CORVALLIS - Astoria, Ore., is one of three Northwest communities featured in an award-winning video called "Towns in Transition" that will air on Oregon Public Broadcasting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 25.

The half-hour program, narrated by actor John Cullum who played bartender Hollings Vancour on the hit television series "Northern Exposure," explores how natural resource-dependent communities are coping with economic and social change.

The video looks at the experiences of the residents of three towns - Tulelake, Calif., just across the border from Klamath Falls; Forks, Wash., on the Olympia Peninsula, and Astoria.

The Astoria segment uses archival footage and interviews with current residents to trace the ups and downs of the fishing and seafood canning industry, including the devastating news in 1979 that the community's largest employer, Bumblebee Tuna, was shutting down.

"Towns in Transition" was produced by the Oregon State University Extension Service and the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station.

Originally the video, and a companion study guide called "Managing Change in Natural Resource-dependent Communities," were produced by OSU in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for delivery by satellite to natural resource-dependent communities around the United States.

"Global, national and local forces have been causing dramatic economic and social changes in natural resource-dependent communities," said Lyla Houglum, OSU Extension Service director. "The goal of this educational package is to lend a helping hand to the families that live and work in them."

"Towns in Transition" was distributed by satellite to all PBS stations in the country by the Pacific Mountain Network in Denver. Earlier this month, it won a Gold Screen Award as the best educational production of 1996 from the National Association of Government Communicators.

It was produced by a team that included OSU Extension community development specialists Flaxen Conway, Pat Corcoran and Greg Tillson, and Lynn Ketchum and Andy Duncan of OSU's Department of Extension and Experiment Station Communications.

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Flaxen Conway, 541-737-1418