Robert "Scotty" Walker was interned during WW II in CPS Camp 56, Waldport, Oregon. After WW II, Scotty returned to college and eventually graduated from seminary to become Rev. Walker. He took a position as the pastor of the FirstFreewillBaptistChurch in Danville, NH. He worked many jobs after the war to make ends meet, from cutting fire wood to surveying. Eventually his travels took him to the United Nations where he led tours for high school children for the New Hampshire Counsel of World Affairs. He and his wife moved to Seattle in the mid-1960s where he continued his work as a pastor and social activist.
“I just got mad at the way in which the [CPS] camp was being administered on three levels: the Forest Service wasn’t talking to me; the CampDirector was out in left field as far as I was concerned; and the government was interfering all the time. So the government would really run the camp. That’s what I objected to; I figured if they’re going to run my camp I’ll be darned if I’m going to let the Baptists pay 30 bucks a month for me to stay there. So I figured they could take their job and shove it, so to speak.
“I felt to some extent that CPS was one way to get the government off the hook. And if they wanted to demand us to do something that we weren’t going to do they better take responsibility for it. So I walked out and went to Seattle. I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t want to get my father tied up in a court case, so I moved in with a bunch of mostly CO wives in a boarding house in the University District. I went to work for a landscape gardener. I went over to Eastern Washington to pick up calcium carbonate for liming yards, gardens, and loaded freight cars. I walked out [of camp] around the first of October. I figured the FBI would be coming after me pretty soon. So I went down to Portland and surrendered to the Federal District Attorney. They didn’t know who the hell we were.
“They put me in the county jail. I’d been studying sociology at the University of Washington and was very much interested in the whole penal situation. So I sat in there for three weeks, at the county jail. Got acquainted with the Brethren in there, and the food and a few other things. And then our case was called up. We were given a court-appointed attorney. They offered me bail of $500 but I didn’t want to; I didn’t have the $500 and didn’t want to borrow it.
“So I stayed in county jail. I made some notes and we went to court. I pleaded guilty and they offered us a five-year stint in a veterans TB hospital instead of jail. I refused it. So they gave me three years. Didn’t matter what we pled. A few days later they lined us up to take us by train [to federal prison] and one of the cons that I knew pretty well said, “Walker, drag your feet.” So I stayed behind, waited until they ran out of handcuffs—they had this long string of guys handcuffed together—with three or four of us walking along behind, without any handcuffs and all.
“I got out of McNeil [Island Penitentiary] on April fool’s day and came to Seattle. When we got our tickets we went to the bus depot in Tacoma. A very burley looking Tacoma detective stuck his head in to make sure we were buying our tickets for Seattle, not some nefarious thing. We got to Seattle and reported to the Federal courthouse to the probation officer that I was assigned to. Then I went to work Transplanting rhododendrons.”
Scotty Walker standing at the door of his CPS Barracks #5 at Waldport, OR. The Camp buildings were former Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buildings with primitive accommodations, including iron double-decker bunk beds set up dormitory style.
One of Scotty’s work crews at CPS Camp 56 in Waldport, OR. The men are standing in front of their barracks. Tree planting was a regular work assignment, along with road building and maintenance. Some men objected to this kind of work as not being of national importance as stipulated when the CO Camp system was created.
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