For a half-century, the Linnton Plywood Association mill was a model of worker ownership and democratic control of the workplace. Everyone, from the general manager to the guy who ran the Raimann patcher machine—what one former worker called “a real brain-dead job”—made the same hourly wage, and each had an equal voice at annual membership meetings
“Half this stuff is for gardeners and half is for emergencies,” he says, laughing.
He digs through emergency equipment and pulls out an Icom two-way radio. In a recent drill, he says, the team planned to use the radio to communicate with Fire Station 22 in St. Johns.
“We couldn’t hear a thing,” Cochran says.
The city has ordered a new antenna for the radio. What he doesn’t say is the St. Johns Bridge may itself fail in an earthquake, cutting Linnton off from the station.
“We have really bad infrastructure up here in Linnton,” Cochran says. “It’s a great neighborhood,. I love it, but as far as an emergency, it’s a bad one.”
That isn’t the half of it.