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Astrologer Quits County Post

July 12, 1988

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Jenny Nicholson, who says she believed Union County commissioners were serious when they named her official astrologer, quit Tuesday because of the commotion her position created.

″I think that maybe they wanted to make fun of me and make me look foolish,″ Ms. Nicholson said from her home in La Grande. ″I’ve worked 20 years doing what I’m doing. I’m not foolish. I’m very much a common-sense person.

″This is a Pisces town, two fish swimming in opposite directions,″ she said of the northeastern Oregon community. ″We don’t need divisions here. We need to come together. I have no wish to upset anyone here. I love my town.″

Ms. Nicholson said she mailed the county commission a letter Monday informing them she was quitting the non-paying post.

Despite the letter, the commission voted 3-0 Tuesday to rescind the appointment.

The incident began when Ms. Nicholson went to the newspaper in La Grande, a timber and farming community of about 12,000, to tell them the stars were in a great position for the county to obtain federal and state grants.

County commissioners read the article and, without Ms. Nicholson’s knowledge, voted last week to appoint her to help find the right time to make their applications.

At the time, County Judge John Howard, who heads the commission, said, ″What the heck, if the Reagan administration is rumored as using astrology, I guess we can try it on the local level as well.″

Howard said he was surprised by the publicity.

″I viewed it as tongue-in-cheek,″ he said. ″It was just kind of a gesture to lighten things up and create some conversation.

Ms. Nicholson, 38, who reads palms and develops astrological charts for a living, said she has plenty of business, thanks to the unexpected publicity.

She said she also would like to do astrological charts for communities and states as a public service.

She threw in her assessment of Oregon.

″Oregon is an Aquarius state and has a peculiar chart,″ she said. ″Ours is not an easy destiny. We are trend setters for the nation. People will laugh at us, make fun of us and for 50 years they’ll be following our trends.″

Next spring, she said, the stars will be favorable for the state improving its education system.

The nation, however, is headed for tougher times, she said.

″We’ve got major, hairy, hairy aspects coming up beginning in March of 1989.″

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