Historic West Linn


Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation is currently focused on saving the oral history of mill work in West Linn during the Crown Zellerbach era, from 1928-1986.  Thanks to two generous grants from the Kinsman Foundation, and invaluable collaboration and technical assistance from the Willamette Falls Television and Community Media Center, we completed two documentary movies on mill work in 2006 and 2007. Both documentaries are now available to library patrons in West Linn and communities around Clackamas County, as well as through purchase on this website.

We are deeply indebted to the retired employees of Crown Zellerbach International, West Linn Division, both union and management, for telling their stories and allowing us to scan their personal photos for use in the project.  The first product of our 32 hours of interviews conducted with millworkers is entitled "Grindstones, Boomsticks, Tattletales and Nips: the people and the stories of Crown Zellerbach International, West Linn Division, 1928-1986". It is close-captioned, two hours in length and ran on Clackamas County's Cable Television channel and the CAN network throughout the summer of 2007. 

Thanks to the second grant from the Kinsman Foundation, we were able to tell the 'rest of the story' with a second documentary, one hour in length, in January, 2008.  "Friends, Fish and $1.09 an Hour" focuses on topics, such as fishing in the mill, that were not included in "Grindstones, Boomsticks, Tattletales and Nips."

Pursuing our greater goal of using the personal interviews/histories preserved by this video project as the starting point for a print Library of Profiles of Millwork, which would continue to gather information by interviewing more individuals about both Oregon City and West Linn millwork, we then obtained a $3,500 grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust. That grant allowed us to transcribe the original 17 interviews for researchers and family historians. In addition, a $4,500 Juan Young Trust grant helped us create a five-lesson packet of  middle-school teaching lesson plans for the West Linn- Wilsonville School District, to make this valuable local history available to students and instructors through the districts' digital library.

UPDATE 2010:

In 2010, we were awarded $1,000 by the Clackamas County Cultural Coalitiion to support the publication of our original 17 millworker interviews. (Three of our 17 subjects have died since their interviews with us in 2005-2006, making the project's importance even more self-evident.)  With an additional $1,500 grant from the Kinsman Foundation and the editing and project management services donated by Sandy Carter, of Words Count--Editing & Writing Services, the resulting reference book will be published in late December and in the West Linn, Oregon City, Oregon State, and Clackamas County and Oregon Historical Society libraries in January, 2011.