Follow the movie trail
More than 450 movies and television shows have been made in the state of Oregon, from silent film "Fisherman's Bridge" in 1909 to the famous "The Goonies."
Now, Oregon Film and partners have undertaken an ambitious project to document locations around the state where filming took place, from Portland to Astoria to Eugene. It's called the Oregon Film Trail.
There have been 12 locations documented, not including a 160-foot-long mural at Portland International Airport fitted with movie posters aligned with regional filming locations.
And, many more are yet to come. Organizers are working on sites for "Animal House" in Eugene and Cottage Grove, and others for films such as "City Girl," "Twilight," "Coraline" and "The General."
There are three phases to the project. The first has involved identifying sites, such as in Astoria, Warrenton, Cannon Beach, Gleneden Beach, Brownsville, Salem and Portland (see sidebar list), and erecting signs at the locations with descriptions of the movies.
The concept started with Oregon Film, in partnership with the OregonMade Creative Foundation and the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce, which wanted to highlight the locations for "The Goonies," "Kindergarten Cop," "Short Circuit" and "Free Willy."
News spread and other organizations and municipalities have become involved, such as Travel Oregon, and it's strengthened the correlation among the film/TV industry, economic development, tourism and local interest.
"It started organically when we were doing signs for both 'Portlandia' and 'Grimm' when they were wrapping up," said Tim Williams, Oregon Film executive director, "and we were trying to figure out ways to commemorate the shows." A plaque for "Grimm" went up in Pier Park, and for "Portlandia" in City Hall.
"It led us to the idea that there is a value to locate locations. There is a 110-year history of filmmaking here in the state and people didn't realize that. 'Hey, why don't we stick a sign in these places and see what comes of it?'"
For the 50th anniversary of Oregon Film, the 160-foot mural project was done at PDX, spearheaded by Jane Ridley, Oregon Film's marketing communications and special events manager.
Then, Oregon Film wanted to recognize what it had done with Oregon State Parks by planting trees. Officials at the department suggested Gleneden State Park, three miles from where "Sometimes a Great Notion" was filmed; so, trees and a sign went up there.
More people wanted signs to commemorate film locations, and Oregon Film arranged for contributions from organizations and put in its own supplemental money.
"Both Jane and I would be proud to make it to 25 (signs)," Williams said. "It's toil and a labor of love."
Second and third phases will follow, including digital enhancement. Said Ridley: "The trail is already encouraging a storytelling dialogue with our collaborating partners, and signs are already being used by our partners to bring attention to their events, locations and bigger conversations they are having."
All information and locations can be found at OregonFilmTrail.com.
"The Goonies" remains the most recognized movie filmed in Oregon, Williams said. Made in 1985 and starring young Corey Feldman, Sean Astin and others, it's about a group of misfits discovering an ancient map and setting out to find a legendary pirate's long-lost treasure.
Astoria puts on Goonies Days at the Goondocks each year.
There are signs for "The Goonies" at the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria, as well as at Ecola Point in Cannon Beach. In Astoria, you can see the famous "Goonies" house from the sign site; it's a private home, and a sign couldn't be erected there.
There are three sign locations in Brownsville for "Stand by Me," the 1986 film about a boyhood journey for friends to find the body of a missing boy. It starred Feldman, River Phoenix and others. (Parts of the movie also were filmed in Cottage Grove, with them walking to train tracks, and California, including the famous "Train!" scene on the tracks).
Two recent signs were put up in Salem at the Oregon Department of Corrections Dome Building and Oregon Museum of Mental Health for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," the 1975 movie by producer Michael Douglas and starring Jack Nicholson — based on the Ken Kesey book, although Kesey basically disavowed the movie.
There'll be a sign for "Cuckoo's" also put up in Depoe Bay, where the hospital patients went out on a boat fishing.
Ridley is working with Eugene and Cottage Grove officials on sign locations for "Animal House." Cottage Grove has a moviemaking history, including "Emperor of the North" and "The General."
And, there'll be Portland locations (and in St. Helens) for "Twilight." Said Williams: "What we want to do in Portland is roll out a bunch of them in conjunction with Portland Parks."
If you go
Locations on the Oregon Film Trail, so far:
"Short Circuit," Alameda Park
"Kindergarten Cop," waterfront
"The Goonies," Oregon Film Museum
"Free Willy," Hammond Marina
• Cannon Beach
"Point Break," Ecola State Park/Indian Beach (also "Twilight" sign)
"The Goonies," Ecola Point (also "Kindergarten Cop" sign)
• Gleneden Beach
"Sometimes a Great Notion," Gleneden State Park
"Stand by Me," Brownsville Historic Museum, City Hall, Pioneer Park
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Oregon Department of Corrections Dome Building, Oregon Museum of Mental Health
"Portlandia," City Hall
"Grimm," Pier Park
160-foot mural/film poster, PDX Airport southern foot tunnel
Coming soon: Ashland, Joseph, Athena, Eugene, Cottage Grove, Depoe Bay
Complete info: www.OregonFilmTrail.com.
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