The November election, new hydroelectric technology, the future of public broadcasting and Charles Darwin are a few of the topics to be explored in the 17th season of Columbia Forum.

The 2006-07 schedule was unveiled Monday night at the Duncan Law Seafood Consumer Center. The season will kick off in the fall with the historian Stephen Dow Beckham, whose most recent book is "Oregon Indians: Voices from Two Centuries." Beckham will address "the complex and perplexing situation of the Chinook Tribe" while walking listeners through a history of all tribes in Oregon.

Two programs will be devoted to new hydroelectric technology. Trey Taylor, president of Verdant Power, will talk about his company's breakthrough technology. Annette von Jouanne of Oregon State University will close the season in May by describing wave energy research that she is leading.

The eminent pollster Tim Hibbitts will make a return Forum appearance in the wake of the November general election.

The new year will kick off with Steve Bass, recently appointed president and CEO of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Grays River, Wash., writer Robert Michael Pyle's February presentation will be titled "You're a Good Man, Charlie Darwin." Pyle will discuss Darwin's extraordinary life and its misinterpretation.

Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt will talk about why maritime commerce on the Columbia River is improving.

"True Tales from Another Mexico" is the title of Sam Quinones' April presentation. The Los Angeles-based Quinones is one of the leading analysts and chroniclers of what he calls "the Mexican Diaspora."

Cost of a Columbia Forum season subscription is $60 for an individual or $95 for a couple. All events are at the Duncan Law Seafood Consumer Center. Dinner preceding each presentation costs $20. People wanting to subscribe to the Columbia Forum should call Michele Tila at 325-3211 or e-mail (forum@dailyastorian.com)

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