Goonies never say die!

From the New York Times crossword, August 19, 2015

43 Down  Oregon city named for a furrier

Situated on the mouth of the Columbia river, is a town named for John Jacob Astor – the seat of Clatsop County, Oregon:  Astoria.  The town was founded by Astor in 1811 when he started his American Fur Company at the location.  Just prior to his arrival, the final leg of the Lewis and Clark Expedition completed its journey at Fort Clatsop – at the time, it was a small log structure, now it is an historical park.

One of John Jacob Astor’s subsidiary companies, the Pacific Fur Company, was created to increase trade in the Oregon territory.  Fort Astoria, its primary trading center, holds the distinction of being the first permanent U. S. settlement on the Pacific coast.

Through the years, with fur trading and logging and subsequently fishing industries attracting large numbers of immigrants, the population grew considerably with many Nordic immigrants carving out niches in the town.  As one might expect with those industries, the town has had its shares of boom and bust years.

Astoria has continued to be a busy port on the Pacific, but has been eclipsed by both Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.  Beginning in 1921, a ferry across the Columbia connected the port to Pacific County in Washington.  In 1966, the Astoria-Megler Bridge was completed.  It is 4.1 miles long and was the final segment in Highway 101.  It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.


The Astoria-Megler bridge viewed from the Cannery Pier













Much of the cannery business has closed with Bumblebee closed its final cannery in 1980.  Likewise, the logging industry has suffered its share of woes.  Today, Astoria has added tourism to its resume with its growing art scene and light manufacturing.  Some herald it the “Little San Francisco” with its Victorian homes overlooking the water as well as the earthier elements along the waterfront.

Fans of the film, The Goonies, are more than familiar with Astoria as it was filmed on site here.  There are throngs of fans who still visit it to see the familiar sights.  In addition to The Goonies, many other movies have been filmed here including Free Willy, The Black Stallion, Kindergarten Cop, and more recently, Into the Wild.  Of course, if you are looking for some truly local flavor, the musical, Shanghaied in Astoria has been performed on stage every year since 1984.




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