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Roll On Columbia: Woody Guthrie & the Columbia River Songs (2007)

April 22nd, 2011 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · 2000's, Oregon as inspiration, Oregon director, Oregon film new definition, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (primary), Oregon producer

Woody Guthrie came to Portland in 1941 and spent a month here writing some of his most beloved songs.

He came to participate in a promotional film planned by Bonneville Power Adminstration. WWII slowed down the production schedule, and the film, titled The Columbia, came out in 1949.

Guthrie spent one month (May, actually) working for the BPA. He wrote 26 songs and was paid $266.

I learned to sing Roll On Columbia, the most famous of Guthrie’s regional anthems, at Blossom Gulch Elementary School in Coos Bay, Oregon. So many Washington State school children were likewise instructed that by 1987 Washington made it their official folk song.

Roll on, Columbia, roll on, roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Green Douglas-firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the ocean so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on
Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

And on up the river is Grand Coulee Dam

The biggest thing built by the hand of a man
To run the great factories and water the land
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

And more verses here.

I hereby claim Roll On Columbia: Woody Guthrie & the Columbia River Songs as an Oregon film.

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