This repainted sliding door is one of the first things you see when you cross the causeway from the riverbank to Pier 39, which now houses a brewery/restaurant, Coffee Girl coffee house, a small museum, a diving and kayak rental business, and various offices.
I've always been taken aback by the slogan on the door, as it reminded me of the pathetically ironic "Arbeit Macht Frei" welded into the gates of certain Nazi concentration camps. I was going to say, "I wonder who thought that one up ('Work is Our Joy') and whether the workers concurred with management."
As I was writing this post, I looked up the phrase, and found an informative and extremely well done documentary of the same name giving a much more positive meaning to this phrase and explaining the local industry in great detail. It has interviews with the original gilnetters and lots of photos. In this case, the "little guys" took their fortunes into their own hands and started their own cannery when they were being oppressed by "the man." Work really was their joy. The video is linked from several different pages, and here's the intro from one of them:
"Work Is our Joy - The Story Of The Columbia River Gillnetter
"Drift gillnetting came to the Columbia River in the early 1850s. Many gillnetters on the river today are third and forth generation descendants of fishermen who immigrated to the region in the nineteenth century. Here they established new communities and developed the most advanced gillnet fishery found anywhere in the world. Based on a series of oral history history interviews, this half-hour video describes the unique culture of the Columbia River gillnetter. “Work Is Our Joy” will take you into the world of a living tradition. A world of nets, of boats, of fishing,part of a rich maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest. http://www.salmonforall.org/history/work-is-our-joy-movie/"
Here's another link to the video. I tried to embed it, but the embedding code wasn't working: