Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Doug Pieren

Doug Pieren was interviewed on February 4, 2015 by Jan Yaeger at his home in Seldovia, Alaska. In this interview, Doug talks about his family history in Alaska dating back to 1934, the Ekren Cannery at Kasitsna Bay, working in the canneries, the 1964 Alaska Earthquake, and changes in Seldovia. He also talks about his interest in gardening, as well as rock and artifact collecting.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2014-07-09

Project: Seldovia Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Feb 4, 2015
Narrator(s): Doug Pieren
Interviewer(s): Jan Yaeger
Transcriber: Joan O'Leary
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Seldovia Village Tribe
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Sections

Family history in the area

Grandparents coming to Alaska

Growing up in Alaska, and working at the cannery

Biggest clam shell

Gardening, and gardens and parks in Seldovia

Collecting rocks and artifacts

Parents, family history, and mother marrying Harley Ekren

Setnet fishing at Nikiski and cannery at Kasitsna Bay

1964 Alaska Earthquake

Coming to and settling in Seldovia

Working in the crab cannery

Developing gardens in Seldovia, and gardener of the year

Road to Jakolof Bay and changes to the community

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Transcript

JAN YAEGER: It is February 4th, 2015. It is 2:10 in the afternoon. Oop, I’m sorry, 1:10 in the afternoon. And this is Jan Yaeger speaking with Mr. Doug Pieren of Seldovia in his apartment and this is a recording for the "In Our Words Project" of Seldovia Village Tribe.

And Mr. Pieren, can you tell me a little bit about your family’s history in Seldovia?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, my mom and stepdad homesteaded Kasitsna Bay. They had three sites and they moved down there. Before, they were up at Nikiski and that's where their -- their fishing sites were at right where the Nikiski docks are. So they had to come down here. They had to sell that.

And then in -- probably around 1955 they started a cannery out there and we had quite a -- quite a process going. And so let’s see what else.

Yeah, so I came by in about '62 -- 1962 to see it and after the earthquake the -- Before the earthquake the sun would hit the cannery on a certain date and after the earthquake it was two weeks delayed. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: What kind of cannery was it? What were they processing?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, they -- they had -- they did salmon, smoked salmon, clams, Dungeness crab, you know. It was a small operation. Not very big.

JAN YAEGER: How many people working there?

DOUG PIEREN: There were just mom and Harley and grandpa and a neighbor lady doing it. Her name was Edna Moore. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

DOUG PIEREN: And they moved down to Texas. So other than that, that's all there were out there. Now you want to know --

What else do you wanna know?

JAN YAEGER: Well, did they live right on Kasitsna Bay then? DOUG PIEREN: Yes.

JAN YAEGER: Out on the spit or -- ?

DOUG PIEREN: No. Kasitsna Bay. They had a house there. Oh, by -- and after the earthquake it sank about five feet, you know.

So they got up one morning and -- mom got up one morning and went slosh, slosh, slosh. Well, about that much water in the house.

JAN YAEGER: Oh, really? DOUG PIEREN: So they had to rebuild, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So they rebuilt in that same spot? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And how many years did they do the cannery?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, about ’55 to 19 -- probably ’75, yeah. Yeah. Hm mm. But then regulations become too strict, so they couldn’t do it.

JAN YAEGER: What was the name of their cannery?

DOUG PIEREN: Ekren Packing Company, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So is that Harley Ekren? DOUG PIEREN: Yes. JAN YAEGER: That was --

DOUG PIEREN: My stepfather, yes. Yeah. Yeah. So, anyway, yeah, it was fun times out there. And Sera -- you know who Sera Baxter is, right? Okay.

During the summer when her and Rae came down from Bethel. They were -- mom would take care of their kids all summer while they fish, so that was good. JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. You want to know about my grandparents or anything? JAN YAEGER: Sure.

DOUG PIEREN: Okay, my grandparents came to Alaska in 1934. They had to get on a boat out in Elliott Bay, because they were overloaded. And so they came up above Ketchikan -- the -- the, oh, the people who were running it got drunk. So they were stuck two weeks on that sandbar and they come back.

And then when they come to Alaska this was the first stop for them before they went up to Anchorage.

JAN YAEGER: Do you know if they spent any time in Seldovia?

DOUG PIEREN: I don’t think so. I don’t remember. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

DOUG PIEREN: They might have got off the boat, I imagine.

JAN YAEGER: And that was your mother’s parents?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, my mother’s parents, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And so your mother was born in Anchorage?

DOUG PIEREN: No, she was born in Seattle. She came up when -- nine years old when they come up.

JAN YAEGER: And how about you? Where did you grow up?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, I was born in Palmer. I grew up some on grandpa’s place up there and then my dad, he snuck us out of the state down to Oregon, and we were there for twelve years. And I've been back since.

JAN YAEGER: Did you ever work in the cannery? DOUG PIEREN: Oh, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And what kind of jobs did you do there?

DOUG PIEREN: Basically, I run what they call the bird machine. And where they did the crab and then they'd pack it in long johns. JAN YAEGER: What is a long john?

DOUG PIEREN: It was a piece about -- of metal about this long and had a -- you just put the crab in it, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: You'd put the crab in it and then that's what it would be packaged in?

DOUG PIEREN: No, they freeze it and then they would -- afterwards I don’t know what they did with it afterwards. But a lot of that kind of stuff went to Japan ‘cause they like that kind of stuff.

We also had a -- one time we had to pan up a bunch of guts from the crab and stuff, because they use that for seasoning. Freeze dry it and use it for seasoning.

JAN YAEGER: What about the clams? What was the process with them?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, they would -- let’s see, they would take them and clean them, of course, first. Then they would put them in little cans about this big and then they would seal it and they come out and then it would go wherever they want --

People want it. Like Safeway’s used to get it and Carrs used to get it. And the Dungeness crab, of course, was the top seller 'cause they had little paper cups in it and put the crab in it and a little citric acid similar to the clams with citric acid.

And there was -- that was a big seller and it was good. Yeah, I love Dungeness crab. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And so did the -- you said they had the cannery for about twenty years.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Did they do all those salmon and crab -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: And clams the whole 20 years -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Or did they kind of switch from -- DOUG PIEREN: No, no. JAN YAEGER: -- one thing to another?

DOUG PIEREN: It was whatever they got. It didn’t matter.

JAN YAEGER: Did you have to do any retooling between seasons at all? DOUG PIEREN: No. Uh-uh.

JAN YAEGER: Okay. So salmon, crab, and clams could all go in the same -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: -- process?

DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh. JAN YAEGER: Same kind of line?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Of course, everything had to be, you know, washed down between things they did.

And the biggest clam shell -- butter clam shell ever found was at Kasitsna Bay. JAN YAEGER: Oh, really?

DOUG PIEREN: And it's in a museum at Los Angeles.

JAN YAEGER: How big was it?

DOUG PIEREN: I don’t know. It must've been huge. I didn’t see it. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Do you remember when that was found?

DOUG PIEREN: Probably, maybe 1960, yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: How did it end up in Los Angeles, I wonder?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, a couple of biologists were here and they took it down there, yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And another thing, of course, that you're well known for in Seldovia is all your gardening and a lot of the public gardens. Can you talk a little bit about how you got started as a gardener?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, I got that from grandma. She could plant a stick and it would sprout. So when my park was -- when Carl Hille was here, years ago, my park -- that was -- he give me that park and he designated it to me, you know.

And so -- and around the harbor too, that's -- I like that around the harbor. It's beautiful in the summer. You’ve seen all the lilacs blooming last year, didn’t you? Yeah, so that's it.

Then I had -- I've just been at it for probably 30 years or more, you know. And I love to do it. And you have to have a love to do it. And for some reason I got a talent. So anyway, that’s the way --

JAN YAEGER: So were you involved when the gardens first kind of started -- DOUG PIEREN: Yes. JAN YAEGER: -- in downtown Seldovia? DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: You were part of the group that -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: -- helped plan that?

DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh. Yeah, they -- that's -- then they had some kids helping. Well, that one kid only -- she only -- she sit down the whole time she worked about three feet, that’s it.

So Carl got real ticked off at it and he give it all to me to take care of.

JAN YAEGER: Was he -- Carl Hille, was he city manager?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, city manager. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Uh-huh. That was a long time ago.

JAN YAEGER: Do you have any guesses about what year that might be?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, I don’t know for sure. JAN YAEGER: Okay. DOUG PIEREN: I don’t really know for sure.

JAN YAEGER: And did you get to design your park then?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Of course, I designed everything over at SVT (Seldovia Village Tribe), too. So anyway, yeah, that's a -- that's really a nice thing there.

JAN YAEGER: How many hours would you say you spend a summer working in the gardens?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, if I did it -- I can stay out until 10 or 11 at night. Once you get involved, you don’t want to quit, you know.

JAN YAEGER: And you do a lot of work at the post office garden, too, right? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, I did that and across at the bar I did all that, yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And, of course, as we look around the room here, we see all sorts of -- of artifacts and so on -- a lot of rocks that you've found.

DOUG PIEREN: Yes.

JAN YAEGER: Can you talk a little bit about what -- what catches your eye with certain rocks?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, I learned it about a couple years ago. Remember Kelly? J

AN YAEGER: No, I don’t. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, he showed me what to look for. And so then I go out there and I usually find three or four pieces at a time, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And can you share a little bit with us about what it is that you are looking for?

DOUG PIEREN: No, I don’t really know what I’m looking for. It just catches my eye. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And you found a number of artifacts from, I think, in the slough, haven’t you? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Not just rocks, but other -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Other items as well? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, this came from the slough. That’s a boat shaft. JAN YAEGER: A boat shaft?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. And that one I found under the boardwalk.

JAN YAEGER: And that looks like part of a propeller?

DOUG PIEREN: It is a propeller. They had a certain boat that had those on them after the war and they’d go up and down. I don’t know.

JAN YAEGER: Okay. It looks like it’s brass?

DOUG PIEREN: It is solid brass, yeah. I love brass. Brass is my thing.

JAN YAEGER: Have you ever found any parts from some of the other buildings around the slough like the sawmill or anything like that?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, let’s see now. Where did I put that? Oh, that piece of wood under that rock? That I found down by Walt Sonen’s.

JAN YAEGER: And just for the recording's purpose, Walt Sonen lives down at kind of at the entrance to the slough.

DOUG PIEREN: Yes. JAN YAEGER: Over the water. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, right. JAN YAEGER: On his house? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And it's kind of a circular piece of wood. It almost looks like a little bit like a pulley. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: But it's -- I don’t think it is. DOUG PIEREN: No. Uh-uh.

JAN YAEGER: And it’s got a brass plate. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Looks like screwed to one side. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And is there a similar one on the other side?

DOUG PIEREN: No, just on the one side, but it's -- it's made by the Boston Motor Works, I think is the name of it. It's way old, you know. JAN YAEGER: Yeah.

DOUG PIEREN: It’s like turn of the century, so -- And that one right there. JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh.

DOUG PIEREN: With the rope on it. I found that in the boat harbor. JAN YAEGER: Oh, really?

DOUG PIEREN: About twenty years ago.

JAN YAEGER: Okay. That looks like some rigging.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, some rigging.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, so maybe from a boat that had sails or at least had a lot of rope on it? DOUG PIEREN: Right.

JAN YAEGER: And you said you found that in the boat harbor?

DOUG PIEREN: Yes. JAN YAEGER: At low tide? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, at low tide. And you go down there you sometimes you -- I haven’t been down there lately.

Should go down there and check and see what else has showed up. But I like to get -- oh, I like old wood.

JAN YAEGER: Well, you certainly got quite a collection here.

DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh. Yeah. Having fun doing it, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: I know you collect at Outside Beach a fair bit, also.

DOUG PIEREN: That's where I get all the -- JAN YAEGER: All the rocks? DOUG PIEREN: All the rocks, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Can you tell me a little bit more about your parents and what they were like?

DOUG PIEREN: Okay. My dad met my mom up in Wasilla when he was in the Army. And then I guess that's where he married her, was up there. And she had me and my brother.

And then after that, my dad took us down to Oregon and we were down there for twelve years, yeah. My grandma and grandpa they homesteaded up there in 1934 and in them days it was tough.

JAN YAEGER: Was that part of the colony or something?

DOUG PIEREN: No, they came the year before. JAN YAEGER: That was different.

DOUG PIEREN: Before the colony got there. So in them days, if you didn’t prepare for the winter, you won’t have anything.

JAN YAEGER: Anchorage was still a pretty small town then?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, it was, yeah. I do know my mom and dad came down to Homer when they first punched the road through.

JAN YAEGER: That would have been about 1951 or so?

DOUG PIEREN: I suppose somewhere in there.

JAN YAEGER: And then how did your mom and stepdad come to choose Seldovia?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, I wasn’t around when it happened, but I’m glad they did because I have to be on the water and I have to see mountains, otherwise I’m not much of good for anything, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And your stepdad, Harley Ekren, where was he from originally, do you know?

DOUG PIEREN: They were from North Dakota. And his dad, they come from North Dakota.

And then they come up the -- they come up to Anchorage and they were -- did a lot of -- they were house and in the bars, you know, dealing the cards out and old Loussac, they used to play cards with him. JAN YAEGER: Oh, really? DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Is that Carl Loussac? I can’t remember his first name.

DOUG PIEREN: I don’t remember, but he's -- you know, he's Loussac up in Anchorage, you know. JAN YAEGER: Who the library is named after? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Uh-huh. They played cards with him, you know. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And then how did he end up meeting your mom and how did they end up in Nikiski?

DOUG PIEREN: Ah, my mom after -- she kind of went -- well, I’m not going to say wild, but she did. With the -- yeah, so that’s how they met her.

Yeah, he probably met her up in Anchorage. I don’t know the whole situation behind that.

JAN YAEGER: And you said they had several sites there. Were they setnetters -- set -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Fishing sites?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, at Nikiski and then they had to -- they had -- I guess they sold the place or whatever they had --

Nikiski Docks went in where they were there, so -- so they -- I think they bought the sites at Kasitsna Bay in 1950, I believe that’s when they did that.

JAN YAEGER: So they fished for a few years before they had the cannery?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, up at Nikiski. And then when they come back down -- when they finally moved down permanently to Kasitsna Bay, then they opened up the cannery and did the fish.

JAN YAEGER: They did that right away? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Did they build the cannery then?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, yeah, yeah. And after the earthquake we had to raise it five feet.

JAN YAEGER: I bet that was quite a project.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, we had jacks about one, two -- about six jacks. Had to raise it up just a little bit at a time to keep it, you know. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And then I'm assuming it was on piling?

DOUG PIEREN: Yes. JAN YAEGER: And so they set new piling underneath?

DOUG PIEREN: I think they did, yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And you were up in Anchorage during the earthquake though, right?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. I was at Fort Rich (Fort Richardson).

JAN YAEGER: Okay. Were you in the Service?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, just for a little bit, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh.

DOUG PIEREN: And anyway, I was coming up from Seattle -- from Fort Lewis and this guy sit down beside me and I said now, you know, we usually have an earthquake a month or so. And then you should have seen him the next day, when he seen me. JAN YAEGER: Oh, really?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Oh, boy, yeah. I remember that year very well.

JAN YAEGER: What was the earthquake like for you in Anchorage?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, it was unbelievable. We got out of that building about five seconds flat or so, you know.

Then there was food on the walls, food on the ceiling and everything, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So you were in the dining hall? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: The mess hall?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, at the time, yeah, yeah. And that's when the -- the -- Let’s see what was I going to say now.

Oh, anyway, the -- we were outside and they had a church there with a bell and it went up and down and bang off the ground, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: The bell did?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Oh, wow.

DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh. And the buildings at the time were cement block, you know, and so you’d go all the way to the top floor like this and you could see the basement, because they had pulled away. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And so you came, you said, to Seldovia for the first time in about 1962?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: And I assume you were mostly out at Kasitsna Bay?

DOUG PIEREN: No, I didn’t really -- I was -- come down to Kasitsna Bay about 1970. I was up in Anchorage working up there.

JAN YAEGER: But you said you came down to -- DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, the first time. JAN YAEGER: -- to visit though? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And so did you get into Seldovia itself as well?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, we had to come by boat, because there was no road until ’68 when the Japanese put the road in for the logging.

JAN YAEGER: So you came from -- from Homer by boat?

DOUG PIEREN: No, from Kasitsna Bay by boat. JAN YAEGER: Over to Seldovia?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, that's how you had to get here, yeah. They did have a trail, I guess, but that'd be a long walk.

JAN YAEGER: And then you moved back to Seldovia in what year?

DOUG PIEREN: '72, and have been here since, so --

JAN YAEGER: When you saw it in 1972, what impression did it make on you considering how different it had been when you saw it in 1962? Do you remember how you felt?

DOUG PIEREN: It made a bad impression on a lot of people and, you know, that where they got all the fill from, right? JAN YAEGER: From Cap’s Hill? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. They blew it down, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Do you remember if you were surprised by how it looked or did you kind of know ahead of time? Had you heard about it?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, I -- I heard about it. It's too bad it had to happen, but no choice in the matter.

JAN YAEGER: But you decided to stay anyway?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: What was it that kept you here?

DOUG PIEREN: I don’t know. I just like the -- like the beauty of the place, you know.

And so we worked some long hours in that cannery. 16, 17 hours a day.

JAN YAEGER: Really? DOUG PIEREN: Oh, yeah, it was horrible.

JAN YAEGER: What was the busiest season would you say?

DOUG PIEREN: I'd say the king crab was the busiest season.

JAN YAEGER: And what time of year was that?

DOUG PIEREN: That was in -- I think it started in October, I believe, yeah. And went 'til about May, yeah.

Of course, they did a lot of crab. No wonder we don’t have any more. They fished it all out, but they'll never admit that.

JAN YAEGER: So could the good size boats come right up to the cannery -- DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh. JAN YAEGER: -- or did you have to use smaller ones?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, there was a dock, you know.

JAN YAEGER: Did your family have to build the dock, too? DOUG PIEREN: No. Uh-uh.

JAN YAEGER: That was there before?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, what dock are you -- where you talking about? JAN YAEGER: At the cannery. DOUG PIEREN: Oh, at the cannery?

JAN YAEGER: Oh, you worked -- you worked at the cannery in town here? DOUG PIEREN: That's what I was telling you. JAN YAEGER: Okay. I'm sorry. I misunderstood. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Which one was that?

DOUG PIEREN: Whitney. I think they had -- it changed names so many times it's hard to remember what the name was. But they had big live tanks for all the crab then and --

Oh, God, them fishermen were running around with 10, 20,000 dollars in their pocket and now we have nothing and the town's going downhill fast, yeah.

I like get a charge out of these people that think they’re going to save it. We haven’t saved it yet. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: What was your job at the cannery?

DOUG PIEREN: I used to work on what they call the machine there -- what -- I can’t remember the name of the damn machine. Bird machine.

JAN YAEGER: Bird?

DOUG PIEREN: Machine, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: As in bird like wings? B-I-R-D?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, I imagine. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

DOUG PIEREN: But anyway the -- all the crab that, you know, they didn’t use any more it'd come into that and we’d spin it with salt in it. And they pull it up in the long john pens, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And so how many years did you work there?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, we worked there until it finally closed, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And what year was that?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, I think it was about ’62, ’63, somewhere in there. JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh.

DOUG PIEREN: No, no, no 18 -- 1963 or yeah, ’83 -- 1983 and 1963, about ten years though.

JAN YAEGER: So that was the Wakefield Plant? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: At one point.

DOUG PIEREN: At one point. There were so many of them that I don’t remember all the names of them.

JAN YAEGER: But you said it was mostly the busy season through the winter? DOUG PIEREN: Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And then in the summertime, you'd be doing all your gardening? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, right.

JAN YAEGER: And probably still working at the cannery? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Right? Who were some of the people that worked with you in developing the gardens when that program started?

DOUG PIEREN: Diane Crawford, you know.

JAN YAEGER: Darlene? DOUG PIEREN: Darlene. She was in charge of it for a while there, yeah.

And I'd help and so forth and so on, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So she -- she actually did some of the gardening, as well?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, I think she did, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And I think wasn’t there a grant that was --

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, yeah, there was a grant.

JAN YAEGER: -- gotten to help fund some of that?

DOUG PIEREN: Right. Uh-huh. Yeah, there was a grant. Then a few -- some years before I turned 62, there was a lot of -- I did a lot of things and I got -- they paid me, you know, for doing it. JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. And this one time, they were in the city council and they said -- and Susan Springer stood up and says whatever he makes for the summer we’ll match it. JAN YAEGER: Oh, really?

DOUG PIEREN: They weren’t very happy about that. Yeah, I think I made about $2,800 so they had to match it. JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh.

DOUG PIEREN: That wasn’t -- it didn’t go over well. Yeah, nor the --

Let’s see, and they put out the thing for the best gardener in town. Of course, I won hands down, so they haven’t had it since.

JAN YAEGER: Oh, really. I would think the trouble -- Is it the best garden or best gardener?

DOUG PIEREN: The best garden. JAN YAEGER: Okay, because you -- DOUG PIEREN: At the time. JAN YAEGER: -- have several gardens. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So how -- which one would you -- which one would you choose?

DOUG PIEREN: Oh, no, it might have been the best gardener ‘cause there're so many parks around. Yeah, so, anyway, by the flag pole down there, yeah. And so they didn’t do it since.

JAN YAEGER: So you were here when the road went in out to Jakolof?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, I was here. JAN YAEGER: Okay. DOUG PIEREN: During that section.

JAN YAEGER: How did that change things in town?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, they -- JAN YAEGER: Would you say? DOUG PIEREN: -- had so many people they had to do it, you know. They had 300 people out there in that little trailer court they had out there. That was just family, you know. You know, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And where was that trailer court?

DOUG PIEREN: Ah, you go out -- you know where the old mill is at Jakolof? JAN YAEGER: Yes.

DOUG PIEREN: Okay. You go further and you go up this kind of a hill and it was off to the left. You can see some roads going down in there.

JAN YAEGER: And so that was mostly the people that were working at the logging? DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: They just brought in a bunch of trailers for them to work?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: For the workers to live in?

DOUG PIEREN: Right, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay. Were there families out there, too? DOUG PIEREN: Oh, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, they had families, kids and -- JAN YAEGER: Uh-huh. DOUG PIEREN: -- the whole nine yards. They had to have a school bus go out there every day to bring the kids into the school.

JAN YAEGER: When you first moved back here in the 1970’s, how many vehicles would you say were in town?

DOUG PIEREN: Well, I don’t think there was as much as there is now, but we lost a lot of population. There was about 800 people then, you know, so -- When there's no economy, things go to pot.

JAN YAEGER: As that longer road went in, did you see more people acquiring vehicles or --?

DOUG PIEREN: I can’t really remember.

JAN YAEGER: It didn’t maybe make much difference?

DOUG PIEREN: No, I don’t remember.

JAN YAEGER: ‘Cause that was kinda the first time that there was much distance to drive, wasn’t it? When that road went in?

DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, before that there wasn’t any place to drive. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Anything else that strikes your imagination with Seldovia? Any strong impressions you have or people that you remember?

DOUG PIEREN: I don’t think so.

JAN YAEGER: All right. Well, thank you for talking with me today. I sure appreciate it. DOUG PIEREN: Yeah, you’re welcome.