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About The Columbia press. (Astoria, Or.) 1949-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 24, 2020)
T he C olumbia P ress
C latsop C ounty ’ s I ndependent W eekly
January 24, 2020
Getting a grip on history
Warrenton takes stock of its downtown
district in hopes of preserving the gems
The Columbia Press
Last month, the county’s Emergency
Management Department quietly moved
into new quarters.
Emergency Services is
now housed at Camp
Rilea, renting office
space from the Ore-
gon Military Depart-
ment adjacent to the
The EOC was built in
2013 with Homeland
Security funds follow-
ing the devastating
December 2007 storm that brought hur-
ricane-force winds, knocking out power
and communications in the region, top-
pling trees in the forest like toothpicks
and cutting off highway access.
A growing county staff, one of them
designated for Emergency Management,
presented the blessing-in-disguise need
for the department to move from the
county offices at 800 Exchange St. in As-
“They needed space and we’d gotten
bigger,” explained Tiffany Brown, Emer-
gency Management director.
So much has changed in the dozen years
since the Oregon Coast got its emergency
“There’s so much to be done that you
don’t always feel like you’re making
progress,” Brown said.
A huge achievement was evident in
June, when the Navy conducted an emer-
gency landing drill on Sunset Beach, us-
ing a gigantic hovercraft.
The county’s emergency management
staff and a wide array of volunteers and
auxiliary communications teams kicked
into gear. Warrenton CERT (Community
Emergency Response Team), AuxComm
See ‘Prepared’ on Page 4
Vol. 4, Issue 4
B y C indy y ingst
The Columbia Press
Above: The old post office, barber shop and
former Columbia Press office then and now.
Below: Photos of Maize’s Market and to-
day’s Main Street Market.
Right : The Donut Hole circa 1950 and
Historical photos courtesy Warrenton-Hammond
Historical Society. Current photos by Cindy Yingst.
When a small city experiences a big
building boom, it’s a good idea to take
inventory of what’s already there.
Warrenton initiated a historical
properties inventory of downtown
late last year. And there are plenty of
gems in the jewelry box.
“People can have strong feelings
about the labeling of the land they
live on,” Mayor Henry Balensifer
said when asked about the survey.
“Human events aren’t just about the
humans – it’s also very much tied to
place and I want to be sensitive to that
while being true to history.”
The survey was conducted by the
Oregon State Historic Preservation
Office. It found one property eligible
for the National Register of Histor-
ic Places and 12 others were deter-
mined to be eligible as contributors to
the city’s history.
At the Columbia Press, we’re fasci-
nated to learn that the one building
receiving the top honor is the city’s
first post office, built in 1905 at 45 N.E.
Harbor Court (between Warrenton
Deep Sea Market and the ministorage
at the four-way stop).
In addition to the post office, it later
served as a barber shop and, from 1978
to 1990, as offices of The Columbia
But it ain’t pretty and is in danger of
demolition through neglect.
“It is one of only two buildings that
remain from Warrenton’s earliest
commercial strip along the north side
of Harbor Court,” the survey’s authors
wrote. “The other, at 87 N.E. Harbor
Court, has lost all integrity and is not
Immediate action should be taken to
stabilize the building, ac-
cording to the report.
Historian Diane Collier
grew up just down the
street from the old post
office, serving as barber
shop in her day.
“I was extremely young
and, when my dad got a
haircut, I’d get my hair
cut, too,” Collier said.
“He’d take my dad into
the little side room and
they’d have a shot of
Press owner Gary Nevan
worked in the building
for two years after buy-
ing the newspaper in
“I had the opportunity
See ‘History’ on Page 5