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The Chinook Observer was started late in 1900 by two investors named Hibbert and Gaither. Gaither's involvement was short-lived, but Hibbert lived in the Chinook area and was publisher for many years. Within weeks after it was founded, the Observer was joined by Charles Angus "Jack" Payne, who wrote many of the paper's colorful early reports about pioneer life on the Columbia River. He arrived on the Peninsula in a very unusual way, as the survivor of a famous shipwreck.