack up their offices.
Sara Cline/AP Photo
Protesters gathered outside the Capitol in Salem in December as legislators met for a
special session to discuss coronavirus relief measures.
Legislative committee sessions will
continue via Microsoft Teams. However,
the House and Senate chambers will be
useable during this fall’s expected special
session on redistricting.
For the 2022 Legislature, committees
are expected to be back to meeting in-per-
son but in temporary hearing rooms. Leg-
islators will be assigned parking spots in
the Capitol Mall parking garage used by
state employees.
Construction trucks, construction
workers’ personal vehicles and temporary
“no parking” signs occupy many of the
public parking spots around the Capitol.
Who oversees ethics?: In last week’s
Capital Chatter, I wrote about the incon-
sistent responses to allegations of ques-
tionable conduct by lawmakers.
It gets curiouser and curiouser.
Taking Mike Nearman’s future out of
the hands of the House Conduct Commit-
tee, Kotek appointed a special bipartisan
committee to consider his expulsion. Cre-
ation of that House Special Committee on
December 21, 2020, required a change in
House rules.
In part, a separate committee was
needed because it’s unclear whether the
House Conduct Committee’s purview is
restricted to cases only involving harass-
ment, discrimination and a hostile work-
place, according to co-chair Rep. Julie
Fahey, D-Eugene. However, an outside
investigator’s report on Nearman’s actions
already had been completed for the House
Conduct Committee.
On Thursday afternoon, the special
committee sent House Resolution 3 to
expel Nearman to the House floor. The
House voted 59 to 1 for expulsion, with
the Independence Republican the only
“no” vote.
Meanwhile, I’m still wondering …
who oversees legislative ethics? If not the
House Conduct Committee, who?
By the way, nothing bars Nearman
from running for election again, accord-
ing to Dexter Johnson, the legislative
counsel. He also could apply to fill his
vacant seat.
Nothing to sneeze at: The major-
ity of bills introduced each session never
become law. Why do lawmakers propose
them despite a zero chance of success?
Sometimes, it’s because the bill is a token
effort on behalf of a constituent or interest
group. Often, it’s to start the long process
of educating colleagues about an issue
and gaining their support.
The latter is the case with Rep. Bill
Post’s bumpy journey toward helping
Oregonians gain faster access to Sudafed
and other cold and allergy medications
containing pseudoephedrine.
Assuming Gov. Brown signs House
Bill 2648, as of next year Oregonians no
longer will need a health provider’s pre-
scription to buy such medicines.
Oregon was the final state hold-
ing onto that requirement, a relic of law
enforcement crackdowns on homemade
meth labs, which use pseudoephedrine as
an ingredient. Oregon remains awash in
meth, but today it comes primarily from
Mexican drug cartels. And last fall, Ore-
gon voters decriminalized possession of
small amounts of drugs, including meth.
Under HB 2648, medications contain-
ing pseudoephedrine will remain behind
the pharmacy counter, with ID required
for purchase. But a prescription won’t be
Post, R-Keizer, first introduced the leg-
islation in 2017. The bill didn’t get a hear-
ing. Two years later, the bill passed the
House but foundered in the Senate. This
year, Post worked hard to get biparti-
san and bicameral sponsorship, including
Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, and
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, and Rep.
Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego.
Most of the opposition had faded. HB
2648 passed 54 to 4 in the House and 27
to 2 in the Senate.
“I am really relieved and excited,”
Post said. “It was a ‘team’ win.”
Close to the end: Under the Oregon
Constitution, this year’s Legislature must
adjourn by 11:59 p.m. on June 27. In the
meantime, legislators may continue to
introduce bills. For example, Rep. Mark
Owens, R-Crane, and a number of his
Republican colleagues last week intro-
duced House Bill 3407 to ban issuance of
“vaccine passports.”
Because sine die — the formal
adjournment — is deemed imminent,
committees are allowed to meet on only
one hour’s notice. If you’re interested in
a bill, keep watching the legislative web-
site — — to track
its status.
dick Hughes has been covering the
Oregon political scene since 1976.
School mascot a reminder of our history
have read that there is discussion at
Astoria High School about whether the
school mascot, the “Fishermen,” needs
to be “updated” to be more gender friendly.
While I no longer attend Astoria High,
I would like to share my opinion on this
matter. A school mascot often is chosen
for something from the community and
the Astoria mascot has deep roots in our
It may be hard for high
school students living in
Astoria today to understand
why over 100 years ago the
selected mascot would be
the Fishermen.
But, looking into the his-
tory of Astoria, we find the
fishing industry was one of
the first ones in this area.
This fishing led to a can-
nery being built in 1866 on the Columbia
River. Soon, other canneries followed and,
by 1883, there were over 55 canneries dot-
ting the river.
Feeding these canneries were the fisher-
men who went out on the river. This indus-
try brought people to Astoria — not only
fishermen and cannery workers, but laborers
and merchants whose businesses supported
Pacific salmon was among the most valu-
able fisheries in the world — centered here
in Astoria. And it was the fisherman — with
his ability to read the tides and weather, risk
personal safety to find the salmon and work
hard to bring in the fish — who was respon-
sible for the growth of Astoria.
Perhaps now you can see why Fisher-
men was a natural choice when Astoria
was selecting a mascot that represented the
Perhaps if I put this on a personal level,
you can understand why Fishermen was a
logical choice.
Granted, today you don’t see — or smell
— truckloads of frozen fish going up Com-
mercial Street, but 50 years ago that was a
common sight. While the smell was bad, my
mom used to remind me that it smelled like
money — fish was responsible for many
Alex Pajunas/The Astorian
‘Stomper,’ the Astoria High School Fishermen mascot, decorated the locker room building at
the old John Warren Stadium.
It was for my family.
While my paternal grandparents came
from Finland to farm in this area, it was
my maternal grandparents that found love
while fishing on the Columbia. Grandpa
John was a fisherman one summer, where
he met Grandma Sophia, who was a cook
on a scow boat. She had been told by friends
that it was the best way to “land” a husband,
as fishermen would come unload their fish
at the scow boat and then enjoy a hot meal
cooked by the scow boat cook.
This is what happened to my grandpar-
ents and after that fishing season, they set-
tled in Astoria. Grandpa John continued to
be a fisherman for many years and he later
became one of the first game wardens on the
I can remember Grandma Sophia say-
ing that in Astoria’s early days there were
as many churches as bars — bars for the
hard-working fishermen to blow off steam
from their demanding jobs and churches for
fishermen families to pray at as the fisher-
men’s job was so high risk.
My parents, Dick and Helen Aho, were
not fishermen, but they were merchants who
benefited from selling salmon at their gro-
cery store, Modern Cash Grocery on Com-
mercial Street.
When the store was sold in the late
1960s, my dad went to work for Bumble
Bee cold storage in the winter butchering
frozen fish from the summer. Come April,
my father would head up to the South Nak-
nek in Alaska to manage the general store
for Bumble Bee that served local and out-of-
state fishermen.
It was from the efforts of those fishermen
that enabled my sister and I to attend col-
lege. In the mid-1960s, my sister spent her
summers working at Bumble Bee in Astoria.
In the early 1970s, I worked at Bumble Bee
in South Naknek.
For both of us, those paychecks helped
put ourselves through college and made us
into the teachers we were. As you can see,
through three generations, the hard work of
the fishermen of Astoria directly influenced
my family.
I challenge those of you who are think-
ing it is time to change the Astoria mascot to
ask your older neighbors to see if the fishing
industry impacted them or their family.
Fishermen is also a term that represents
character traits that both men and women
can ascribe to — traits like preserving,
stamina, guts, courage, knowledge, no fear
of hard work, self-sacrifice and risk-taking.
I may be the odd one out, but during
my time at Astoria High School from 1967
to 1970, at the end of a pep assembly or a
game, when we were all asked to join in the
singing of our alma mater and face Stomper,
I would often think of the fishermen I know
— parents of friends in the stands with me
— and the risks they faced daily on the
Columbia River.
I would also reflect on those traits they
needed in fishing — traits that can bene-
fit any of us. Mascots can give us a glimpse
of the history of an area, but also inspire us;
not just the athletes, but the fans as well.
Fishermen does just that.
There is a concern in this present culture
that mascots need to be gender friendly. In
looking at the history of the Astoria fishing
industry, there were always lady fishermen
working alongside men in the fishing boats.
But if you want a more current response
to the question of, “Do women prefer the
term fisherwoman over fishermen?” check
out the responses given by Toni Marsh —
who first went to Alaska to work in the fish-
ing industry in 1982 — to a Parade reporter.
Marsh replied, “You earn respect as a male
or a female fisher so the gender labels are
not necessary. You work hard to be one
of the crew and respected, not one of the
‘guys’ — there is a big difference.”
So if women who are actively fishing
feel no need to be called fisherwomen, per-
haps it might be time to put this desire to
change the mascot of Astoria away and let
the Fishermen remain — reminding gen-
erations to come how the fishing industry
played a vital role in the development of our
Sue (Aho) dowty was part of the Astoria
High School Class of 1970. She taught mid-
dle school language arts, u.S. history and
leadership in Beaverton before retiring.