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Turmoil on the Sandy City Council

Nostalgic Rumblings

By the 1950s, the United States had just a few years to begin adjusting from the problems and shortages of World War II. With the switch from war production to domestic items, nearly everyone in the nation had a job, and prospects for our country were good.

In Sandy, there were new buildings constructed - two theaters, a new bank building, various businesses and storefronts, etc. The first sewer system, a new 8-inch water line, was built from the spring water source to Sandy, and the city began a new annual fun event, the Strawberry Festival.

Everything seemed to be going well until 1956, when a series of unfortunate events occurred in one year:

• First, Mayor Tom Scales resigned early in his sixth year on the job. He was replaced by Jess Hite.

• Councilman Richard Maronay was killed in a tragic logging accident in the Dover area. Raymond Murray was appointed to replace him.

• Councilman Walter E. Koch Sr. resigned and was replaced by pharmacist Ivan Barker, who temporarily filled in.

• Newly appointed Councilman Murray drowned during a family outing on the Columbia River.

• Mayor Hite resigned and was replaced by Councilman Ruben Hoffman.

• Councilman Ernie Harris resigned from the council and soon after drowned in the Crane Prairie Reservoir while on a fishing trip.

The only members of the City Council left after all the turnover were Duane Knapp and Carl Krieger. Barker somehow left the council, and Alvin Sheldon, Martin Bauman, Keith Schneider and me, Phil Jonsrud, filled the four vacancies.

With Mayor Hoffman's strong leadership and the wise counsel of Barker and Knapp, the four 'rookie' councilmen gradually blended in so that, fortunately, there were no serious problems for a number of years.

Phil Jonsrud is a board member of the Sandy Historical Society.