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UNIVERSAL PICTURES CANCELS PLANS TO FILM ON LOWER ROGUE

 PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by Universal Pictures:
 "Despite the U.S. Forest Service decision Friday approving Universal's permit to film in the area, Universal Pictures is canceling plans to film portions of "The River Wild" on the lower Rogue River. We regret we were forced to make this decision and are now notifying area hotels and other local businesses associated with preparations for filming that production in the Gold Beach area cannot go forward.
 "The irresponsible misrepresentations made in press conferences last Friday by representatives of Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC) and Wilderness Watch demonstrate their apparent willingness to use any means available to disrupt or delay our filming. We simply cannot put our substantial investment in this film at risk to their threats of continued appeals and other interference with our legitimate business activities.
 "Consequently, we began rewriting the screenplay this weekend to avoid filming on the lower Rogue. We still plan to film portions of "The River Wild" on the upper Rogue out of Grants Pass, but filming in that area will be delayed about three weeks. In the meantime, we will use locations in Montana to shoot the revised scenes that will replace those planned for the lower Rogue.
 "We have a strong record of commitment to exacting environmental standards and close community cooperation in all location work. The Regional Forester's decision Friday denied the appeals made by ONRC, Wilderness Watch and the Rogue River Guides Association and found in favor of Universal's plans for filming -- confirming they would cause no harm to the Rogue River environment or the public's use and enjoyment of the river.
 "We began several months ago meeting with appropriate federal, state and local agencies, including the State of Oregon's film and video office. To address possible problems with our plans for filming, Universal participated in dozens of meetings with groups and individuals, including a number of public meetings aimed at identifying citizen concerns. ONRC did not make any comments about our filming plans at any public meetings. Nor did they submit any comments, orally or in writing, during the Forest Service's environmental assessment public comment period. Instead, they waited until the decision to issue a permit was approved and then filed their appeal.
 "At subsequent negotiations with ONRC, Universal made substantial concessions, including:
 -- Limiting the number of people at any one site at the same time.
 -- Limiting helicopter flights by nearly 80 percent from levels
 approved by the Forest Service.
 -- Minimizing delays to river traffic during filming.
 "Ironically, filming on the lower Rogue would have had less impact on the river and the environment than recreation and tourism activities currently taking place. Yet the stubborness and extremism of the ONRC and Wilderness Watch make the atmosphere surrounding the film too contentious and put too much at risk to continue with plans to film on the Lower Rogue. We appreciate the hard work and cooperation of the U.S. Forest Service and numerous state and local agencies as well as local businesses who assisted us in refining our plans. We deeply regret the impact canceling our plans will have on the hundreds of people in Curry County who have been so helpful and supportive."
 -0- 9/7/93
 /CONTACT: Gail Achterman or Pat McCormick or Doug Babb of Conkling Fiskum & McCormick, 503-294-9120, for Universal Pictures/


CO: Universal Pictures ST: Oregon IN: ENT SU:

RB-JH -- SE017 -- 9564 09/07/93 19:44 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 7, 1993
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