EYE ON OREGON

April 27, 2001 12:00 am

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

WALLOWA LAKE It does look like Switzerland, Jamie Wilson said.

Wilson should know.

The TV news reporter, who grew up in Portland and studied abroad, has visited Switzerland, but never Wallowa County, the Little Switzerland of America.

Wilson came to Wallowa Lake to interview Oliver Boev, proprietor of the Wallowa Lake General Store.

The story on Boev will be the last segment of Jamies Jaunts, a feature that will run at 10 p.m. on Mondays in May on Portlands KPDX Fox 49 News.

Wilson, accompanied by a cameraman and an engineer, spent the week traveling across Oregon in a motor home, looking for little-known, out-of-the-way places that might intrigue Oregonians wishing to take an affordable, nearby vacation.

Its Oregons best kept secret, Wilson said about Wallowa County. Like many Oregonians, she and the crew had heard about it, but had never visited.

Wilson said that these are tough economic times for many Oregonians. She wanted to do a piece about economical vacation places for those willing to explore a little.

Wilson and the crew started Monday at a Newberg winery where the motor home door slammed shut on her finger. She could not get the door open to get it out. When the crew retrieved her finger from the metal jaws, her injury looked like it might end the trip, but she persevered and completed the assignment.

The crew spent a night in Shaniko.

In Mitchell, they got into a cage with a brown bear owned by a restaurant owner. Cameraman Brian Watkins, who cannot see to his camera side, did not notice the bear standing above him about to grab his camera. The restaurateur intervened in time, but advised that if the bruin had gotten the camera and packed it into his den, Watkins would not have been able to retrieve it.

If this series works well for this TV ratings season, the crew might return to the east side for more stories in November and February, they said.

They hope so. Theyd like to come back soon.