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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 15, 2008 5:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was Did they get the right guy?. The next post in this blog is It's Buck-a-Hit Eve. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, December 15, 2008

Trib implosion continues

As we've expected for a while now, Phil Stanford has left the building, along with the paper’s top designer and copy editor, Denise Szott. And with that, the great hope that once was the Trib has officially come to an end. Ah, well. It was a great gift to Portland while it lasted.

Of course, here's hoping that the stripped-down version of the organization limps along for a long time. It's better than nothing.

Comments (15)

That is a real shame.

In its hey day, the Trib dug deep into stories the other papers didn't want to dig into, yet didn't necessarily involve backroom BJs.

Phil Stanford is a treasure. I really liked his punchy prose and his ability to distill complex issues into soundbites digestible to the masses like me.

Tribune management couldn't find snow in a blizzard.

They played it safe and hedged their bets from Day One, rather than dare to be exciting. They acted like the paper was required reading, and it wasn't. The Trib will always have a place in my heart, but the frustration of the untapped potential made me grouchy for most of my 150-plus columns there. We needed an old-fashioned newspaper war and we got a bunch of bosses whose motto could have been, "Dare to Be Fluffy." Rather than go after the competition, even when the WW was taking shots at us, the Trib bosses took the staid, dignified route. We were simply too classy to engage in such skirmishes with the competition. Ridiculous. Didn't they see, "Front Page"? What would have been wrong with some excitement? The executives acted like they were positioning themselves for their post-Trib careers, rather than taking on the traditional role of the 4th Estate. Their mantra seemed to be, "Play it safe. The organization you criticize today, may be hiring you tomorrow."

Here's my personal favorite example of the insanity: We were supposed to be competing with the Oregonian, right? Well, I would take lines that they would not let me print in my Tribune column and sell them to Leno. Then they would be reprinted in the Sunday Oregonian.
So I was supposed to compete with the Oregonian and my lines were in it - not in my own column. That is the definition of nuts.

Pamplin did a great thing here - he could have blown the millions many different ways but he chose to spend them here in this city. Unfortunately his management team made the Detroit Lions look fierce.

For Phil Stanford, it's just another chapter in a very interesting life. The Miami years alone would make a great movie. It's a tough time to lose a job but Phil will bounce back. Let's put it this way: I like his chances far more than the Tribune's.

I am sad. Phil is a real treasure of this town and he was instrumental in getting the word out first about a lot of bad stuff, including the Home Dept fiasco a few years back.
Thanks, Phil. You will be missed by many of us, but maybe not for there a blog in your future?
I am beginning to really believe that in the not too distant future newpapers will only be on the Antiques Road Show.

"Phil Stanford has left ..., the great hope that once was the Trib has officially come to an end."

Perhaps, 'has stupidly come to an end' is more precise without Stanford. The Trib officially ended in a face-first nosedive falling below the interest-radar of me and most others, the day Bill McDonald stopped working there.

Thanks a lot - losing that gig was a pain but I never stopped writing for other clients so it didn't finish me off. I'm confident Phil will be okay. I told him, "Welcome to the Portland Tribune Alumni Association."
For me the definitive bad-ass thing that Phil Stanford did was land on the cover of the Willamette Week in an oil painting commissioned by them just for that issue.
If you are writing for one media outlet and another is having paintings made of you to put on the cover of their publication, you have crossed into legend.
The Tribune without Phil Stanford? Good luck.

I looked forward to reading Bill McDonald's column and was pissed by the same ol' same ol', not knowing it was not Bill's fault. No explanations coming forth, per norm for Portland. The same is true of Phil Stanford. I became wary when nothing new was the norm for Phil's column, same that had happened to Bill.
I had so hoped the Trib would be what the Big O isn't. WW has become a Zero, also.
Another city without a real sad.

Kiss that rag goodbye. Phil was the only reason I looked forward to grabbing one each Thursday...and checking on line as well.
I give that s*** paper 6 more months...maybe.

One of my favorite Trib stories was the time I said in exasperation, "What do you want me to cover next? Juggling?" I was only kidding, but next thing I knew I was on my way to Reed College to cover a juggling class. They even threw in a photographer on that one.
Look, I'm not bitter about my experience there. They gave me a real break hiring me so you have to factor that in. My frustration was with the potential. I got the job by writing Pamplin directly and he wrote back. I thought that was a classy move and though he lives in a different world than most, I always felt like I owed him personally for the break and that we should make his investment of many millions pay off. I felt he was less than impressed with the Oregonian so why not attack them? Why not mix it up a little?

Instead, I encountered a bunch of bosses who were on a hopeless ego trip - who would run off for to a leadership retreat but who wouldn't really lead. The first meeting I attended was at a swanky law firm, and they were drinking imported beer and talking about who would play them when the movie about the Trib came out. Really.

After 9/11, I felt they had an opportunity in me. I mean yes, I was a national comedy writer but I also had been born in the Middle East so I was unusually informed about the places everyone was talking about. They did let me write a little on the subject but then came the War in Iraq.
The person who told me it was over said that I had "pulled the tiger's tail a little too hard on Iraq." With the invasion a few weeks off, I warned of unintended consequences and suggested President Bush didn't know what he was doing because he had used his connections to avoid Vietnam.
That did not go over well, but I always felt like I had kept the faith. I mean Pamplin should be proud that at a time when the NYT, the Oregonian, and most other papers were selling the White House line, the Tribune actually had some independent analysis about Iraq. I was told that is why I was fired, and I can live with that. Hell, I'm proud of it. They'd probably deny it went down that way, but that's why I kept the emails.

Speaking of unintended consequences, I wonder if they factored in what happens when the last friend you have at a place gets fired? Sort of frees you up to tell the real story. We can only hope that Phil decides to share what he knows about all things Portland now that he's unencumbered by the fluff machine. That would really be interesting.


I enjoy your Middle East posts on PortlandFreelancer. They are real breath of fresh air. (I use present tense, because they are still available for all to read.)

I have to admit that I thought you were pulling our legs about the juggling piece in the Trib. But there it is ...

But look at the bright side. If the Tribune goes under, then maybe Jim Reddin will revive PDXS. *ducks and runs*

Texas: You spell about as well as Jim Redden does.

Sorry about that, Talea: working for him fried large expanses of my brain that I'll never get back. If the Tribune survives much longer, I'm going to buy him an "LEE HARVEY OSWALD ACTED ALONE" T-shirt, just to watch his head explode. Turnabout, after all, is fair play.

Texas, I don't get it. Jim's work at PDXS over a decade or so led, by a more or less straight line, to the arrest and conviction of Larry Hurwitz, who had murdered a college student in cold blood. It also featured an excellent boxing column by Katherine Dunn.

It wasn't exactly a general interest paper, but it never pretended to be. If I had to pick a favorite Portland publication, PDXS would likely top the list.

Bill, I agree with you about the missed potential of the Portland Tribune. (You probably don't remember, but I was at that law firm meeting too. Those were some pretty heady days.)

I consider Phil a friend, and have enjoyed his column and his book. But of all the various personnel changes at the Trib, it's hard for me to see his departure as the thing that spells doom for the paper.

The Tribune still occasionally comes out with a story that exposes a different view than you see from our other news outlets. The existence of an independent mainstream paper -- no matter how bare-bones -- should not be underestimated. Not many cities have a truly independent paper at all.

Let's not forget that at least the Trib archives all its news stories online -- providing a fairly comprehensive overview of Portland news in the 2000s that the "paper of record" in this town can't be bothered with.

Yesterday, a designer who has been doing a lot of the copy editing recently also was laid off, as was a features editor and a features writer.

With that, the Trib officially has no copy desk.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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