Most people around the country, and even those who live between the Cascade mountains and the coast, think of Oregon as having lush greenery and drenching rain. Many have never ventured down the Columbia River Gorge, much less the dramatic, dry landscape that stretches along the river for 300 miles to the east. Few people, even those our parents' age, know that river as any more than a glorified lake broken up by huge dams that control the flow of water along the northern border of the state, or what it might have looked like before the dams were built.
And most of us don't think of the lands that river flows through, from eastern British Columbia down through eastern Washington and past the Hanford Nuclear Reservation before it reaches Oregon's border. A new documentary called Arid Lands recounts the history of the river and the effect that people and their activities have had on the area around the nuclear reservation. It also examines what that means for the people living and farming there, as well as those of us living downstream from this environmental cleanup project that is costing us $2 billion a year (with no end in sight).
Made by Josh Wallaert, a writer and native Oregonian who now lives in Vancouver, BC, and Grant Aaker, who attended college in Portland and is currently a medical student at Cornell, it's already won 10 awards and is having a screening at the NW Film & Video Festival this Sunday. You can watch the trailer, but this looks like something worth a couple of hours of your Sunday afternoon.
Details: Screening of Arid Lands at the NW Film & Video Festival. Sun., Nov. 11, 2 pm; $7 advance, tickets online. Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave.
Also showing at the festival is The Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson that I've written about before. If you missed it on the first go-around, try to get in to see it. Locally produced and unforgettable, you won't regret it!
Details: Screening of The Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson. Wed., Nov. 14, 7 pm; $7, tickets online. Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave.