The Pacific City dory fleet will be featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting in a televised special next month. The program segment will air Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8:30 p.m. and the following Sunday at 6:30 p.m., and will be available online.
OPB’s Oregon Field Guide will highlight an unusual partnership between Pacific City dory fishermen and a team of students at Linfield College. During the past two years, Linfield students and professors have collected oral histories from more than 80 dory fishermen and women in Pacific City, hoping to preserve the cultural history of one of the most unique fishing fleets in the world.
“Our students who collected oral histories came away changed,” said Brenda DeVore Marshall, a Linfield theatre and communication arts professor who directed the project. “They really identified with the dory fishermen and women in this community and developed a tremendous respect for their way of life. And they came to understand the importance of telling stories and how those stories help us understand each other.”
The students interviewed children as young as nine and fishermen as old as 91, and are now in the process of digitizing videos and photos for an online archive at Linfield College. Students have also developed scholarly papers and a traveling photo exhibit, due in coastal towns this spring. Their original theatre production, inspired by the town’s dory culture and set in Pacific City, was staged in November.
“The students who were involved in the theatre production were really invested in the project,” DeVore Marshall said. “When they performed in Pacific City and sensed how the audience members reacted to the play, they were visibly moved.
“This whole project has been a humbling experience for me,” she said. “I feel privileged to have been able to work with this community. This is a historical story we could easily lose, and yet it’s such an important part of Oregon’s past and present.”
Oregon Field Guide, which explores the landscapes and cultures of Oregon, airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. on the public television stations of OPB.
Episodes may also be viewed online one day after the broadcast. The online program archives may be accessed at watch.opb.org/program/oregon-field-guide. To purchase DVDs, call OPB at (503) 293-1904.
“Launching Through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City” was spearheaded by Linfield College, in partnership with the Pacific City Arts Association and the Pacific City Dorymen’s Association. The project is supported by a grant from the Linfield Center for the Northwest, Oregon Arts Commission and Yamhill County Cultural Coalition.