OSU Press publishes travel guide to small Northwest towns


CORVALLIS, Ore. – It isn’t difficult to find tips on places to visit in Portland, Bend or Newport, but when you’re traveling the back roads of Oregon and southwest Washington and going through towns like Powers, Fossil, Shady Cove, or Sublimity – it might take a little digging.

Well, dig no more. A new book written by long-time Northwest journalist Foster Church, and published by the Oregon State University Press, acts as a guide to small Northwest towns.

“Discovering Main Street: Travel Adventures in Small Towns of the Northwest” offers nearly 50 profiles of places that are more than just dots on a map. The book is organized by regions and offers history and highlights of towns in the Willamette Valley, along the Oregon Coast, in Southern Oregon, in Eastern Oregon, and in Southern Washington.

Church is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked for The Oregonian newspaper for 27 years and who has written travel articles that have appeared throughout the United States. In his book, he describes a variety of the Northwest’s small towns – a phrase he says he defines “loosely.”

In “Discovering Main Street,” those towns range from Fields, which has a population of 13, to Dallas,  with its more than 15,000 residents.

“Usually,” Church writes, “I avoid towns that are already well-known tourist attractions. This means that I have excluded most coastal small towns. My most basic criterion for choosing a town to write about is that it offers overnight accommodation…For the most part, I have found these hostelries clean, well equipped, and centrally located.”

Church offers plenty of advice on what to do when you visit a small town for the first time: visit the Chamber of Commerce, buy a copy of the local newspaper, check out billboards at the library, and find the best view of the town. Then, satisfy your curiosity.

Read “Discovering Main Street” and you will learn that Harrisburg got its start when an 1862 flood shifted the Willamette River, leaving the competing town of Lancaster high and dry. The south coast town of Charleston offers the South Slough Estuarine Reserve, a living laboratory for what happens when fresh water and salt water meet and create a unique environment. Paisley, believe it or not, has a Mosquito Festival. And Lyle, at the mouth of the Klilckitat River in southern Washington, has ties to the Lewis & Clark expedition.

The book is available in book stores and libraries or can be ordered by calling 1-800-426-3797, or by going online.

The Oregon State University Press, founded in 1961, publishes significant scholarly books and other works and has a focus on the intellectual, cultural and social development of Oregon and the West.

More information on the press is available at: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/about.html