Kiss The Basketball

trolley2As a conductor of the Astoria trolley, you need to be ready to navigate the tracks along the south bank of the Columbia River. Steering isn’t required. But you also need to act as a tour guide. We rode along as Bob Miller, a Portland radio fixture for decades, now semi-retired in Astoria, did his trolley conductor stint aboard the Old 300.

Watch until the end as we take you behind the scenes back into the trolley barn and a final “kiss” to the basketball at the end of a shift.

Astoria’s “Old 300” was built in 1913. A roundtrip will cost you just a buck, ride all day for just $2.00. That’ll let you get on and off to explore the waterfront as much as you’d like.
Tip: the roundtrip takes about an hour. During our last visit, the GPS function that allows you to see where the trolley is at any give time, was not working. And one other tip, make it very obvious to the conductor that you want to get on board. Even if you’re at a trolley stop, it’s possible that it will fly on by. Volunteers suggest you wave a dollar bill in the air.

Going Up! Ocasta Gets Ready

Westport sits on a spit of land at the south end of Grays Harbor, Washington. The town is surrounded by water on three sides making it a prime target when “the big one” hit.

It’s now taken as a given that the question isn’t “if,” but “when” the Cascadia Subduction Zone will trigger a major earthquake and tsunami.

Given that September is Disaster Preparedness Month, we took to the road to check out how Ocasta became the most prepared district on the coast.

Dr. Paula Akerlund is the Superintendent of the Ocasta School District. The just-completed elementary school is the home of the only “vertical evacuation” structure in North America. Voters passed a $13.8 million bond a few years ago.

With the help of structural engineers and architects came plans for the new school that can provide shelter for 2,000 people for as long as two weeks. That’s more than enough to keep students safe. With a population of just over 2,000, it’s even enough to house the entire community. A new school year in the new building begins September 7.

The median household income in Westport, WA averages just over $30,000 a year, well below the state average of $58,000. After two failed attempts at passing a school bond, voters approved a $13.8 million levy to replace the aging elementary school.

The groundbreaking featured school kids using clam guns instead of the ceremonial shovel. The plan is to pay off the bond over 20 years.

Other districts are not moving as quickly as Westport. Seaside, OR schools are also at risk to be affected by an earthquake-triggered tsunami. High school students there are concerned enough to start their own fundraising effort to build a new facility.

Seaside student have taken their concerns to the Oregon Legislature. The Oregon School Board Association says they “listened with enthusiasm, complimenting the students for the work done on this important issue and offering to assist with any needed legislation in the next … session.”

“The Goonies” Still Coast Movie Champs

“The Fisherman’s Bride” was the first movie filmed on the Oregon coast. Shot in Astoria, the silent movie was released November 15, 1908. The Oregon Film Museum, located in Astoria, lists some best-known productions:

The General, a Buster Keaton classic from 1927
The Great Race, Blake Edwards’ 1965 spoof with Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Jack Lemmon
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, winner of Best Picture at the 48th Academy Awards
Paint Your Wagon, starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood
Animal House, the blowout comedy classic with Jim Belushi
Kindergarten Cop, with Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to keep the kids in line at Astor Elementary

…and, of course, The Goonies. In fact we have movies listed on this website. Some refer to Oregon as “Hollywood North.”


GooniesSo why is “The Goonies” the one to become the cult-classic with its own festival? Might be that it just hit a sweet cultural spot with the goofy ’80’s sensibility. It did have the good fortune of having actors like Sean Astin and Josh Brolin on board. Jeff Cohen, who steals plenty of scenes as Chunk, parlayed his associated with director Donner into a career as a Beverly Hills attorney.

Leave your “Goonies” thoughts here. And enjoy some highlights of the 2014 party in Astoria including a visit with some super fans all the way from Madrid and Barcelona. Nos vemos en Oregon!

Seaview Goes Vintage: Take the Video Tour

They say it’s the first-ever Spartan-only trailer gathering. Some of the finest, shiniest vintage trailers rolled into the Sou’wester Lodge in Seaview over the weekend.

If you’re interested in checking one out, without the hassle of towing or refurbishing, the Sou’wester has several available for overnights. And with just a few steps separating you from the outstanding Long Beach playground, we’re thinking you better go for it. Thanks to Thandi and staff for the hospitality.

Say “Alialujah” To Trailers and Cellos

Sou'wester Line artAlialujah Choir at theSou’wester Lodge
Location: Beach Access Road (38th Place), P.O. Box 102, Seaview, WA 98644

The Alialujah Choir is a rotating collection of collaborators including the Portland Cello Project, but it’s core is the trio of Adam Shearer and Alia Farah of Wienland, and Adam Selzer (Norfolk & Wester) founder of the Type Foundry Recording Studio in Portland.

The Sou’wester’s blog page says:

Alialujah Choir

The group was founded after coming together to create a song for OPB’s Live Wire! Radio Show’s “Dearly Departed” benefit album. The band has gone on to record its debut album released  by Jealous Butcher Records and garner international awards for the video and song, ‘A House, A Home,’ directed by Mark Smith.

They’ve only played publicly ten times in three years so this is a very cool deal.

Making the weekend even more unique, it’s a “Spartan Only Rally;” yes, it’s the first time Spartan owners have held a rally exclusively for this brand of trailers. Spartans were built by the Spartan Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1960.

Spartan trailer

Organizers had hoped to bring the first Spartan to ever roll off the assembly line, “The Silver Queen.” Late word from Don Denning, who’s leading the rally, is that the Queen won’t make it to this gathering.

You can see these vintage trailers up close Saturday from 10 to 4. Look for the “Open” signs.

Music and lectures are free at The Sou’Wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington.

Contact Don Denning, rally coordinator, by email at

An avid vintage trailer enthusiast, Don owns two Spartans and has a deep appreciation for the history, design, and overall first rate quality of these trailer-coaches.

To reserve a room or a trailer at The Sou’Wester:
The Sou’Wester Lodge
3728 J Place
Seaview WA, 98644