June, 2013

Princesses, Cars and Pie – Oh My!

GETTING READY FOR HERITAGE DAYS, 18 girls gathered at the Flippin Castle Saturday for the annual “Princess-in-Training” event with (in the back row) “Fairy Godmother” Debbie Hazen, 2012 Heritage Queen Whitney Sherman and 2013 Heritage Princess Riley Rivera as well as numerous other volunteers.

Looking forward to sunny skies Saturday for the 23rd annual Heritage car show, the Clatskanie Cruisers gathered between showers Monday to publicize the event in a photo taken with help from the Clatskanie People’s Utility District lift truck.

Sandi Niemela, of Clatskanie Chapter T P.E.O., invited all bakers to enter the annual “Pie in the Park” contest Saturday, and all pie-eaters to buy a slice of homemade pie in the annual benefit for P.E.O. scholarships.

2013 Heritage Days Grand Marshal Ernie Carman posed in a 1994 Heritage Days T-shirt with a graphic he designed for the fourth annual car show.

(See the articles on this page for more information.) Chief Photos by Amanda Gail Moravec, Adam J. Wehrley and Deborah Steele Hazen

Clatskanie Heritage Days Blasts Off This Weekend

by Deborah Steele Hazen

With predictions for an end to the rain and warm, sunny days this weekend and beyond, Clatskanie Heritage Days 2013 is ready to blast-off.

Events will begin with the annual talent show and coronation Friday, June 28, then continue on Saturday with the 23rd annual Heritage Days Car Show, “Pie in the Park” and other activities; Sunday features the all-school reunion, “Strut Your Mutt” and “Dog Day Afternoon,” continue Monday with an outdoor family movie night in the park, Tuesday with a teen dance, Wednesday with a skateboard/bike showcase and teen movie night.

Activities will reach their peak on the 4th of July with the parade, logging show, chili cook-off, live music and various activities in the park, crowned with a fireworks spectacular at dark.

Talent Still Needed for Friday’s Program

A last-minute call was issued this week for performers for the annual Heritage Days talent show and coronation ceremony set for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 28, at the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center at Clatskanie Middle/High School.

Performers of all kinds are being sought and persons interested in being in the talent show should contact Heritage Days co-chairs Dave or Debi Borgstrom at 503 728-4248 or  e-mail, or simply show-up for a sound check at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 27.

Presentation of  C. Keith Birkenfeld Humanitarian Award

A special feature of the talent show/coronation, will be the presentation of the C. Keith Birkenfeld Humanitarian Award to Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl.

The late C. Keith Birkenfeld, a descendent of a pioneer Nehalem Valley and Clatskanie family, provided for the award to a non-salaried volunteer.

The award is administered through the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust of the Seattle Foundation which asked the Clatskanie Foundation to name this year’s recipient. The honor comes with a monetary award to be donated to a charity of the recipient’s choice.

CAC Breakfast Cruisers Car Show, Pie in the Park

A full-day of events is set for Saturday, June 29, beginning with the Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC) breakfast from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the American Legion Hall, 930 NE 5th Street.

The breakfast menu will include pancakes, eggs, sausage links, biscuits and gravy, coffee and juice. Cost is $6 per person or $4 for children under 10. All proceeds benefit CAC.

Approximately 300 collector cars from all eras are expected to park on the grass of the Clatskanie City Park for the 23rd annual Clatskanie Cruisers Heritage Days Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 29.

Dozens of awards sponsored by local businesses will be given in a variety of categories.

The public is invited to walk through the rows of cars and participate in related events including a poker walk, kids’ games, product raffles, a 50/50 raffle, D.J. music, food and craft vendors and performances by Ronda’s 50/50 Line Dancers.

Another featured event on Saturday, June 29, is the annual “Pie in the Park” baking contest and pie sale sponsored by Clatskanie Chapter T P.E.O.

All pie bakers are invited to enter their pies in the baking contest. For adult bakers (age 18 and older) pies will be judged in the categories of fruit, holiday specialty and sugar-free. Youth (17 and younger) are invited to enter pies in the fruit or holiday specialty categories.

All pies entered in the contest must have homemade crusts. Each baker may enter a maximum of two pies. Pies entered in the contest will be sold in the pie booth.

 “Strut Your Mutt,” “Dog Day Afternoon”

The annual “Strut Your Mutt” just-for-fun dog show is set at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, in the city park, followed by the CERT “Dog Day Afternoon” events.

All local canines and their best friends are invited to participate in events such as longest tail, shortest tail, longest ears, shortest ears, owner/dog look-a-like, traveled the farthest, best smile, best trick, curliest hair, best costume and best kisser, judged by Doug Kallberg from The Dog Zone in Longview.

After the mutt strut at approximately 3 p.m., the Clatskanie Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will host a “Dog Day Afternoon” as a CERT fundraiser.

Events will include an obstacle course, a “show and go” ring for obedience and conformation. Prizes will be awarded.

Entry fees are $4 per event or $10 for all three events.

All-School Reunion

Beginning at 12 noon on Sunday, June 30, all former students, teachers and friends of Clatskanie schools are invited to the no-host all-school reunion in the vicinity of the covered picnic area.

Castle Open for Tours

The Clatskanie Senior Citizens Flippin Castle will be open this Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30, for tours.

Those interested in touring the historic mansion located at 620 SW Tichenor Street are invited to drop-in any time from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sidewalk Sales

The Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce encourages local merchants to have sidewalk sales Monday through Wednesday, July 1-3.

Movie Nights, Skateboard/Bike Show, Teen Dance

A family night movie will be shown Monday, July 1, outdoors in the park, weather permitting, when darkness falls, and a teen night movie will be shown Wednesday, July 3, also in the park, weather permitting.

There is no charge for the movies, which are being sponsored by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and Clatskanie Kiwanis.

A skateboard/bike showcase, sponsored by the Clatskanie Heritage Days court, is set for Wednesday, July 3, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Clatskanie Skate Park. Those interested in participating are asked to contact court chaperone Lori Sherman at 360 431-7910.

The Clatskanie High School cheer team is sponsoring a teen dance in the city park tennis court from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2. Admission is $3 per person or $5 per couple.

4th of July Parade

The annual 4th of July parade, which will march down Nehalem Street at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 4, will have the theme of “Having a Blast in Clatskanie.”

Community volunteer Ernest “Ernie” Carman has been selected as grand marshal of the annual 4th of July parade. (See separate story).

A parade application is printed on page 2 and is also available at the Clatskanie Fire Station and at The Clatskanie Chief office.

Prior to the parade, members of visiting courts are encouraged to gather with the Clatskanie Heritage Days court at 9 a.m. in the historical museum at the I.O.O.F./Clatskanie Cultural Center building at 85 S. Nehalem Street.

Parade formation is at 10 a.m. in the Clatskanie Elementary School parking lot for marching units, and in the back parking lot of Clatskanie Middle/High School (enter from S. Nehalem Street) for motorized units.

Veterans Invited to Participate in Parade

All Clatskanie area veterans are invited to ride on a flatbed truck during the 4th of July parade.

Veterans can get on board at the CMHS loading dock beginning at 9 a.m.

Breakfast on the Parade Route

The Clatskanie High School football team and friends will be selling breakfast burritos along the parade route from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on the 4th of July.

The breakfast burritos will sell for $3 each or two for $5.

Activities in the Park, Chili Cooks Wanted

After the parade, the traditional events, as well as a new one – a chili cook-off – will center in the city park with vendors, the logging show, bouncy toys, Kiwanis bingo in the covered picnic area, and live music featuring local bands and vocalists Jesse Buoy and Kristi Nicholson.

Chili cooks are encouraged to get out their best recipes for a chili cook-off to take place in the covered barbecue area of the park, with sampling available to the public.

The cook-off, a benefit for the 4th of July fireworks, will see four awards and prizes given out for first, second and third place, as well as “people’s choice.”

A registration form is available on page 3. For complete rules and more information call Laurie at 760 881-8936 or e-mail

There is no chicken barbecue this year.

Logging Show Featured Event

As it has been for many years, the Clatskanie Heritage Days Logging Show will be a featured event on July 4th on the baseball diamond in the city park.

Events include axe throw, springboard, underhand, double buck, Jack & Jill, hot saw, modified saw, log roll, choker set and obstacle pole.

Axe throw and choker set events for kids 12 years and under will start at 12:45 p.m., followed by the adult show at 1:30 p.m.

Contestants in the adult show must sign in and sign a release form by 11 a.m. A registration form, which may be mailed to Judy Skirvin, 91412 Connelle Drive in Clatskanie, is available on page 3.

Prize money of $70 for first place, $60 for second place, $40 for third place, and $30 for fourth place will be given in the adult competition.

Rubber Ducky Race

The annual Rubber Ducky Race, sponsored by Wyldlife/Young Life, will be held on the out-going tide at 5 p.m. on the 4th at the city park bridge.

The rubber ducky race was previously announced to be held on July 5.

Contributions Needed, Raffles for Diamond Necklace, Traeger 

All persons who enjoy Clatskanie Heritage Days are encouraged to make a contribution in the various cans around town or by sending a check.

Tax deductible contributions may be made to the Clatskanie Foundation designated for either fireworks or the logging show. Those who don’t need the tax deduction may make the contribution directly to Clatskanie Heritage Days. Either way, the checks should be sent to Clatskanie Heritage Days, P.O. Box 635, Clatskanie, OR 97016. (Donation forms are available on page 3).

Two raffles are underway to raise funds for the celebration.

A total of only 500 tickets will be sold at $5 each or five for $20 for a diamond heart-shaped necklace with a total one-half carat weight in diamonds. The pendant, purchased by the Heritage Days Committee in partnership with Bob Chrisman of the Gallery of Diamonds in Longview, is suspended on a 14-carat white gold chain. The necklace has an appraised value of $1700.

Tickets are available at Sterling Bank in Clatskanie where the necklace is on display, and may also be purchased at the Heritage Days information booth in the city park on June 29 and 30.

A Traeger grill, donated by Hazen Hardware, will be the grand prize in a separate raffle to benefit Heritage Days with tickets available at the Heritage Days booth throughout the celebration. Various gift certificates and prizes donated by local businesses will also be included in the raffle.

Drawings for both raffles will be on the night of July 4 just before the fireworks show.

Fireworks Show Restored Thanks to Contributors 

Although it had been announced earlier that this year’s fireworks show would be smaller than in the past, because of a lack of funds, recent contributions have allowed for the fireworks to be restored to the level of last year’s show.

The fireworks will be shot from the city wastewater treatment plant at dark on the night of the 4th, and may be viewed from the park as well as numerous locations around the city.

Contributors Thanked

Those who contribute $200 or more to Heritage Days are recognized as “Benefactors,” so far this year, they include: Clatskanie Cruisers Car Club, Clatskanie People’s Utility District, Georgia-Pacific Wauna Mill, Portland General Electric, Clatskanie Kiwanis Club, Evenson Logging Company, Le’s Income Tax, Hazen Hardware, The Clatskanie Chief and Fultano’s Pizza, Sporty’s, Russell and April Spaulding, Sharon and Tom Coates.

Patrons contributing $100 or more are: Clatskanie Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2994, Clatskanie Market & Video, Ron and Alice Puzey, Rick and Laura Erickson, Diane and Ray Pohl, Ellen Tweet, American Legion Post 68.

Sponsors contributing $50 or more are: Ken and Lana Hauge, and Stan and Sharon Erickson.

More contributions are needed to provide for a sound financial foundation for Heritage Days 2014. (See the form on page 3).

CMHS Alumni Games July 6

The fourth annual Clatskanie High School (CHS) alumni baseball game is scheduled for Saturday, July 6, at the CHS Ron Puzey Field.

All former CHS baseball players are invited to play in the game during Clatskanie’s Heritage Days celebration. Sponsored by the Clatskanie Park and Recreation District, two games and a home-run derby will be held starting at 11 a.m. Players from 1996 and earlier will play at 1:30 p.m. and 1997 and later players will play afterwards.

Even year graduates will play odd year graduates. Contact CHS Coach Ryan Tompkins at A player participation fee of $20 is required. Registration includes a commemorative 2013 Alumni Baseball game T-shirt.

There will be no admissions charge for spectators. A barbecue/concessions will be sold as a fundraiser for the Clatskanie Summer Baseball program.

An alumni softball game is set for Saturday, July 6, at 1 p.m. on the CHS softball field. Players in odd-numbered graduating years will take on a team from even-numbered graduating years.

A $20 participation fee will include a T-shirt. Those wishing more information or to register may contact Heather Strong at 503 298-8555 or come to the softball field by 12:30 p.m. July 6.

More Heritage Days Information

Those interested in having a booth in the park, in performing during the talent show, or in becoming a Heritage Days volunteer are encouraged to call Borgstrom at 503 728-4248 or e-mail

Princess Riley Rivera Welcomes Challenge to Grow and Learn

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Although she says she is “not one to be out there socially,” Clatskanie Heritage Days Princess Riley Rivera is challenging herself this summer to represent a community to which she is relatively new.

Fifteen-year-old Riley, who will be a sophomore at Clatskanie High School in the fall, lived in St. Helens until she was 12 years old. After both of her parents lost their jobs and were forced to sell their house, they moved to Clatskanie.

“When I left, I left a lot behind like my friends at school and friends in my neighborhood… a house that had a lot of great memories. I left a town where everybody knew my name, to another that I couldn’t pronounce at first.”

In order to inspire herself to keep up good grades so she can eventually fulfill her goal of studying criminal science in college and becoming a forensic anthropologist, Riley is active in sports.

As part of her efforts “to grown and challenge myself as a person,” Riley became the only girl of eligible age to apply and qualify for the Clatskanie Heritage Days court this year.

Accompanied by last year’s Queen Whitney Sherman, and with the encouragement of court advisor Lori Sherman, Riley has been busy for the past two months promoting Heritage Days, speaking to various groups, selling raffle tickets, collecting donations, and assisting with the princess-in-training event.

Interested in the history of her new hometown and wanting to share that heritage with others, Riley, with the cooperation of the Clatskanie Historical Society, has invited other courts which are participating in the 4th of July parade to meet her at the Clatskanie Historical Museum before the parade.

Riley also hopes to inspire other girls in Clatskanie to participate in future Heritage Days courts.

“I hope to motivate and encourage as many young girls as I can to follow their hearts and be all they can be.”

Grand Marshal Ernie Carman Keeping the Light of Community Service Burning Bright

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Ernest A. “Ernie” Carman will miss one of his favorite things about Clatskanie Heritage Days this year – “watching the veterans coming down the street at the beginning of the parade; hearing the American flag snapping in the wind.”

That’s because Ernie will be following behind that veteran color guard as grand marshal. He is being honored for his extraordinary volunteer services to the Clatskanie community over many years.

Born on Oct. 15, 1944 in the doctor’s house that sits right alongside Highway 30 in Central City, Neb.  – the same Highway 30 that runs through Clatskanie – Ernie moved here at the age of three with his parents in 1947. His father, recently honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after serving in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, was employed as a carpenter at the Beaver ammunition terminal – now Port Westward.

The family settled on a quarter of a quarter of Section 36 (40 acres) nestled within the surrounding homesteads on Swedetown Road. The property was originally described, on a deed signed by timber magnate Simon Benson, as “land to be sold with the proceeds going to support the country school system.” In this case, the “country school” was the old Erickson School at the end of Swedetown Road.

What became the Carman family farm, now known as Crow Haven, has been home to four generations of Ernie’s family.

A month and a half before his sixth birthday, Ernie entered Clatskanie Elementary School, and remembers his first grade teacher working hard to change him from a left-hander to writing with his right hand, rapping his knuckles stretched out on his desk with a ruler when he strayed. It worked. Ernie learned to write with his right hand.

A few years ago, however, while he was recovering from a slight transient ischemic attack (TIA) stroke at Oregon Health Sciences University hospital in Portland, his attending doctor asked him: “Mr. Carman, are you left-handed?”

“Not any more,” Ernie replied.

The doctor then explained that his CT (computed tomology) brain scan attested to his left-handedness. “As you recover, feel free to return to using your left hand.”

Typical of his nature, Ernie puts a positive spin on the misguided efforts of his early teachers. “As an artist it has been especially helpful to be able to work with both hands when I do oil pastel drawings.”

Carman met his wife of 42 years, Nilce Zamora-Murillo, during his senior year at Clatskanie Union High School in 1962. She was an American Field Service foreign exchange student from San Jose, Costa Rica. They formed a strong bond that year, but upon graduation in 1963, the two went separate ways, each planning on going to college with the goal of becoming teachers.

A U.S. State Department ruling forced them to put their plans to marry on hold. Ernie explains that the state department was concerned about the large number of foreign exchange students who were getting married upon completion of their scheduled stay in the United States and not returning to their home countries. In 1963 a new rule went into effect stating that foreign students had to return home and not marry a U.S. citizen for at least 10 years.

Ernie and Nilce continued their long-distance courtship by mail, while Ernie attended Warner Pacific College in Portland, and Nilce returned home to take classes at the University of Costa Rica.

By the beginning of Ernie’s junior year at Warner Pacific in the fall of 1965, the war in Vietnam had escalated and Ernie responded to the call. He took a bus from the college campus to the military recruiting station in downtown Portland and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Ernie recalls the recruiter asking him, noting Ernie’s 2S student classification and his good grades. “Yes!” was Ernie’s response.

His test scores resulted in Ernie’s “official” placement with the Air Weather Service, but the assignment also included working with foreign service personnel. Stationed at Howard Air Force Base in the Panama Canal zone, Ernie was able to visit Nilce in nearby Costa Rica.

“If you don’t marry her, Ernie, we will!” he remembers his Air Force buddies saying.

While he declines to say much about it, Ernie’s service also included service in Vietnam. With one other Air Weather serviceman, Ernie parachuted into enemy territory to test a relay station for use by American military personnel. His companion’s parachute was caught in the trees and he was killed by enemy snipers. Ernie made it safely to the ground and was soon united with advancing American troops.

A happy memory of his military service was the opportunity to put his artistic talents to use in designing the Air Weather Service patch.

A Storybook Marriage

Discharged from his tour of duty in 1969, Ernie came back home and got hired that summer at the Wauna Mill.

By 1970, the State Department had lowered the waiting period for foreign students to marry U.S. citizens to eight years.

When those eight years had elapsed, Ernie asked Nilce, “Are you ready?” She said “give me two weeks to close things out here (in Costa Rica) and can I bring my mother to be present at the ceremony?”

A few weeks later, in a “storybook wedding” ceremony (with Nilce’s mother present), they were united at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic church in Rainier.

Ernie and Nilce became the parents of four daughters – Andrea Trenner, Erica Lopez, Myrtie Carman-Zazo and Wendy Isaacson – who in turn have given them 11 grandchildren, with a 12th on the way.

Ernie continued at the Wauna Mill until 1986 when  he was discharged on a disability because of a severe knee injury suffered on the job.

Throughout his life Ernie has been an artist – working in oil pastels, oil painting, pen and ink, and sculpting as well as creative writing. When the injury sidelined him from conventional employment, he continued to pursue those creative outlets, but also found ways to give back to his community and Nilce’s birthplace as well.

He made numerous, extended trips to Costa Rica where he taught students working in the sugar cane fields how to preserve pre-Columbian artifacts they were unearthing.

Nilce’s uncle, a lieutenant colonel in the Costa Rica Rural Guard and chief protocol officer for Costa Rica at the U.S. Embassy bestowed on Ernie the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel.

Serving His Community

While Ernie considers himself a shy person, he has reached out to serve his community in many ways, including:

• Charter member of the Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC), established in 1988.

“My elementary music teacher, the late Helen Kleger, recommended me to the Clatskanie city council to be seated on the newly planned CAC in 1988. Beginning its 25th performing arts season this fall, the CAC continues to make family-oriented cultural enrichment programs available and affordable in the greater Lower Columbia region.”

• Joined the Kiwanis Club of Clatskanie under the sponsorship of Earl Fisher in late 2002.

“I saw Earl at the US Bank where he was setting up an auction item for the Kiwanis 2002 Gala and mentioned that I wished I could come up with something for the gala and he said:  ‘Really?  I’ll tell you what the Kiwanis Club could really use most – you!’ and that began my Kiwanis service.”

• Charter member of the Columbia County Cultural Coalition (CCCC) established in 2005 under the umbrella of the Oregon Cultural Trust (OCT).

“Appointed by the Columbia County board of commissioners in 2005 to sit on the CCCC as vice chair, I remain a volunteer on their board acting as grant’s committee chair.  This group has awarded just under $70,000 with 52 grants given to Columbia County cultural organizations since 2005 with funds allocated by the OCT.”

• Raymond Carver Writing Festival (RCWF), established May 25, 2007.

In its seventh year, the RCWF is sponsored by the Friends of the Clatskanie Public Library, Inc. of which Ernie is the president.

In 2007, Ernie received the City of Clatskanie’s highest honor, the Oren Tweet Community Service Award.

“I became aware of Oren as a child and thrived under his mentorship over many years.  He always took pause to talk to me in passing and truly lit the candle of my community service. His presence is always with me. That is what made this award especially meaningful. I knew Oren and respected him so much and even more than that, he was my friend!”

Ernie also formerly served on the board of directors of the Clatskanie Historical Society and is currently president of the Clatskanie Senior Citizens.

He has lent his energy, goodwill and talents to numerous other programs and projects through the years, including serving as a volunteer reporter submitting articles on behalf of various local organizations to The Clatskanie Chief, and creating artwork for Heritage Days.

“I love the tradition of the thing,” Ernie says of Clatskanie’s annual 4th of July celebration. “It’s important for our community to keep the magic of that moment – the appreciation of our heritage. We’ve got to keep that there for the little ones.”




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