Author Greg Vandy followed Woody Guthrie's journey through the Pacific Northwest to write 26 songs in 30 days for the Bonneville Power Administration. He also hosts a weekly show, "The Roadhouse," on KEXP.

REBROADCAST: Woody Guthrie

In the spring of 1941, Woody Guthrie came to Portland for a one-month job. He was hired by the Bonneville Power Administration to write songs extolling the virtues of dams, irrigated land and federally subsidized hydropower. He ended up giving the government 26 songs in 30 days.

Latest Stories


‘In the Shadow of Fairview’

Twenty years ago, the last resident left Fairview Training Center. It closed in 2000 amid lawsuits and investigations. But for nearly 100 years, Fairview was Oregon's primary institution for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For many residents, it was the only home they ever knew. For others, it was a living nightmare.

Oregon’s Moon Country

The next Oregon Experience returns to Central Oregon's Moon Country, where NASA astronauts trained to walk on the moon.

Fern Hobbs and the Snake River showdown

The year was 1913. In Eastern Oregon, the town of Copperfield was known for heavy drinking, corrupt local politics, daytime brawls and nighttime brothels. To the west of the Cascades, Fern Hobbs was developing her own reputation, as the first Oregon woman to receive an important political appointment after the state granted women the right to vote.

Tsuboi Brothers Jewelry Store in Japantown

Oregon’s Japanese Americans: Beyond the wire

By the 1920s Oregon had well-established Japanese American communities in Portland and Hood River. Immigrant pioneers managed businesses, thriving farms and orchards with their American-born children. Pearl Harbor changed everything. 

Oregon's Black Pioneers

From fur trappers and explorers to farmers and merchants, African-Americans have helped shape the state, even as white settlers tried to force them out. "Oregon Experience" examines the largely unknown history of Oregon’s black pioneers.

Oregon Experience's Fort Vancouver

Fort Vancouver: A Historic Trade Post Of The Pacific Northwest

At one time, the largest landowner in North America was the Hudson's Bay Company, a vast British trading enterprise. In the early 1800s, Fort Vancouver served as the HBC headquarters in the Oregon Country employing hundreds of people from over 35 different ethnic groups. This unique, vibrant, multicultural community prevailed for more than 20 years. Fort Vancouver is the story of the people, the place and the changes that the Hudson's Bay Company brought to the Pacific Northwest.


From historical biographies to issues and events that have shaped our state, "Oregon Experience" is an exciting television series co-produced by OPB and the Oregon Historical Society. The series explores Oregon's rich past and helps all of us — from natives to newcomers — gain a better understanding of the historical, social and political fabric of our state. Each show brings to life fascinating characters — both familiar and forgotten — who've played key roles in building our state into the unique place we call home.