An airline pilot by trade, Andy Cochran is a pragmatist, a boots-on-the-ground guy with an easy smile and direct style. They’re qualities that serve him well as head of Linnton’s Neighborhood Emergence Team, a group of 22 trained by the city to respond to natural disasters.
At a spot near railroad tracks in central Linnton, Cochran unlocks a padlock on a gray shipping container and moves rakes out of the way.
“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.