Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2015 Edition

Visit the Ghost Town of
Clifton, Oregon

November 27, 2015

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Clifton is on the Columbia River about seventeen miles up stream of Astoria. It's generally accepted that Stephen G. Spear named his farm Clifton
after the cliffs in the area. The first post office was opened on January 6th 1874. Up until 1890 when the first cannery was built by J. W. and V. Cook,
it was mostly occupied by gill netters.

Salmon fishing and canning was a huge business for the entire mouth of the Columbia. Salmon canneries lined the shores of this portion of the river.
Unfortunately most of those buildings are gone now, but a few can still be seen here and there. Clifton is the opposite extreme of Astoria, very
little of it exists any more although it was a quite a large city at one time.

Italian, Yugoslavian and Greek immigrants fished the heavy salmon runs in the Columbia. Chinese immigrants worked in the cannery and lived in
bunkhouses above the town. The cannery closed in 1906 and the Chinese moved on. The rest stayed and the city quietly split up among ethnic lines.
Italians in the lower part, Greeks at the top, and the Yugoslavians occupied the middlepart.

Logging operations took over and were enough to sustain the town population. There were once five different camps within three miles of the town.

At it's height, the town had two stores, one of which housed both the school and post office. It had two saloons, one of which had a skating rink
and dance hall upstairs. The town never had a fire department, jail or city hall. The dance hall burned to the ground in 1921. Reports differ as
to if it was rebuilt or not.

By 1930 the logging camps had all closed, having exhausted the old growth trees in the area. US Highway 30 came through the town in 1937. Before that
people hopped one of the four daily trains between Astoria and Portland, or took a boat to the city of Cathlamet on the Washington side of the river.

By 1950 the town was pretty much gone. One of the two stores and church closed. Houses were dismantled and used for lumber. The second store closed
in the 1960s and became the office of the town's caretaker, who was employed by Bumble Bee.

Now days the town isn't even on the main road any more and little remains of this once busy town. In 2005 the Lewis and Clark Explorer was the last
train to pass through town, it didn'tstop.

It was pretty frosty down here today.....

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