On the drive back to Seattle, the kids request a stop at the Clatsop County Jail in Astoria. It is the jail used in the opening scene of The Goonies.
The jail was in use from 1914 to 1973. Today, it is the Oregon Film Museum highlighting the film industry in Oregon.
Parked out front is the black Jeep Cherokee used by the Fratelli gang when they escaped and were chased by keystone cops through Astoria. If you look closely, there are 3 bullet holes in the back that Mouth notices later at the lighthouse.
Heading east on 30 we spot the Goonies House nestled at the top of a hill. The noticeable wrap-around porch makes it fairly easy to identify.
The owner purchased the house in 1990 and has lived there to date. When it eventually goes on the market I’m sure there will be a long line of buyers bidding on the pop culture landmark.
On the Washington side of the Lewis and Clark Bridge, we drive through Longview, another coastal town built around lumber. Urban sprawl, strip malls, fast food and small mid-century homes share space along major arteries, an architectural timeline of growth and decline. Some houses are sold and turned into massage parlors, nail salons and psychic storefronts.
It reminds me of my childhood on Long Island. I grew up going to malls built in working class neighborhoods near post-World War 2 expressways. Where else could developers buy up large land parcels?
I took the bus to Roosevelt Field, Walt Whitman Mall and the Broadway Mall loitering in skylit Art Deco and neon mausoleums. I gorged on fried foods, arcades and record stores. Sometimes I idled with friends around indoor fountains, grottos and fake palm trees. I was filled with teen angst never imagining the obsolescence of these consumer leviathans.
We called our parents on pay phones to let them know when we would be home; houses that baby boomers would make a killing on decades later at the expense of Generation X. I only rent these days.
Most of America as we know it is dying. It’s been dying for certain people for a long time. My myopic privilege is just figuring this out now.
Over the last few days, I’ve driven through unvarnished coastal towns that pander to the 20th century, while vacation homes are rented to the privileged with the best views.
I know more and more younger people are moving to metropolitan area for economic and environmental reasons. Will infrastructure in rural areas take priority? Will roads, water systems and bridges decline in less populated areas? Will more people find themselves even more desperate with no work and no skills? Will the human divide continue to widen between the wealthiest and everyone else numbed by anomic consumerism?
My 12-year old son is furious about the planet older generations are leaving to him. I can offer him protective platitudes about standing up to these anthropogenic forces, but I just don’t believe that helps anymore. Honesty is the only guide.