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Willamette Week

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Willamette Week (WW) is an alternative weekly newspaper published in Portland, Oregon. It features reports on local news, politics, and culture. Its weekly circulation is 89,807.[1] The paper is the only alternative periodical to have one of its reporters win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. Its editorial bias is strongly to the left of center.

Notable stories

Notable stories first reported by WW include:

  • Making public Neil Goldschmidt's long-concealed statutory rape of a fourteen-year-old girl. Goldschmidt, a former Governor of Oregon, was mayor of Portland at the time of the abuse. After the Willamette Week contacted him for comments on their impending story, Goldschmidt confessed to the relationship in an interview published in the Oregonian before the Week story was set to print. However, the alternative weekly first broke the story on its website.[2] Nigel Jaquiss won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for his work on the story. It was only the fifth time in the prize's 88-year history that a Pulitzer was awarded to a weekly paper, the only time the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting has been awarded to a weekly and the first time it was awarded to a paper that first broke the story on-line.
  • Revealing that Lewis & Clark College president Michael Mooney had made an unauthorized loan to an energy startup on which the company had defaulted.[3] The story lead to Mooney's eventual resignation.
  • Sifting through the trash of the Portland's mayor, police chief, and the district attorney for Multnomah County, Oregon, after prosecutors argued that refuse was not protected by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[4]
  • In 1984, WW published a story that revealed a number of falsehoods in the stated biography of Pat Gillis, a Portland legislator who had been considered by many to be the future of the Republican Party. Gillis was recalled from office.
  • In 1986, WW "outing|outs" Multnomah County Commissioner Gordon Shadburne, a gay-baiting conservative Christian. After WW's story exposes his coke-fueled gay orgies, he resigns.
  • A 1987 article by Mark Zusman and Kay Durham about homeless activist Michael Stoops, and founder of the Baloney Joe's homeless shelter. Their story charged Stoops with extorting sex from homeless male teenagers in return for shelter and food. While a subsequent investigation confirmed the article's charges (including evidence that a number of boys had contracted gonorrhea of the throat), Stoops was fired and Baloney Joe's eventually closed. Nevertheless, the article resulted in a backlash at Willamette Week and a significant loss of advertising revenue.[5]
  • In 1990, reporter Jim Redden (now with the Portland Tribune) breaks a story alleging that Larry Hurwitz, the owner of Starry Night Nightclub (now the Roseland), was responsible for the disappearance of Tim Moreau, an employee. Hurwitz sues WW for libel. The case is thrown out. Redden leaves the Willamette Week and founds PDXS, a bi-weekly tabloid that sustains a heavy focus on the Hurwitz case. Following the confession of George Castagnola, who allegedly aided Hurwitz in the murder, Hurwitz plead no contest to the murder.[6]
  • In 1998, reporter Maureen O'Hagan (who later goes to the Washington Post and becomes a Pulitzer finalist at the Seattle Times) breaks the story of two Grant high school kids, one who was the student body president and the other a track star and homecoming prince, who were responsible for 20 armed robberies. Both boys go to prison.
  • A 2004 exposé on Mary Manin Morrissey and her Living Enrichment Center.


Notable features of Willamette Week include:

  • The "Rogue of the Week," in which a recent action by a local person or organization is criticized.
  • "Winners and losers," in which the newspaper gives a brief recap of the major news events of the week, from the perspective of who benefited and who did not.
  • "Callahan," the long-standing comic by the quadriplegic cartoonist, John Callahan.


  • In recent years, Publisher Richard Meeker (who authored a book about the founder of the Newhouse media empire) has grown the paper's charitable efforts. In 2006, it raised and donated almost $250,000 to Portland area non-profits.
  • WW is also the producer of MusicFest Northwest, a three-day music festival that has become a regional draw.
  • WW is the co-founder of Candidates Gone Wild (with the Bus Project), a series of political debates/performance art.
  • In 2004, WW publishes "Finder," its first annual guide to the city.
  • WW alumni include Phil Keisling former secretary of state) Mark Christensen, Larry Colton, Katherine Dunn, Janet Weiss(Sleater-Kinney), Maureen O'Hagan, Chris Lydgate, Susan Orlean, Carlton Smith, Brent Walth, Alan Webber, G.Pascal Zachary, Steffen Silvis.
  • Meeker and Zusman also publish a weekly newspaper in Santa Fe, New Mexico called The Santa Fe Reporter.

External links

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