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Word Nerd: Mill Pond

Digging up the good stuff

By Ryan Hume

For Coast Weekend

Published on August 31, 2017 12:01AM


Mill Pond [mil pänd]

Also, millpond or mill-pond

noun

1. a small body of water used to either power a mill through damming a natural source of running water and diverting the flow to a wheel, or, in the case of a log pond, was a calm body of water used to store floating logs before they are processed in a sawmill

2. Mill Pond Village: a16-acre residential development built snugly around a 3.7 acre former log pond on the Riverwalk just east of downtown Astoria. Zoned as a mixed-use project, the high density neighborhood was erected upon the razed site of the Astoria Plywood Cooperative, which operated as the central lumber hub in the area for over 120 years and was Astoria’s largest employer when the employee-owned operation shut down in 1989. Designated as a brownfield site due to toxic contamination, the city and state spent four years in the 1990s cleaning up the site, which included the removal of 6000 cubic yards of soil and sediment and discharging over 57,000 gallons of clean water. In 1999 Venerable Properties acquired the scrubbed land from the city and began development of the neighborhood, which includes four public parks

Origin:

The compound was first recorded in English around 1640, though mills had been widely used in the British Isles since the medieval period and appeared in many different cultures of antiquity before that, including ancient China, ancient Rome and ancient Persia. Mille arrives around 1390, formerly mylne before 1225, which developed from the Old English mylen, all of which referred to machinery created to grind grain. Around 1300 ponde enters use as a variant of pound, meaning an enclosed place. This additional meaning of pound still exists today in reference to animal shelters. Originally ponde only referred to an artificially created body of water. In May 2017 the city of Astoria officially dedicated the water feature of Mill Pond Village as the DeMuro Mill Pond to honor the late Art DeMuro, the founder of Venerable Properties, who was instrumental in spearheading the rebirth of the blighted property with an eye toward sustainable, environmentally sound architecture.

“Palmberg Construction company, Astoria, will begin dredging out the millpond to a depth of four feet below mean low water next week, using a specially-built pipeline suction dredge that has just been completed.

The pond, long used by a sawmill that formerly occupied the plywood mill site, has been silting up for years and is now dry except at high tide.”

—“Plywood Mill Opening Near: Astoria Project Makes Progress,” The Sunday Oregonian, May 6, 1951, P. 26

“Lasting evidence of DeMuro’s attachment to Astoria was his request to have his ashes deposited in the mill pond.”

—“Editor’s Notebook: Mill Pond rose from the ashes of the Astoria Plywood Coop,” The Daily Astorian, Friday, May 6, 2016

“The Astoria Co-Op Grocery has signed a lease to build a new store on the site of the former Astoria Plywood Cooperative at the corner of 23rd Street and Marine Drive.

The new location in Mill Pond, at more than 11,000 square feet, will increase the co-op’s retail footprint from 2,100 to 7,500 square feet and is expected to nearly triple the current staff of 25.”

— Edward Stratton, “Astoria Co-op Grocery finds a new location,” The Daily Astorian, Wednesday, May 31, 2017



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