Historic Oregon Film Trail Leads to Free Willy’s Iconic Escape

– Hammond Marina marks the latest sign on the trail

Astoria, Ore., July 5, 2019— For film buffs, Oregon is a haven of locations and stories from more than 100 years of filmmaking. Inspired by these nostalgic backdrops, The Historic Oregon Film Trail, launched in Astoria earlier this year was designed to identify iconic set locations around the state. The latest addition to the trail—highlighting the scenic Columbia River views from Free Willy— will be in the neighboring town of Warrenton, Oregon.

Free Willy, which premiered on July 16, 1993, tells the story of a boy who learns that a beloved orca whale is to be killed by its aquarium owners and he risks everything to free the whale.  The breakwater at the Hammond Marina—where the eighth Historic Oregon Film Trail sign is to be installed—was used as the backdrop for the iconic escape scene when the boy helps the whale jump to freedom.  The City of Warrenton and Marina Staff were eager to accept the sign and see it as a promising effort to help support their goal to welcome a variety of community members and visitors to the marinas.

Film enthusiasts are invited to attend an informal dedication ceremony on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at Noon at the Hammond Marina. Representatives from the Oregon Film Office and local community leaders will be present to talk about the Trail, the current impacts of the film industry in Oregon and status of the Hammond Marina Master Plan.

“Historical markers are typically about famous people and events. Movies filmed here are also an important part of Oregon’s history and culture, so this trail offer a twist on that convention. The new signs will provide interesting insight into this history to passersby while acting as a beacon to visitors seeking out film locations and stories,” said Tim Williams of Oregon Film. “Placed at photo-worthy locations, we hope the signs will encourage fans to learn more and share about our state’s film destinations.”

Oregon Film, in partnership with the OregonMade Creative Foundation, created the Historic Oregon Film Trail featuring signage located at strategic points around the state. Showing Oregon’s unique and varied locations ? from the coast to the desert ? new markers will be rolled out one location at a time to reinforce the correlation between the film/TV industry, economic development, and tourism.  Development of a Digital Trail Experience as well as a Trail Map is in the beginning phase of development. 

The Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Film Office developed the initial concept and identified several regional movie locations in partnership with the Oregon Film Museum. Oregon Coast Visitors Association provided additional funding for the coastal signs. As the Trail expands across the state, signs will be installed in partnership with Cities, Chambers, Destination Marketing Organizations, Travel Oregon, Travel Portland, Oregon State Parks, USFS, among others.   To date the Historic Oregon Film Trail signs can be found in; Astoria, Warrenton, Gleneden Beach and Brownsville.  Next month there will be two more installed at Ecola State Park, with more coming to Cottage Grove, Ashland, Eastern Oregon and Eugene.

About Oregon Made Creative Foundation:

The OMCF is a program of The Charitable Partnership Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It was founded through the efforts of Oregon Film (a/k/a the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television) as a stand alone non-profit foundation focused on providing opportunity and grants for #OregonMade creators through strategic partnerships and creative connections. www.oregonmade.org

About Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce:

The Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce has served the local business community since 1873. Today, with 570 businesses joining forces for common benefit, it also provides visitor services and tourism promotion for the area. For more information, call Astoria (800) 875-6807 or visit http://www.oldoregon.com.

About the Oregon Film Museum:

Ready for your 15 minutes of fame?  Housed in the old Clatsop County Jail, the museum celebrates the art and legacy of Oregon film and film making.  Visitors learn about the film industry and get to make their own Oregon movie on three “hot sets.”  Opened in 2010 by the Clatsop County Historical Society, the museum has experienced stunning growth in attendance.  For more information, call 503-325-2203 or visit www.oregonfilmmuseum.org.

About the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association: (OCVA) is the official RegionalDestination Management Organization (RDMO) and promotional entity for the Oregon Coast, as designated by the Oregon Tourism Commission, DBA Travel Oregon.  Our association is comprised of Chambers of Commerce, Visitors Centers/Bureau, resource management entities and 100+ (approx) private tourism businesses along Oregon’s 363 miles of coastline. We advocate on behalf of the coastal tourism industry by facilitating industry alignment, coordinating industry management efforts and by engaging in cooperative promotional activities which achieve maximum, measurable benefits for our coastal economy with minimal negative impacts on its quality of life and natural environment.

Contact: Oregon Film, Tim Williams tim@oregonfilm.org

Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, Regina Willkie regina@oldoregon.com

Oregon Film Museum, Mac Burns macb@cumtux.org

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