Also known as Willamette Iron and Steel Company, the shipyard has a rich history, as it was founded in 1865 in Portland, Oregon. Initially, the company specialized in the manufacturing of steamboat boilers and engines. Willamette Iron and Steel Works was a very busy shipyard during both World War I and World War II, building small naval auxiliaries, patrol craft, minesweepers, submarine chasers, and non-self-propelled lighters. Sadly, everyone who worked at this shipyard was exposed to asbestos, mostly from installing or handling insulation. By disturbing friable asbestos products, workers would breathe the air they would subsequently cloud with toxic dust, which places them at high risk for lung disease.