Word Nerd: Tillicum

An elm tree crashed onto the roof of the Tillicum House, broadcast home of KMUN, during 2007's Great Coastal Gale. The tree caused no external damage to the structure and did not disrupt programming.

Tillicum [ti•lə̇•kəm]

1. a personal friend in the singular. In its plural form, it has a larger sense of inclusion, meaning community or people .

2. Tillicum House: an old Queen Anne Victorian on 14th Street near the intersection with Exchange Street that houses operations for Coast Community Radio KMUN 91.9 FM in Astoria.

The radio station took over the property in 1987 after it was gifted to the Tillicum Foundation, the governing body of local public broadcasting in the Lower Columbia region, by benefactor Helen Patti. Originally known as the Trullinger House prior to the rechristening by the radio station, the property has reportedly served as a bordello, apartment house and dental office at times in the past.

Tillicum — sometimes spelled as Tilikum, as in Portland’s latest bridge, Tilikum Crossing, on the south waterfront — is a Chinook Jargon word meaning “community” or “people,” especially as it refers to the common native peoples of area tribes as distinguished from the chiefs and leaders within those tribes. The Jargon word originates from the Chinook word, tlxam, which also means “people.”

The Chinook Jargon word was often used with a modifier to give more specific descriptions, such as Huloima tillikum, meaning a stranger; Naika tillikum, meaning relatives; or Elip tillikum, which refers to “the first people.”

“A new radio station was set to go on the air at 10 a.m. this morning.

Licensed as KCPB 90.9 Warrenton, this low-powered FM service will originate from the Coast Community Radio studios inside Tillicum House in Astoria. The transmitter is co-located with KMUN-FM’s antenna on Megler Mountain, just across the bridge from Astoria in Pacific County, Wash. Tillicum Foundation, the nonprofit membership corporation that operates KMUN-FM Astoria and KTCB-FM Tillamook, will own and operate this new station as well.”

—​ “Water Under the Bridge: April 20, 2016,” The Daily Astorian, April 20, 2016

“‘With the help of Astoria’s own Fort George Brewery, FARMSTOCK promises to feature the best our region can produce,’ says Tom Hartland, development director for the Tillicum Foundation, non-profit operator of the stations of Coast Community Radio.”

— ​“Fort George becomes FARMSTOCK sponsor,” The Daily Astorian, July 28, 2011

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