How do you say Alsea?

How do you say Alsea?

ALSEA, Ore. -- How do you say Alsea?

KVAL News mentioned the town southeast of Philomath -- which shares a name with a river, a waterfall and other geographic features -- on TV on March 3 and pronounced the name "all-sea"

"Everytime it's on the news," an e-mail to the newsroom read, "you guys mispronounce it. It's not ALL-sea. It's AL-sea."

You don't say.

"Like a guy named 'Al' - Alsea!" the viewer wrote. "This is just as annoying as some idiot saying Ory-gone!"

Well doggone, how do you say Alsea?

A broadcast pronounciation guide to Oregon place names indicates "ahl-SEE," like totally sea, not like Mr. Al C.

But this is Oregon, where Coquille can be both Co-kwell or Co-keel at the same time, and where a mountain named for Enoch Stein can be Steens Mountain but a rock pillar named for the same man a few counties over shows up as "Steins" on maps.

Don't even get started on that Baker City versus Baker and back again business ...

So: ALL-sea or AL-sea? KVAL News decided to call some people who should know.

The first call was to the Port of Alsea where we we were quickly told it was AL-SEA. "We say Al-sea. Al-sea. A-L-S-E-A."

The next call was to a business on the Alsea Highway. The woman who answered the phone assured us it is pronounced Al-sea.

"It's AL-SEA," she said. "I've lived here for 50 years and it's AL-SEA. Now you can tell all the folks that that's the way it's pronounced."

Our third call, to another business, brought a different response.

"It's ALL--SEA!" she said.

Come again?


Another call went to the AL-SEA column. "You're talking to somebody with an English accent so I'm probably not right either way," the survey respondent answered. "I use AL-SEA."

Of the 5 pone calls we made, 3 people said it is pronounced AL-SEA, 1 told us it is ALL-SEA, and one answered by hanging up the phone.

So in spite of the pronunciation guide, KVAL News has decided to go with "AL-SEA," mmm'kay?