This paper reports some of the findings of a broad-based community study of a small Oregon town that depends for its existence on one timber mill--a single plant in a declining industry. The community has been in decline for at least the last decade and prospects for reversal are not good.

Specifically, this paper explores the forces that shape the response of high school students and young adults who have grown up in the community to the decline, using survey, ethnographic, and archival data. Despite a clear understanding of the economic plight of the community, young people are not prepared for the changes they face. The research indicates that this is because of (1) a community culture that is fatalistic and highly individualistic and (2) a school system that has as its primary function the preparation of workers for the wood products industry. In this paper the community and its economy are described. Next, research findings on the culture of the community and on its school system are presented, along with their implications for the socialization of young people. Finally, the findings and implications are discussed in relation to the literature on dying communities.

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