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About Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current | View This Issue
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2015
RUNDOWN PAGE 2
Police work with
City resurrects watermelon tradition
STAFF PHOTO BY JADE McDOWELL.
Frank Harkenrider looks through scrapbooks in his home that depict the early days of Hermiston’s watermelon giveaway in Portland. Harkenrider started a
17-year tradition of taking watermelons and other locally grown ag products to downtown Portland to hand out to city staff and residents in 1991.
Portland square will again
become a Hermiston farmers
market where everything is free
By JADE McDOWELL
Frank Harkenrider may be retired from
the Hermiston City Council, but when the
council resurrects an old tradition Friday
by handing out free Hermiston watermel-
ons at Pioneer Square in Portland, Har-
kenrider will be right there with them.
It was Harkenrider who started the tra-
dition, after all, during his time as Herm-
iston’s mayor. He piled watermelons in
the back of a pickup truck one day in
1991 and headed to Portland to challenge
Portland’s then-mayor “Bud” Clark to a
“Boy I had a lot of fun with that,” Har-
Hermiston on the map.”
For the next 17 years the tradition
grew, expanding to include commer-
cial-sized loads of not just watermelons
but also potatoes and cantaloupes and
onions. Harkenrider gamely admits he
lost more seed-spitting contests than he
won, but that wasn’t really the point. The
STAFF PHOTO BY JADE McDOWELL
Frank Harkenrider looks at scrapbook photos from
his days handing out watermelons in Portland to
promote Hermiston. The last watermelon giveaway
took place in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse
Square in 2007. The city of Hermiston and
Hermiston Chamber of Commerce are reviving the
tradition Harkenrider started on Friday.
Portland media were all doing stories on
Hermiston produce, he said, and the city
was building valuable relationships with
“I’m glad they’re starting that over
again. It was a real good promotional
thing for the city,” he said.
His wife Beverly said afterward the
couple usually retired to Goose Hollow,
Clark’s tavern, for lunch.
“We’d get on a city bus and everyone
was walking down the street carrying wa-
termelons, and you could tell where they
had been,” she said.
She saved a record of every one of
those trips to Portland, pasting photos and
newspaper articles into a set of five heavy
green scrapbooks that chronicle Harken-
rider’s 10 years as Hermiston mayor and
more than 40 years as a city councilor.
A look through the scrapbooks makes
it obvious how much Harkenrider loved
promoting his beloved city’s famous
fruit. The Portland giveaway was his
main event, but he gave away other wa-
termelons too, including the time he per-
sonally delivered three to a Tri-Cities
resident after she wrote him to say she be-
lieved the bland “Hermiston” melon she
had purchased recently must have been an
impostor labeled by an unscrupulous fruit
Harkenrider said he never had any
trouble getting local growers to donate
produce, and those same growers said
they were excited to see the tradition start
“It’s a little bit of nostalgia for me,”
said Jack Bellinger of Bellinger Farms.
He said giving away Hermiston pro-
duce in Portland is a fun promotional tool
and a great way to say thank you to the
metro-area residents who have been loyal
“Watermelons are a fun fruit,” he said.
See MELONS, A6
use force in only
handful of arrests
Saturday service planned for
¿ re¿ JKter ZKo died in crasK
Citizens fi led only two
complaints against agency
in 2014-15 fi scal year
From July 2014 to June 2015, the
rate at which Hermiston Police De-
partment used force during arrests
At the quarter-
ly Public Safety
ing recently, Chief
Jason Edmiston said force was used
during only seven of the depart-
ment’s 1,351 arrests, 0.52 percent,
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bered by colleagues and friends at 11 a.m. Saturday in a
celebration of life service at the Hermiston High School
Anteau died Friday night in a motorcycle crash in
Hermiston Fire & Emergency Ser-
vices Chief Scott Stanton said the loss
many who knew and loved the 43-year-old husband
and father of two.
Anteau worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation and
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Hermiston since 2007, Stanton said. He was also a specialist on the
city’s regional hazardous materials team.
“He did a lot,” Stanton said. “Whoever needed help, he was there
to help. A super, super guy.”
Stanton said he believed Anteau was headed to participate in
Pendleton Bike Week, the inaugural motorcycle rally that started
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riding motorcycles were both dear to Anteau’s heart, the chief said.
See REPORT, A11
See ANTEAU, A11
By SEAN HART
By PHIL WRIGHT
Mosquitoes can spread diseases like
West Nile virus. Mosquitoes trapped
east of Hermiston have tested positive
West Nile virus
West Nile virus has been
found in Umatilla County for
the first time this year.
Health officials say mosqui-
toes trapped along Bensel Road
east of Highway 395 in Hermis-
ton tested positive for the virus.
Confirmation testing is taking
place at the Oregon State Uni-
versity Veterinary Diagnostic
Laboratory in Corvallis.
Residents can expect to see
an increase in mosquito control
based on the sample. Workers
will use truck-mounted sprayers
to apply insecticides, which is
done typically after sunset when
mosquitoes are most active.
West Nile is primarily a bird
disease. Magpies, blue jays and
crows are especially suscepti-
ble. Mosquitoes become infect-
ed by feeding on an infected
bird and can spread the virus to
humans, horses and other hosts
when they bite.
The risk of West Nile is low,
but people should take precau-
tions to protect themselves against
Most people infected with
West Nile do not become sick,
though some may develop mild
flu-like symptoms, such as fe-
ver, headache and body aches.
In rare cases, the virus may
cause encephalitis, or inflam-
mation of the brain. Anyone
experiencing rare or unusual
headaches should contact their
doctor as soon as possible.
Because horses are also at
risk for West Nile, health offi-
cials encourage horse owners to
check with their veterinarians
To report dead birds or mos-
quito infestations, call the West
Umatilla Mosquito Control Dis-
trict at 541-567-5201. For more
information about West Nile,
call Umatilla County Public
Health at 541-278-5432.
A container handler moves a shipping
container to the loading area at the
Port of Umatilla in April 2004.
A trade workshop sponsored
by Business Oregon is happen-
ing in Hermiston tonight.
The workshop will run from
6:30-8 p.m. at the Hermiston
Conference Center. It will be
geared toward helping business-
es find cost-effective ways to
continue to reach international
customers after container ser-
vice companies Hanjin and Ha-
pag-Lloyd pulled out of Port of
Portland Terminal 6.
As part of the workshop,
participants will also have the
opportunity to give input on
putting together a list of rec-
ommendations for the 2016
Legislature to address freight
transportation problems in the
The Hermiston workshop is
one of six planned around the
state as part of an initiative an-
nounced in April by Gov. Kate
Brown to invest $300,000 in
helping small businesses export
goods to other countries.
It is co-sponsored by Busi-
ness Oregon, Port of Portland,
Oregon Department of Trans-
portation and Oregon Depart-
ment of Agriculture.
For more information, or
to register, visit www.oregon-