Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good old O Dock

O Dock, foot of North Holladay


When I started working on the waterfront the first place I was assigned was to a place that was indicated on the dispatch roster as "LDC". This stood for Louis Dreyfus Corporation, but few people called it that. It was known to the longshoremen and most everyone else as "Globe". The dock has gone through a number of names over the years and is now wearing the name O Dock. I am of the opinion that this is an older name than Globe, harking back to the Portland practice of naming docks after the streets of which they were the "foot". "O" referring to Oregon Street. At one time Victoria Street ran all the way down to the river having its foot in this same area. In those days there was a Victoria Dock. It was burned to the ground in 1902 by an arsonist who had spouted threats while spending a bit of time in the Oregon State Penitentiary that he was going to "burn Portland to the ground." He got as far as lighting Victoria Dock and some businesses in Albina ablaze before being apprehended.

Aunt Sally
My mother and father lived in an apartment overlooking Globe Dock back in the late nineteen forties. (My father had been a missionary in China and had brought some orphans home. I might add that my father and the three Chinese children he had with him were detained in the Philippines for nearly four years in a Japanese internment camp in route home, but that is another story entirely.) One of the children lived with my parents in the apartment (I was yet to be born), a girl I have always known as "Aunt Sally". This is a photo of Sally taken on the bank of the river below the apartment and just above  O Dock.

I always felt at home at O Dock, or LDC, or Globe, whatever its name is. And it is a good thing that I liked it there because we often worked double shifts. Sometimes at 4 in the morning, getting off of a double shift the railroad would be blocking the only exit home. Getting stuck for sometimes up to an hour or more came with the territory, and still does. Peek over the railing of the Steel bridge sometime and think about how you would get out of there if the Union Pacific was parked across your doorstep.