Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current, May 26, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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    4A • May 26, 2017 • Seaside Signal •
Making a nest
in Seaside
The women pioneers
of Seaside Rotary
hirty years ago, the Supreme Court issued a
landmark decision: Rotary clubs may not exclude
women from membership on the basis of gender
The vote followed the decades-long efforts of
men and women from all over the Rotary world to
allow for the admission of women into Rotary clubs.
Seaside Rotarian Laura Freedman was a member of the
Arcadia club, “where the whole women’s movement started in
She was the group’s second female Rotarian. “We did not
lose any members, but we had a lot of rumblings,” Freedman
After the Supreme
Court decision, Rotary
clubs throughout the
nation sought to rectify
years of exclusion.
Rotarians in Seaside
worked hard to recruit
women. But even so,
the transition was not without resistance.
In Seaside, Mary Blake was working as the general man-
ager of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, a po-
sition she had held since 1984. She and banker Rhonda Wills
attended their fi rst meeting in May 1988.
“When I showed up to be inducted, half the people were
gone,” Blake said.
When she asked where they were, Blake said she was told,
“They’re golfi ng.”
‘Handwriting on the wall’
Today we don’t think much of the outrages of the past. We
accept that women always had the right to vote or a promotion
at work.
While talking about the Greatest Generation honors those
who served in World War II, there was a battle at home for
gender equality that waged into the 1980s and beyond.
It was my mother’s generation that changed that. Although
she attended the University of Michigan and graduated cum
laude, Marjorie was steered into a secretarial path that she was
only able to break out of in the 1970s, and never, I think she
would have agreed, reached to her full potential.
Just as the battle for racial equality swept the nation, gender
equality followed in its wake. No male bastions were more
stubborn in lifting these barriers than the men’s civic fraternal
organizations that endorsed a separate but equal system — but
God forbid no women standing at the bar.
At Seaside Rotary’s recent 70th anniversary celebration at
the Best Western, members of the organization stressed com-
munity — both local and international — and good works.
But as Society with a capital S dragged its feet, so did
service clubs and by the 1980s. The culture clash had reached
the Supreme Court level. The court ruled that the clubs had to
take in members of both sexes and would be liable to discrim-
ination lawsuits.
The Court rejected Rotary International’s argument that it
has a constitutional right to bar the admission of women as
members of any affi liated club because of its selective mem-
bership policy, public service activities and other attributes,
The New York Times reported after the May 1987 decision
was delivered.
Eleanor Smeal, head of the National Organization for Wom-
en, hailed the decision as “the death knell for male-only clubs
that are part of the business establishment. … The handwriting
is on the wall. These clubs are going to have to admit women.”
Freedman subsequently became the Arcadia Rotary club’s
fi rst woman president and knew she had “arrived” when one of
the group’s board members called her “one of the guys.”
“When I was going to be the fi rst woman president I had a
little uprising from past presidents who wanted to make sure I
was on board with what I was supposed to be doing,” Freed-
man said. “They decided they were going to ‘train me’ in my
presidential affairs.”
Her crowning achievement came when a board director
greeted her as “one of the guys.”
A personal decision
After the Supreme Court decision, Rotary clubs through-
out the nation sought to rectify years of exclusion. In Sea-
Rhonda Wills and Mary Blake, Seaside’s fi rst women Rotarians.
side, Mary Blake was work-
ing as the general manager of
the Sunset Empire Park and
Recreation District, a position
she had held since 1984.
At the time, it was all
“straight white men,” Blake
But City Manager Larry
Lehman and Rotary’s Fred
Bassett felt Mary was the
right choice to break barriers.
She had encountered gen-
der discrimination in Portland
Bob Moberg at the 70th an-
at the Portland Bureau of
niversary dinner for Seaside
Parks and Recreation and
maintained a private personal Rotary. Moberg served as
president in 1979-80, shortly
after the fi rst women joined
“It was a dangerous time
the club.
having an alternative life-
style,” Blake recalled. “I said,
‘Really, you guys don’t want me in your club.’”
To make their case more persuasive, Blake said, Rotari-
an George Reimers “explained the larger piece of it” — the
business networking, the international programs and edu-
cational scholarships — and even offered to add a second
woman member so “no one person would take the heat.”
That woman was Wills.
“My husband Jim was the president,” Wills said. “He also
recruited a woman who was the manager of the U.S. Bank,”
Wills said. “She chickened out at the last minute.”
The club meeting went on as normal. “When it was time
to induct the women, there was a bunch of six or seven men
who left,” Rhonda Wills said. “They weren’t going to be a
party to this. And there was a whole contingent that didn’t
show up, and there were some who got up and left. It was
disappointing. Some to this day hold a grudge, 30 years
Nevertheless, both women remained.
“I never had any question about coming back,” Wills
said. “It’s a personal decision you have to make. (But) when
you’re in a professional situations, you have to make a lot of
tough decisions.”
“We all rolled up our sleeves, side by side doing every-
thing together, sharing the work and the workload,” Blake
said. “I look at what the organization is built on, It’s very
powerful — that’s what is so remarkable about Rotary. We all
have the ability to contribute. And we’re all eager to do that.”
On Thursday, members of Rotary District 5100 arrived in
Seaside for their annual conference. Among their speakers
was Sylvia Whitlock of Duarte, California, the fi rst female
Rotary Club president. A fi tting 30th anniversary to comple-
ment Seaside Rotary’s 70th.
“I really felt it was my professional right to belong,” Wills
said. “I’m thinking it’s worked out.”
Today, her daughter is a Rotary member.
was pleased to see an expression of recognition
Tuesday morning at the Osprey Café. Tanner, a young
man who works there, was doing the barista thing.
“Table for one for breakfast?” he said. The room was busy.
Every booth and table was full. “I think I’ll just sit at the
counter,” I said. I ordered an Americano with room, my
standard drink, and took a stool at the window, looking out
to the Prom and Avenue U. Soon after Tanner brought my
coffee and a tiny
pitcher of cream.
I pulled out a pen
and my notebook VIEW FROM
and began jotting THE PORCH
down some
spots like the Osprey are special because regulars feel at
home, with the special advantage that at home you have to
make your own food or beverage, and also clean up after
yourself. Despite the general transient nature of this area,
this edge of the continent we call the North Coast, we’re
blessed with an abundance of neighborhood restaurants
and hang outs where the locals can feel at home. Whether
it’s breakfast you’re looking for, or a bowl of chowder, or
chili, or a full meal, or it’s just tea or coffee or beer, there’s
a perfect neighborhood hang for you.
What makes a neighborhood hang outstanding? Good
food and good coffee are a plus, but vibe and atmosphere
and proximity are what really count. To me, the ideal
neighborhood hang is the one I can walk to. A certain level
of service also helps.
Once people realized
I was here to stay, my
friends began sharing
their own favorite
hangs. High on many
peoples’ lists are Screw
and Brew in Cannon
Beach, as well as Bill’s
Tavern. In Seaside
there’s Seaside Coffee,
Nonni’s Italian Bistro,
and Bagels by the Sea. The U Street Pub is a terrifi c neigh-
borhood hang that stays open pretty late. Judging from the
number of cars parked there in the morning, I’d say the
newly re-modeled Putter Room at the Seaside Golf Course
is on its way to becoming a neighborhood hang.
Some neighborhood hangs aren’t so much about food
and drink as they are the other patrons. People naturally
want to go where their friends go to hear the latest dish
and gossip. Speaking of dish, is anyone watching the Net-
fl ix series, “13 Reasons Why”? It’s all about teen gossip
and its insidious effects. Not exactly being a teenager
myself, although I ’fess up to my own immaturity, I often
wonder where do the high school kids hang out? Is it The
Stand or Mazatlan they favor? If it’s Mexican food you’re
craving, give the new Guajito’s on Broadway a shot. Muy
buena comida! House-made tamales. Fajitas. The best
chicken and shrimp tacos I’ve had in a long time. Margar-
itas. Wonderful and caring service by the ever-so-friendly
Bautista. Hmm. This place could easily become one of my
favorite neighborhood hang-outs.
Too fast on ‘Wahanna-bahn’
Most of the vehicles driving on Wahanna Road are
Roosevelt “Drive” refugees where summer traffi c backs
up past the high school on the north and the creeping
along begins somewhere around Petersen Point from
the south. The posted 30 mph speed limit on Wahanna is
routinely ignored and usually is not enforced because the
road right-of-way is too narrow for sidewalks or a speed
trap, and has very few areas where a cop could safely
pull a speedball over without creating an additional traffi c
hazard that could place the offi cer’s very life in peril.
The most frequent law enforcement presence on Wa-
hanna is the Gearhart Police offi cer who commutes from
Seaside to Gearhart daily.
That is the good news. The bad news is that Seaside
Mayor Jay Barber is on board for additional housing
See Letters, Page 5A
The Spanish-American War veterans of Seaside
ighty-seven years ago from
the headlines of the Seaside
Signal: events in and around
the City of Seaside in 1930.
The City of Seaside in 1930 was a
busy place. While census fi gures had
dropped from just over 1,800 people
to a little over 1,500 people living in
Seaside year round, the amount of
civic clubs and businesses continued
to increase. Dances were held all year
round at the Bungalow, and weekly
soirees by the many civic groups
were often expanded to include other
groups from Warrenton and Astoria.
More efforts were being made to
clean up the city on a regular basis
as the Necanicum river bank had
become the site for trash dumping on
both sides of the river banks. There
had also been some sort of repair
garage along the bank of the river
which had left behind old rusted out
cars and other unsightly debris.
A 20-foot-by-20-foot checker-
board was proposed for the beach by
David F. Pero
R.J. Marx
the Seaside Chamber of Commerce
in 1930. Large poles would be used
to push around the 18-inch round
discs of wood on the 20-inch squares.
The board was apparently to be made
completely out of wood. No word
of the checkerboard was mentioned
in later papers but one can imagine
summer visitors enjoying giant
checkers on the beach in 1930.
Warrenton was also starting to
boom in the 1930s and had its own
section “The Warrenton Burg” in the
Seaside Signal. Approximately 15
years after the Seaside ladies civic
club had established their library and
rest room, the Warrenton ladies civic
club took a page out of their book and
did the same, opening a ladies rest
Betty Smith
John D. Bruijn
Jeremy Feldman
Carl Earl
Brandy Stewart
room that was ‘neatly arranged, well
equipped, and centrally located’ while
being connected to the reading room
and library of Warrenton. The reading
room was located on Main Street,
directly opposite city hall. In an echo
of history repeating itself, 87 years
later, the current plans next month to
move the Warrenton Library into the
old Serendipity restaurant building
on Main Street just happens to be one
block down and across the street from
the current Warrenton City Hall.
A herd of 18 to 20 elk was seen
often south of Seaside in august of
1930. A crowd of spectators would
gather every evening in August to
watch for the elk at Black bridge
south of town. Trains were bringing
visitors weekly to Seaside, in one
week alone over 1,800 visitors were
brought by train to Seaside, with
trains carrying up to 550 people in
one trip.
Obituaries in the Seaside Signal in
1930 still made the front page of the
Brenna Visser
Rebecca Herren
Katherine Lacaze
Eve Marx
Esther Moberg
Jon Rahl
paper with the headline often being
“Mr. or Mrs. Smith called by death.”
In August of 1930, it was noted that
war veteran Thomas J. Smith passed
away, who had been a veteran of the
Spanish American war. There were
enough veterans of the Spanish-Amer-
ican War on the coast, 32 years after
it happened, that they met monthly in
either Seaside or Astoria. It was noted
that most of the veterans were from
Seaside. The Spanish-American War
of 1898 was instrumental in Cuba
becoming independent of Spain and
America, as well as at that time the
United States acquired Guam and
Puerto Rico from Spain.
People enjoyed driving on the
beach but often misjudged how deep
the tide pools were. A car plunged
into a hole four feet deep while driv-
ing around Hug Point in August of
1930, and the fi ve passengers had to
escape through the windows of the
car. After an hour’s work, the driver
and some spectators were able to
rescue the car from the “icy waters”
that they had to swim through to get
the car free (this was in late August).
Back in the 1930s there was
confusion about the name of the
Neawanna River. Apparently legend
had it that a young girl who had lived
on the banks of the river was named
Hannah, and her father called her Oh
Hannah, leading to the river being
called Ohanna or Wahanna. Most of
the locals called the river either Ohan-
na or Wahanna. However, some of
the oldest residents of the area made
it clear that the real name was the
Native American name of Neawanna
and that the new concrete bridge and
plaque that was made to commemo-
rate the Neawanna/Wahanna Bridge
should make the correct name clear.
The Necanicum Bridge was also built
out of concrete for the fi rst time in
1930. The Longview, Washington,
Bridge opened the same year, and the
Seaside girl’s marching band was part
of the parade at the unveiling.
Seaside Signal
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The Seaside Signal
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