Finnfest USA '06 speaker talks in Astoria

<I>PHIL RAISTAKKA photo</I><BR>Professor Greg Jacob spoke about Finn-Americans and their role in the Astoria-based salmon fishery at a Columbia Preservation Society meeting last week.

ASTORIA - Greg Jacob, Ph.D. and a professor of English at Portland State University and the author of "Fins, Finns and Astorians," spoke to a room full of members of the Columbia Preservation Society and others on Tuesday, April 4, in the meeting room of the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria.

Jacob and his brother Robert "Jake" Jacob were scheduled to speak to the group. However, Jake had suffered an injury and was unable to participate. He was replaced by Don West, the general manager of the Cannery Pier Hotel, who spoke of architect Jake Jacob's 13 year battle to first gain permission to build on the over-the-river site of the Union Fish cannery and then to have the Cannery Pier Hotel constructed at that location. The Jacob brothers, who are of Finnish descent, were raised in Astoria where their father worked at the Union Fishermen's Cooperative Packing Co. (Union Fish) cannery which previously occupied the space where the Cannery Pier Hotel is now located.

Greg Jacob spoke of the history of the Astoria Finns, fishing to make a living, and how the Astoria Finnish community had developed, especially as related to the fishing industry. Much of his presentation pertained to his recently published book, "Fins, Finns and Astorians," which was reviewed by David Campiche in the April 5 edition of the Coast Weekend supplement of The Chinook Observer and Daily Astorian. As a part of his presentation, Jacob regularly referred to the contributions of many members of the Finnish fishing community.

One of those members present at the presentation was Eldon Korpela, a long-time Columbia River and Alaska fisherman and Astoria educator. Korpela and Janice Ihander will appear with Jacob when the trio presents the topic "The Cannery Worker and Gillnetting" at FinnFest USA '06. That presentation will be made at Astoria High School on Thursday, July 27, at 11:30 a.m.

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