Astoria was a home to the Goonies even before the movie was filmed. Oregon's greatest achievement in beach towns is—as the locals will tell you—a "quaint drinking village with a fishing problem," full of working-class seafarers, third-generation shopkeepers and Portland runaways.
It ain't just the Goonies house and the old Clatsop County jail. It is a forever-home for misfits with heart, a town of dive bars and breweries, ramshackle 1920s mansions with boarded-up siding, and a standalone J.C. Penney that resolutely refuses to say die. Here is a guide to the places in Astoria where The Goonies was filmed—and the places where the Goonie spirit lives on.
Mikey Walsh's House
368 38th St., Astoria.
Sandi Preston, from her home in California, prayed for the Goonies house. She loved The Goonies so much she prayed for four years after visiting Astoria the first time, until the house inhabited by One-Eyed-Willie true-believer Mikey Walsh finally came up for sale.
"I asked God if he would give me the Goonie house," Preston told The Washington Post in 2010,"and he did." It is still a site of pilgrimage for thousands each year. To get there, you follow the Goonies parking arrows away from the house to the mildly disheveled John Jacob Astor Elementary on 38th Street—everything in Goonieville is disheveled, because the beach air does grim work—and then walk three blocks uphill to a sign that says "Private Drive: Goonies on Foot Welcomed."
It is the second such sign: The first was stolen almost immediately after being planted, and so the current version is plunged into heavy concrete. On warm days, the sidewalks up and down 38th Street fill with the faithful, gawking at a wealth of no-trespassing signs, and signs asking visitors that they please, dear Lord, not block the driveway. An older man walks out to fetch his newspaper and eyes a family of six pushing a stroller uphill. "Goonies, Goonies, Goonies, Goonies!" he exclaims, and shuts his front door tight.
Atop the private drive, the Preston-Walsh house sports two flags—one American, one Israeli—and a bright yellow Porsche Boxster tagged with a "NOBAMA" sticker.
On our visit, Preston's handlebar-mustached husband, John, was replacing the front steps. "For the upcoming 30th anniversary tours?" we asked. "I'm building steps," he said gruffly, "because we need steps."
The Goondocks house, including the attic, will be open for public tours on The Goonies 30th anniversary weekend, June 5-7. You will be welcomed on foot, but not with your shoes on.
344 38th St., Astoria.
Data's filmic home is owned by the same family, the Fullers, who once also owned Mikey's house next door. The massive house is still blue as a Windows homescreen, still technically within zipline distance of Mikey's, and still owned by the Fuller family—split now between heirs Lloyd and Catherine.
Oregon Film Museum at the Clatsop County Jail
732 Duane St., Astoria, 325-2203, oregonfilmmuseum.org.
Every now and then, somebody shows up at the Oregon Film Museum and sadly asks to bail out his cousin. It used to be the jail, and people who've been locked up have very long memories. ("I've been in there," says Rhonda, the bartender from Labor Temple bar down the street. "I'm not proud of it.") It was also the jail the Fratelli brothers broke out of, in the whiz-bang car-chase action sequence that kicks off The Goonies. The real jail is now across the street.
As a museum, it's only 5 years old—created just in time for Astoria's 25th anniversary Gooniescelebration. Within, there are jail cells, a video about Kindergarten Cop, and a series of scenes you can re-create while filming yourself with digital cameras—the car scene from The Goonies, something-something Free Willy, and something-something from Cthulhu. It is a museum based less on artifacts, and more on nostalgia itself.
Flavel House Museum
441 8th St., 325-2203, Astoria, cumtux.org.
In the film, Mikey's dad is assistant curator at an unnamed museum. This, as it turns out, is the actual Flavel House Museum, named after heroic sandbar pilot Capt. George Flavel, who was hailed by newspapers in the late 19th century as a "grave, saturnine, sphinx; sour, dour, cold and crabbed, turning to gold all he touched without a friend and suspicious of all."
He was also one of Astoria's first millionaires. He married his 14-year-old sweetheart at the age of 30—which was considered normal—but scandalized the township by installing the region's first indoor toilet. Today, the home is beautiful but oddly haunted, arranged as if the family had only just now escaped in a hurry, leaving children's books strewn about the bed, the closet door ajar, and a bird carefully preserved under glass.
Meanwhile, the family's descendants all moved into a different Flavel house that was finally auctioned off last December. Derelict and in ruin, it had stood vacant for the 24 years since owner "Hatchet" Harry Flavel stabbed a man in the abdomen and fled the state. He was finally arrested, months later in Pennsylvania, after stealing towels from a motel.
Lower Columbia Bowl
826 Marine Drive, Astoria, 325-3321, lcbowl.com.
The midcentury Lower Columbia Bowl, which now offers free soda refills to Oregon Lottery players, is the bowling alley where Chunk witnessed "the most amazing thing I ever saw," out the window—the prison-break car chase by the Fratelli brothers that begins the movie.
The window view contains a McDonald's sign not visible onscreen: This was covered up by the pizza slice Chunk smeared against the window. "It took six or seven tries for him to get it right," says one of the bowling alley's longtime employees, Cindy McEwan. "By the end, he was crying. He couldn't get the pizza in the right spot to block the sign."
The alley now has a little shrine where Chunk once stood—although they've actually raised the floor three feet—with a thick guest book signed by hundreds from around the country and world, from England to Australia to Niger.
"The farthest away anybody ever came from was Tibet," says McEwan. "He came in with an interpreter." On The Goonies' 25th anniversary in 2010, the manager decided to make strawberry milkshakes, just like the one Chunk crushed against the window next to the piece of pizza. "I told him that'd be a mistake," McEwan says. "They'll try to re-enact it. And what do you know? The first people that order a milkshake, that's what they wanted to do." The bowling alley will not offer strawberry milkshakes on the upcoming 30th anniversary.
East End Mooring Basin
Dock 36, Astoria.
The docks. This is where the Fratelli brothers conclude the Astoria portion of their car chase (which continues, magically, on Cannon Beach), and it is where Stef dunked herself into a crab barrel. But this year, most of the fishing at these docks is conducted by a horde of 2,300 sea lions and harbor seals—10 times as many as there were five years ago—a layer of braying cellulite coating every available dock surface. Their maddening racket can be heard all the way up the cliffs at the Goonies house.
Around Astoria, rumors abound of sea lion attacks. One guy will tell you they ate the fish right off his friend's hook. The next says they ate a shih tzu off a leash.
Astorians have tested electric mats to piss off the sea lions, and local police brought in a 16-foot fiberglass orca, which they towed around by boat in futile hopes of scaring them. Lately, they've been scaring sea lions with beach balls.
On a more sinister note, at least ten sea lions have been shot or killed.
"No one's happy," says James, a bartender at Rogue ale house along the waterfront. "The fisherman aren't happy. The cruise ships aren't happy. The Native Americans aren't happy. They're eating all the fish."
Astoria Coffee Co.
304 37th St., Astoria, 325-7768.
The Stop-n-Snack mini-mart, featured briefly in The Goonies' bike-ride and car-chase scenes (and in a much longer outtake involving a brawl), is now a coffee roastery with medium roasts, biscotti, and a side business in ceramic ware.
"From the 1890s to the 1990s, this was a little grocery store," says co-owner and roaster Rick Murray, who has the sun-tightened skin and rough chin beard of a fisherman. "And then the big grocery stores came and did what big grocery stores do to little grocery stores. Good for me, I guess. Now I live upstairs and roast downstairs."
Before starting his roastery, Murray worked at Starbucks for 10 years. "But they forgot everything I taught them," he says.
John Warren Field
Exchange Street between 18th and 20th streets, Astoria.
The field where Andy leads a cheerleading squad in the opening credits—thus establishing her 1980s top-of-the-pecking-order status—had been home to the Astoria High Fishermen since 1928, ground for the Fishermen's epic rivalry against the cross-town Knappa Loggers.
But as of September 2014, the Warren grounds are fallow, future home of an Oregon Health & Science University hospital expansion. As part of a deal that Astoria football coach Howard Rub hailed as a "tremendous partnership," the city built the Fishermen a new artificial-turf field as a cap for an old landfill.
Ecola State Park and Haystack Rock
Some of the Goonies' most iconic images—Brand's girlie-bike ride down the forested hills of Ecola State Park, the rough-and-tumble Lighthouse Lounge gang hideout, and the mighty Haystack Rock—all come from Cannon Beach, an hour south of Astoria.
The Lighthouse Lounge was constructed only for the movie, and torn down thereafter; a picnic shelter stands on the grass near its former site, as a pale echo.
At Haystack Rock, meanwhile, tragedy is striking. The starfish in its famed tide pools have been dying of a mysterious disease, dissolving to white mush. Almost 90 percent are gone since last year, giving Haystack the faint aspect of a gravestone.
But it is still beautiful at twilight, and tourist shops nearby sell Goonies-themed medallions whose holes you can line up at sunset with the "needles," the name given to the many smaller rocks that stutter along Haystack's edge.
The Columbian Theater 1114 Marine Drive, Astoria, 325-2233, columbianvoodoo.com.
The worst thing Chunk ever did: "I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa! And then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life."
This could have only happened here, in this 90-year-old balconied theater with an adjunct live-music lounge called the Voodoo. Musical guests of the past two months included Corrina Repp, Stephen Malkmus, and the Minders.
For $17, the building's brunch-happy Columbian Cafe will cure the hangover Voodoo caused with the breakfast-hash equivalent of omakase at a sushi bar—chef's choice, no substitutions. Mine involved mushrooms, sausage, bok choy, walnut pesto, much egg, much spice and no carbs whatsoever.
Beer Canneries of Astoria
When filming began on The Goonies in 1984, Astoria's fishing economy was in crisis—and houses were indeed getting sold back to the banks. The old canneries, including the 1899-founded Bumble Bee cannery, were closing, and food stamps had become such a currency they were reportedly accepted as beer money at Astoria's Portway Tavern on West Marine Drive.
Once home to the American Can Company, Astoria Warehousing now hauls in canned salmon from Alaska by truck. The last tuna cannery in Astoria is Josephson's Smokehouse, which smokes and cans albacore as a craft product, in the back of their storefront. But the biggest industry in Astoria now is not fishing but tourism, and so alongside a seemingly abandoned cannery museum, the Bumble Bee cannery has found new life as a huge, bustling Rogue Ales Public House serving up Astoria-exclusive sour and barrel-aged beers.
The cannery at Cannery Pier is now home to Buoy Beer, which already hosts a tap at seemingly every bar in Astoria. But by far the biggest cannery in Astoria is Fort George Brewery, now the 12th-largest craft brewer in Oregon.
Pro tip: If you don't plan to eat, skip the spacious brewpub in favor of the much more capacious beer list at Fort George's tiny brewery tasting room.
Bars of the Workers
Labor Temple, 934 Duane St., Astoria, 325-0801, labortemple.com; Mary Todd's Workers Bar & Grill,281 W Marine Drive, 338-7291.
Forever on the Goondocks, Astoria's oldest bars are dedicated wholeheartedly to the workers, from fisherman's bar the Portway—densely hung with life preservers signed in Sharpie by all the old regulars—to Mary Todd's Workers Bar & Grill, where on our last visit a man loudly insisted into his phone that he "wasn't going to haul my ass all the way out there for 38 salmon."
Mary Todd's has cheap prime rib on Fridays, bras hanging from ceiling fans, and a $9 drink called the Yucca that locals will either recommend or warn you to avoid for exactly the same reason: The drink contains about a fifth of a bottle of HRD vodka. By the time you leave, you'll know everyone in the bar.
Labor Temple, a bar and diner located in an old union hall, is no longer a union shop as of four years ago—although it is apparently a popular target of local labor organizers.
The diner recently stopped its tradition of midnight breakfast (served till 2 pm) because it attracted town drunks to the bar. "I had a little squirt gun," says longtime bartender Rhonda, "and I'd squirt people if they were getting out of line. I probably 86'd half the people in town."