Interview with Charles Jehnzen

Interview with Charles Jehnzen

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Charles Jehnzen:


At Waldport you came into town from the south and there was a restaurant just around the corner. We had days, just like in the Army. You accumulated days off, free days. In my free time I was working for a local man doing welding. I’m a good welder. I was helping a guy fix log trucks and he was giving me a couple bucks an hour. We had to work for a dollar an hour or two dollars an hour because people would come in and spit in our face and call him every kind of a no good S.O.B. for having us around. But we had work until about six or seven o’clock at night. This log truck wanted to haul logs the next day. I told the guy I’ll stick with you tonight. If you want to stick with me, the two of us will get that thing welded up. I was doing the arc welding and he was grinding and setting up. Anyway, I went into the restaurant and everybody got up and left. I asked [the waitress] for a cup of coffee and a sandwich. She poured a cup of coffee and everyone got up and left. Just as the last man went out the door, she threw the hot coffee right in my face.

Was that the way you were treated all the time here?

No, but that’s the way I was treated once at Waldport. I had the best rapport with people at Yachats. I went down to a welding shop at Yachats. There was a guy that repaired trucks and did welding at the little town of Yachats, about five miles south of our camp. I had a good rapport with those people. People didn’t call me a yellow belly S.O.B. all the time. The guy, himself, had a little different attitude. His clientelel, he told them right out, "I’m going to have that Conchie do the work. If you can’t stand that then don’t bother me because I’ve got lots of work." And he did, he had lots of work and they knew it.


--Taken from Siuslaw National Forest and Portland State University History Department. "Camp 56: An Oral History Project." Pp 103-7.

For more of the interview see <>