America in the 1970s: The Pacific Northwest

Day 5 of Documerica Week on In Focus, featuring regions of the U.S. covered by the photographers of the Documerica Project in the early 1970s. In our final photo essay, we visit the northwestern states of Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, during a heightened energy crisis that left gas pumps empty and frustrated businesses and residents. Construction of the massive Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline was about to take place, and Spokane, Washington was preparing for its debut on the world stage, building the site of Expo '74, the first environmentally themed world's fair. The Documerica Project was put together by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1971, with a primary goal of documenting adverse effects of modern life on the environment, but photographers were also encouraged to record the daily life of ordinary people, capturing a broad snapshot of America. Be sure to see the whole series: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

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