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Spin Control

Sunday Spin: Of hot summer, ‘Twilight’ and the gov

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee answers questions at a press conference on Oct. 1, 2015 (Jim Camden/Spokesman-Review)
OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee answers questions at a press conference on Oct. 1, 2015 (Jim Camden/Spokesman-Review)

OLYMPIA − Let us concede, without objection, this summer was darn hot in Washington state.

The evidence is all around, from scorched earth throughout Eastern and Central Washington to exposed stream beds around the Northwest to the lack of “white stuff” on the Cascades and Olympics. So it is probably not necessary to come up with artificial descriptions of how dry we are.

But that’s what Gov. Jay Inslee did last week, somewhat parenthetically, when asked during a press conference what the future holds for burned out parts of the state, post-wildfire season.

The governor, a strong proponent of doing as much as humanly possible to cut carbon pollution that he and many others say adversely affects the climate, ticked off a series of things connected to the fires and the hot, dry summer:

Loss of cattle grazing areas and timber to fires. Check.

Loss of tourists for the recreation industry to smoky skies. Yep.

Higher bacteria in the shell fish beds from warmer ocean water. Apparently.

High mortality of salmon in the rivers from the heat. OK, but some environmental groups will argue the Snake River dams factor into that.

Then there was this: “The people who filmed the vampire show, ‘Twilight’, the reason they filmed it in Forks is they said they wanted to go to the rainiest city in America. But last week in Forks, they had water restrictions,” he said.

Umm, no. At least for the part about filming ‘Twilight’ in Forks. The town has had water restrictions, and there were even fires burning in the Olympic rain forest this summer, so it is drier than normal there.

The first Twilight movie was filmed primarily in Oregon and British Columbia. A few exteriors were shot in Kalama, Washington, but nothing was actually shot in Forks or La Push, even though the books by Stephenie Meyer are set there. Later movies were shot in B.C. and Europe.

The town of Forks has attempted to turn the books and movies into a tourist industry, but its selection as a setting is purely chance. Any teen girl fan of all things Twilight would know that Meyer said she picked Forks because an atlas listed it as the rainiest place in the United States, and the cloudy, rainy weather meant her vampire characters could avoid the fatal sun’s rays and be out and about more. Meyer, who lives in Arizona, had never actually been to Forks when she wrote the books.

Spin Control is not written by teen Twilight fans. But anyone who sat through debates over extending the state tax preferences for making movies and TV shows in Washington heard the lament that Twilight was not shot in Forks because the state is not competitive in the deals it offers film companies.

Inslee apparently confused the raison d’etre for the book setting with film production.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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