May 10, 2001 11:00 pm

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

JOSEPH Where in the world is Matt Lauer? is asked on NBCs Today Show.

In a takeoff on that, Portlands NBC affiliate, KGW-tv, will ask at 6 a.m. Monday Where in the Northwest is Dave Salesky?

The answer: In Joseph, Oregon, he will respond.

Salesky, the stations morning weather forecaster, became charmed by Joseph when he was first there a couple years ago with Cycle Oregon.

He vowed to return.

Its a beautiful place with warm and friendly people, he said. Theres not a bad egg in the bunch.

So, Salesky came up with an idea to get back up the branch and get paid for it, too. However, hes going to have to work the weekend to pull it off.

Joseph residents will probably see the large KGW satellite truck pull into town Saturday. The crew will be pre-taping feature spots about local bronze foundries, Wallowa Lake and the Mount Howard tramway through Sunday.

We will be looking for neat and unusual stuff, Salesky said.

That footage will be incorporated into the live-remote broadcast from Joseph.

The crew will start its work early Monday to be ready to go live from 6 to 7 a.m.

Saleskys return to Joseph will kick off a week-long odyssey that will take him back across the state to Portland.

Along the way the crew plans to broadcast from various out-of-the-way locations that maybe people have not seen, but should, Salesky said.

After the Northwest News Channel 8 at Sunrise program, at 7 a.m. on NBC is the Today Show.

New York Citys Rockefeller Center, of course, has nothing over greater, downtown, metropolitan Joseph, but the question is will Joseph residents come up with better signs than those seen on the show in Manhattan?