Astoria, Oregon 1985-86

Astoria module assembly yard
Looking east/upriver from the center of the module assembly yard, on one of the Port of Astoria piers.

I was working here for Fluor between June 1985 and July 1986 on a 2-year project to build oilfield production modules for what would become the Lisburne Production Center, an ARCO project being developed east of Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope. I was a mechanical field engineer working for the joint Fluor/ARCO staff; the construction contractor was a joint venture known as Astoria Oilfield Services Inc. The project was split between this yard and another larger module yard site in Portland, where larger and heavier process modules were assembled--those took more than one year to complete. In Astoria, six small drill site modules were completed and shipped in time for the 1985 sealift...signs of their foundation pads can be seen on the pavement. For the 1986 sealift we put together utility modules, including a power plant, warehouse/office building, heating/cooling utility module, some skids with fabricated tanks, and several smaller structures. For this photo I'm probably on the roof of the power plant module.

Our offices were in the trailer complex at the far right; the pier warehouse was being used as a fabrication and storage area. Neither of these structures are present today.

house in Astoria


Here's a spring 1986 hero shot of me on the porch steps of 864 8th Street, taken by my father during my parents' visit. The house is on a hill, and the street is also a steep hill. I rented the top floor of this duplex, 42 steps up from the street. I'm about halfway up those steps.
recent view of the house
Here's a recent Google view of the house--same color only a bit more faded. I had the left carport. There was a washer and dryer in the basement, and hanging on the wall by the fuse box was a ~1930s building permit listing the house number as 432 (!)
view of the Columbia River
The view of downtown and the Columbia River from my kitchen window. The original part of town was laid out on a square street grid ignoring the hills, as the planners perhaps assumed it would become another San Francisco. So this window was the only one with a good river view.
lightship Columbia
My father in front of the old lightship Columbia. This is at the Columbia River Maritime Museum on the waterfront.
the Astoria ColumnThe Astoria Column rises 125 feet above one of the highest points in town. It was originally built in 1926 as one of a series of monuments between St. Paul and the Oregon Coast by the then-president of the Great Northern Railroad. The artwork celebrates the discovery of the Columbia River by Robert Gray, the arrival of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the arrival of John Jacob Astor's expedition ship Tonquin (Astor was NOT on board). It was restored several times, most recently (after this 1986 photo) in 2015.
view of Astoria
A view of Astoria, the river and the bridge to Washington from (I think) the top of the Astoria Column.
hero shot at my desk
Here's a view of me at my desk. Needless to say, no one had computers on their desks. But the office was high tech and up-to-date as we DID have a fax machine.
modules under construction
The three largest modules--from left, the power plant, office/warehouse, and utility module.
Two of the large tank skids
Two of the largest tank skids. The steel tanks themselves were fabricated by a subcontractor.
the power plant module
The nearly completed power plant module. The generators are in the far section, the near section houses the transformers, distribution equipment and switchgear.
The power plant module was the heaviest one we had in Astoria, its actual shipping weight was 2,285 (2000 lb) tons. Several of the process modules built in Portland were larger and heavier, their heaviest weighed 2,801 tons.

hero shot in front of one of the generators


I'm standing in front of the lube oil console of one of the four generators. These were 3.6 megawatt Solar gas turbines that could be powered with either natural gas or fuel oil. The Solar turbine company had been purchased by Caterpillar in 1981 and remains a subsidiary.

We're not done yet...it's time for loadout. Keep going!