The Other Rainforest
The Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. When people talk about the Rainforest, they invariably mean the tropical one in Brazil, but the Pacific temperate rainforest is the largest in the world by area, and stretches from northern California upwards to Alaska. There are also American tropical rainforests in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. This part of the Hollywood Atlas is home to magnificent forest scenery, Vancouver, mountain lions, a couple other lions, Bigfoot, log cabins, lumberjacks, and sad-eyed Native Americans delivering Green Aesops. Oh, and crazy people who live in shacks, write manifestos, and send letter bombs. Also expect to see Hippies. Alternatively, we may get a beautifully forested small town, which turns out to be a City of Adventure, usually for the local Kid Heroes, who may subjected to a Horrible Camping Trip. (Note the "rain" part of "rainforest".) This area may also be a Wild Wilderness with very little contact to the outside world because the only city in this region Hollywood seems to know about is Seattle, home of the Space Needle and Starbucks. As home to Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates, and with Nintendo of America down the block and to the left, the Seattle area is the 'cool' alternative location for tech people. Occasional recognition is given to Boeing. If Oregon ever gets a city, it will be Portland, which is often stereotyped as being populated by hipsters and Granola Girls. Funny thing is, despite Seattle being known as a tech city, Portland is a major center for computer manufacturing, with many Silicon Valley companies such as Intel moving their manufacturing north due to cheaper utilities, wages, and land prices. Another notable company in the area is Nike, whose world campus is in Beaverton, a suburb just west of Portland. Whenever something is supposedly set in Washington, you can almost guarantee it is Vancouver Doubling. However, due to good union contracts it's becoming more common for it to be doubled in Oregon. This may change in the next few years as Washington State has recently passed tax breaks and other incentives for filmmakers, as well as the Canadian and American exchange rates and labor laws making the States an equally valid choice. Also, beyond the Cascade Mountains, vast stretches of Central and Eastern Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia are not in any way a rainforest (and the residents tend to be far more conservative politically.) Much of Eastern Oregon is desert or semi-arid, described by some as "the closest you can get to the Wild West and still have cable", while Eastern Washington is largely rolling plains similar to those in Idaho and the Midwest. The latter area is home to the majority of America's apple production, as well as the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, the largest dam in the United States (and at one point the largest dam in the world). Eastern Washington is home to the state's second-largest city, Spokane, whose suburb of Mead is home to Cyan, the developers behind Myst. Plutonium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal is produced on the Hanford Reservation (rather than Oak Ridge or Los Alamos). Eastern BC includes the Okanagan Valley, a major orchard and winery region, as well as a few different mountain ranges.
This region in fiction:
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- The Marvel Comics version of The Transformers was set in and around Portland. To be precise, the spaceship that brought the Transformers to Earth crashed near "Mount Saint Hilary".
- Greg Rucka's Stumptown is also.
- And Brian Michael Bendis' Scarlet.
- Green Arrow, during the Mike Grell era.
- Charles Burns's graphic novel Black Hole takes place in Seattle during the 1970s.
- Benny & Joon is set and shot in Spokane.
- Harry and the Hendersons manages to include Bigfoot, Seattle, and the end of a Horrible Camping Trip.
- The Free Willy movies (at least the parts set on land)
- The Goonies, set in Astoria, Oregon
- McCabe & Mrs. Miller, a revisionist Western set in a small mining town in the Cascades.
- The exteriors for Practical Magic were filmed on Whidbey Island in northern Puget Sound- though this is in a much less rainforest-y area than areas further south and west. The same area was used for a justifiably forgotten TV movie called Cry For the Children.
- Portland seems to be mainly used as Wangst and in Gus Van Sant films.
- Dantes Peak, set in a fictional small town in Washington's North Cascades (but shot in Idaho).
- Coraline is set in Ashland, Oregon, due to Laika, the animation company that made it being based in Portland (well, Hillsboro, but same difference), and them wanting to have it set in Oregon while still making Miss Spinx and Miss Forcible's backstory of being former actresses semi-plausible (Ashland is the host for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival).
- Singles is a movie released in 1992 that shamelessly surfs on the grunge trend that was all the rage that year; fittingly, it is set in Seattle.
- It could be argued that this film helped to inspire the grunge trend, as it was largely unknown outside of Seattle before the film came out.
- The Ring (the Americana remake and its sequel) is set in the Northwest and was shot around Seattle, the Puget Sound, and Astoria, Oregon. The creepy blue quality to the light, unsettling fog and broken down barns are all part of the local color.
- While no location is given in the film, What the #$*! Do We Know!? was filmed in and around Portland, and makes fairly extensive use of the MAX (the local light rail) and the Baghdad movie theatre.
- Just Before Dawn has five youths camoing in the woods of Oregon and meeting death in the guise of psycho redneck twins.
- 10 Things I Hate About You: Certain shots show that it is set in Seattle, with the skyline (complete with Space Needle) and several iconic locations. Tacoma seems to double for Seattle in a lot of the more generic places.
- Animal House was shot in Eugene, Oregon on the U of O campus, although it seems to take place somewhere in Pennsylvania.
- Most of Kindergarten Cop takes place in Astoria where Kimble goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher.
- No Retreat No Surrender takes place in Seattle and also the location of Bruce Lee's grave.
- Antitrust takes place largely in Portland. Fitting, since the inspiration for the film's villain is also located in the Pacific Northwest.
- Five Easy Pieces: much of the film takes place in Oregon and the Puget Sound area of Washington.
- Foxfire with Angelina Jolie was filmed in SW Portland, and SET in Portland because it was purportedly full of lesbians and wangsty teenagers in The '90s.
- Dead Man: set somewhere in Washington (the Makah village at the end of the film indicates the Olympic Peninsula)
- The setting of Twilight. Forks, Washington is getting fantastic tourist revenue thanks to the movies—never mind that not a single scene in the saga was actually shot there.
- My Own Private Idaho and Drugstore Cowboy feature Portland, Oregon prominently, most notably The City Narrows. Parts of downtown Portland were considered rather gruff before it became so closely associated with The '90s Hipster culture.
- The forests of Endor are in Humboldt County, California.
- Likewise, Outbreak was filmed in Humboldt County, set in the fictional city of Cedar Creek (actually Ferndale, CA). The infected monkey is released in the same forest that Luke and Leia rode speeders in.
- The scenes that were supposedly set in Japan for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III were filmed on the Oregon coast.
- My Name Is Bruce is set in the fictional southern Oregon town of Goldlick, as well as actually being filmed in southern Oregon (Bruce Campbell lives in the southern Oregon town of Jacksonville).
- The Parallax View, which starts in Seattle (with an assassination at the Space Needle) and continues around the Washington State area.
- Twilight is set in the town of Forks, Washington. Although Forks is a real place, the first movie filmed the Forks scenes in Oregon, and the subsequent movies filmed the Forks scenes in Vancouver, both of which are at least in the right region.
- The Postman
- Barbara Kingsolver's novel Pigs in Heaven has the main character move from Tucson to Seattle. She finds the local climate impossibly rainy. "This isn't a city, it's a carwash!"
- Most of the Mercy Thompson series takes place in the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington. The second Alpha & Omega novel is set in Seattle and does a good job.
- Patricia Briggs was living in the Tri-Cities when she started writing the series.
- Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby books are all set in Portland.
- Some of Michael Slade's RCMP thrillers take place in Vancouver. Many of its characters have spent time hunting or backpacking in British Columbia.
- The Emberverse book series by S.M. Stirling features the PNW and Willamette Valley as central setting locations. The green and verdant landscape is mentioned as being a boon to the residents.
- The Northwest Front series of books takes place (mainly) in the Pacific Northwest as white nationalists try to separate and establish their Northwest American Republic....by terrorism.
- The Wildwood series by Colin Meloy (yes That Colin Meloy) is a young adult fantasy that sets an entire fantasy land in the wild woods near Portland.
- The prime setting of Imagine Someday a fictional city in Oregon that's somewhat like Portland. The characters also visit the Cascades at one point.
- In Metatropolis the eco-anarchist city of Cascadiopolis is hidden among the trees and basalt flats.
- A Study In Moonlight is all set in Western Washington. Most of "Tamanous of the Brackenwoods" takes place in a fictional small town in the Olympic Peninsula rainforest country, not far from Forks.
Live Action TV
- Twin Peaks
- The Bones episode "The Man in the Bear", which for some reason included a Stock Footage shot of Yosemite (they must have been walking really far).
- Nowhere Man - filmed entirely in/around Portland, though the various episodes were actually set in cities all over the country.
- Dead Like Me - Set in Seattle, but quite obviously filmed in Vancouver.
- The Sentinel is set in the fictional city of Cascade, a stand-in for Seattle.
- Almost Live!, a sketch comedy show that ran from 1984-1999 in the timeslot before Saturday Night Live, was produced and shot in Seattle, and featured skits which, in addition to lampooning (and helping codify) all the area stereotypes, regularly involved local current events and celebrities. Often the trivia of choice to determine if someone's a 'true' Washingtonian is to quiz them about their knowledge of this show.
- Power Rangers Mystic Force - Though the fictional city of Briarwood suggests that it is either in Northern California or Oregon, it was filmed in New Zealand
- Frasier is set in Seattle, but filmed entirely in LA, except for one special on-location episode.
- John Doe
- Lost had a scene showing Ben being born in the forests just outside of Portland.... only problem being that the trees and foliage in the scene are obviously(and hilariously) tropical.
- Dark Angel is set in cyberpunk-esque Seattle Twenty Minutes into the Future after an EMP burst destroys the US economy.
- Highlander: The Series is set in "Seacouver".
- The X-Files filmed its first five seasons in Vancouver, though it played host to a variety of different places, including Oregon, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington just in the first season. The pilot is set in the fictional town of Bellefleur, Oregon. They switched filming to L.A. after season five, and this becomes almost glaringly obvious in season seven, when Mulder and Scully return to Bellefleur to follow up on their first case. The pilot is drizzly, rainy, and ominous. The entirety of "Requiem" is sunny and more inviting.
- NBC's Perfect Couples is set in Portland, Oregon, although this is not mentioned on-screen often.
- One episode of Stargate SG-1 ("Seth") was set north of Seattle. Also, the episode "Nightwalkers" was set in a small, coastal Oregon town.
- Portlandia is, obviously, set in Portland.
- Grimm is set and filmed in and around Portland.
- Leverage filmed its second, third and fourth seasons in Portland but set them in Boston. Starting in season five, the show will take place in Portland.
- Kyle XY is filmed in Vancouver, BC and while their exact town remains unnamed it seems to be close enough for frequent and casual trips to the University of Washington in Seattle, which is established as many alumni of the Government Conspiracy having started as students there.
- MacGyver had the episode "Log Jam", featuring Mac investigating the Northwest logging industry to discover... the Yakuza.
- Shadowrun's default campaign setting is Seattle and surrounding areas.
- Alan Wake. The developers wanted to create a convincing Washington landscape, so they took literally THOUSANDS of photographs of the land, not to mention architecture styles. As a result, the game had very little concept art.
- Deadly Premonition is set in the fictional city of Greenvale, Washington. (Based on the landscape, it's up somewhere in the Cascades.) Many characters mention visiting Seattle as well.
- World in Conflict Much of the story and game play, while sometimes set in Europe with the EU, and in New York, is set in Washington. In 1989, The Soviet Union invades Seattle using a lot of cargo vessels as a front. Their invasion is turned around at the fictional city of Pine Valley. (just northeast of Astoria, Oregon). A counterattack on Seattle (with an appearance by the Space Needle) causes the Soviets to retreat from the US mainland.
- The first mission in Mass Effect 3 takes place in a futuristic version of Vancouver as it is being attacked by the Reapers.
- The starting village of Arroyo in Fallout 2 is located roughly in the vicinity of Medford, Oregon, and most of the game takes place in northern California.
- Gone Home is set in Oregon during, naturally, The '90s.
- Life Is Strange features a prestigious art school in Oregon, populated by every variation of the Hipster archetype one would expect.
- Darkwing Duck, in the episode dealing with Native Americans with big feet.
- Gravity Falls is set in a weird part of Oregon. (Or ya know, the weirder part anyway.)
- Matt Groening once said that Springfield was actually set in Oregon, his home state. Then again, Matt Groening said this, and there have been many deliberate contradictions throughout The Simpsons, including an episode where Bart and Homer had to plan a long road trip to get to Oregon (where they accidentally destroyed Groening's birth home).