Launching Through The Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City

Launching through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City focuses on the historical and contemporary role of dorymen and dories in the life of the coastal village of Pacific City, Oregon. The Linfield College Department of Theatre and Communication Arts, the Jereld R. Nicholson Library, the Linfield Center for the Northwest, the Pacific City Arts Association, and the Pacific City Dorymen’s Association have joined forces to engage in this collaborative college and community venture. The project involves collecting oral histories from individuals associated with the Pacific City Dory Fleet. The results of the research have culminated in an original multimedia theatrical script and production, digital archives, scholarly papers and poster sessions, a traveling exhibit, and a visual art exhibit. Begun in the summer of 2011, the project continues, with ongoing updates to the digital collections.

Pacific City fishermen and women have launched dory boats through the surf at Cape Kiwanda since the early 1900s. Although major commercial fishing from the dories has given way to more recreational activity, the dory fishermen and women remain an integral part of the traditional lore and contemporary life of the community for residents and tourists alike. According to Sally Rissel and Joe Noegel, Cape Kiwanda is “the only place on the West Coast where hundreds of dories are launched through the surf” (69). This project provides an opportunity for Linfield faculty members and students to document and interpret an important way of life and a cultural treasure unique to the Oregon coast.

Support for the project has been provided in part by the following: two grants from the Keck Community Engaged Research to Classroom Program from the Linfield Center for the Northwest, five Linfield College Summer Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grants, an Arts Build Communities Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission, grants from the Yamhill County Cultural Coalition and the Tillamook County Cultural Coalition, a Cultural Development Grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, and generous gifts from Nancy Whelan and an anonymous individual donor. Rhianna Bennett, Mary Beth Jones, Gabrielle Leif, and Alicia Schnell have assisted with preparation of materials for the archives.

Reference: Rissel, Sally, and Joe Noegel. Nestucca River Country: Natives, Settlers & Settlements. Centralia, WA: Gorham Printing, 2009.

Note: Launching through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City is an ongoing research project. As such, the existing collections represent only a small portion of the material that eventually will become available. New content will be added on an ongoing basis.

These poster images of Dory Days posters were created by Carol Miles Johnson from the Launching Through The Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City project.