“The New Willamette” (1974)

28 Jul

“Here in Oregon we listen to water all the time.”


Homer Groening (1919-1996) was an ad man, cartoonist, and industrial filmmaker in Portland, Oregon (also father to Matt, creator of The Simpsons). The Army Corps of Engineers sponsored Groening’s 1974 film The New Willamette, which looks at environmental clean-up efforts on the mighty Willamette River.


Oregon Governor Tom McCall (1967-1975)

The film features environmentalist Governor Tom McCall, who led multiple efforts to protect Oregon beaches, waterways, and forests. He famously encouraged people to visit Oregon, “but for heaven’s sake, don’t come here to live.”

The film won the Golden Eagle Award for outstanding non-theatrical films in the United States in 1975, and the U.S. Information Agency entered it in several international film festivals.


Fisherman Jim Conway

Thanks to an inquiry from a retired Lane County teacher who used to show the film to her students, I was able to track down what is likely the sole surviving print, which resides in the Indiana University Libraries Film Archive. The staff graciously digitized it and put it online.

Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks has compiled a Homer Groening filmography.

One Response to ““The New Willamette” (1974)”


  1. “what we’re doing to it on its way to the sea . . .” | Speaking for the River - October 24, 2015

    […] A post at the 16mm Lost & Found blog provides a link to where one can view this film on the Indiana University Media Collections Online site. The blog post also provides a bit of context on the film and on Groening. […]

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