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June 6th, 2001 PHILIP DAWDY | News Stories
 

Secrets & Lies

How well do you really know Portland?

     
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So you think you know what's going on in Portland? Sure, you know that sewage pours into the Willamette River, Elliott Smith plays in town maybe twice a year, and you can get great burritos on Northeast Alberta Street. But what else do you know about the civic vortex? Do you know who secretly pines for a nice, fat job on the public payroll? Do you have any idea why the summer concert season is shaping up to be a snooze-fest instead of an Ozzfest? Can you identify the endangered species of the Rose Festival? Chances are that you have an idea but can't quite nail the answer.

Take our test, then score yourself to see how you rate as a Portlander.
the test

1. What's the most important piece of trivia about the newly crowned Rose Festival Queen, Wesley Grout?

* a) Her hair is dyed

* b) Her grandfather was a GOP big shot

* c) She's been in wave training for over a
year


2. Portlanders pay some of the highest prices in the West for what?

* a) auto insurance

* b) NBA tickets

* c) prostitutes


3. What job does Charlie Hales really want?

* a) Executive director of the Port of
Portland

* b) Mayor of Portland

* c) Mayor of Beaverton


4. Which of the following rates lowest with the public?

* a) Mike Thorne's gubernatorial hopes

* b) Clear-cutting old-growth timber

* c) KPAM-AM 860


5. Who has the messiest hair in town?

* a) John Hickox

* b) Thomas Lauderdale

* c) Gus Van Sant


6. What secret keeps Ron Paul awake at nights?

* a) His real name is Paul Ron

* b) His bid for City Council

* c) His first cooking job was at McDonald's


7. Electronic-music fans may soon lose:

* a) The ability to hear beats

* b) B-Complex

* c) Cheap drinks


8. Who's the biggest enemy of skateboarders?

* a) Bob Whitsitt

* b) Sam Naito

* c) Jim Francesconi


9. Why can't you see Moby, Radiohead and the Dave Matthews Band in Portland this year?

* a) Portland has a law against shaved-
head performers

* b) Have you actually heard the new
Radiohead album?

* c) Among Portland's many virtues, a suit
able outdoor space for concerts is
conspicuously absent


10. What Portland institution closed for good on May 25?

* a) Photo Art Studio

* b) La Sirenita

* c) Portland Art Museum


11. What organization is caught up in an emerging payola scandal?

* a) Wilshire Capital

* b) Tri-Met

* c) KINK-FM 102


12. Why is Scott Thomason's face about to disappear from his company's advertising?

* a) Upcoming plastic surgery will turn him
into a woman

* b) His recent abduction by aliens

* c) Thomason is no longer making an
asset of himself


13. What is the real story with Major League Baseball in Portland?

* a) If citizen activists work hard enough,
it will come

* b) There are legitimate economic
arguments to be made for public
subsidy of professional sports

* c) Paul Allen wants to bail out the
school board


14. Portland women think the next democratic gubernatorial candidate should be:

* a) Bev Stein, former Multnomah County
chair

* b) Rob Marciano, red-hot weatherman for
KATU

* c) Peter DeFazio, 4th District
congressman


15. The biggest problem at PGE Park is:

* a) The high cost of those kosher hot dogs

* b) The near-brawls inside the Beavers
locker room

* c) The near-brawls inside the PFE
boardroom


16. What surgery is performed twice as often in Portland as in other parts of the country?

* a) Back surgery

* b) Mastectomy

* c) Cataract removal


17. Which Rose Festival tradition could be an endangered species?

* a) The Grand Floral Parade

* b) The Blue Angels

* c) The CART race


18. What esteemed local institute of higher education broke a commencement tradition last month?

* a) University of Portland

* b) Lewis & Clark College

* c) Phagan's School of Hair Design


19. Why is Senator Gordon Smith smiling?

* a) He's about to switch parties

* b) The fine against his pea-packing
plant was reduced

* c) Fewer Oregonians dislike him than
before

 

the answers

 

 

the answers 1. b)

Wesley Grout's grandfather was Alan "Punch" Green, who was a former ambassador to Romania under President George Bush the Elder. Green died in March.2. a)

Insurance agents will tell you that a single, mid-30s male with no accidents pays $480 a year in crime-infested Oakland, Calif. In Portland, he pays nearly $800 a year. Reason: Portland has lots of accidents. Of course, so does California, but in the Blackout State many accidents go unreported. In Oregon, fender benders are much more likely to be reported and claims paid, while rates ratchet upward. 3. a)

Despite the city commissioner's obsession over running for mayor of Portland in 2004, Hales has recently thrown his hat in the ring to run the Port. Landing the job would be an uphill slog: Both Bill Wyatt (chief of staff to Gov. John Kitzhaber) and City Commissioner Erik Sten are considered to have a better shot.

Hales told WW that he's been meeting individually with commissioners in search of support and that at least two are smiling upon his plans. To date, however, WW hasn't found them.4. c)

The Portland Tribune isn't exactly chock-full of advertising, but that's to be expected with a startup newspaper. What's more surprising for the Rev. Dr. Robert Pamplin's media empire is that his 13-month-old KPAM (AM 860) has gone over like opera at the Crystal Ballroom. According to the most recent ratings, there are 29 radio stations serving the metro area and KPAM has the fewest listeners. Fewer than KEX, fewer than KOTK, fewer even than KUIK, a tiny Hillsboro talk-radio station. What's particularly humiliating is that KPAM conducted one of the most expensive marketing campaigns in local radio history (remember the bus hyping "Radio Free Oregon"?) and has hired the very high-priced talent of Pete Schulberg and Dwight Jaynes. It also has a 50,000-watt signal, one of the strongest in the area. 5. a)

Last year, John Hickox's Salon and Spa made news when it crashed and burned, leaving 50 employees in the lurch. It has now come to light that Hickox kept $20,000 of employee 401(k) contributions in the business instead of depositing them into retirement accounts, which has triggered an investigation by the federal Department of Labor. Since then, Hickox has lost his Dunthorpe home; he has debts amounting to $800,000 and plans to file for bankruptcy soon, according to Kevin O'Connell, his attorney. As for Hickox, creditors can find him back in action at Hickox Studio (621 SW Morrison St.), which is actually owned by his son, Justin.6. b)

Best known for his once-popular Portland restaurants, Paul turned to politics in 1999, after the expansion of his original location into a small chain landed him in bankruptcy. Now he's Charlie Hales' chief of staff and is floating his name as a City Council candidate for the next open seat. The bearded one will have to work extra-hard to convince financial angels that he's well-seasoned, especially since County Commissioner Serena Cruz is a sure bet to go after same slot.7. b)

In March, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission denied a permanent liquor license to B-Complex, the new electronic-music venue at 320 SE 2nd Ave. Neighbors feared that the club would turn into an outpost for--gasp--rap music. The upshot, should a pending appeal be denied: No liquor license means the club will have to scrap plans for being a grooving supper club for music and art scenesters; instead, it'll have to morph into an all-ages venue, which, financially, is the diciest deal in music. What's more, Robert Schneider, one of the owners, recently ran the Cup of Cheer cafe on Southwest 10th Avenue into the ground, filing for bankruptcy in February and leaving creditors holding the bag for $396,000.8. b)

Remember that skate park that street-cred-seeking commish Charlie Hales promised near the Steel Bridge? Well, a funny thing happened on the way to gnarly half-pipes. Sam Naito, who owns blocks of Old Town properties, and some other neighborhood business types told Hales they'd fight him every step of the way. In fact, Hales staffers say that Naito told them that he'd sue the city if it pressed ahead with its plans. Naito told WW he never made such a threat but said he's "strongly opposed" to the park because it would be a magnet for a criminal element. Just as troubling, he says, is that it would make too much of a racket for residents at the Naito-owned McCormick Pier.9. c)

Now that Portland Meadows is effectively closed down as a concert venue (thanks to Portland City Council), there's no 10,000-plus-seat outdoor venue for bands to play in Portland. As a result, the summer concert scene in Puddletown is as exciting as a garden slug.

Don't even suggest PGE Park as an option: There aren't enough available dates, and word among local promoters is that it's only suitable for vanilla acts such as the Beach Boys.10. a)

It may not be a big deal to you, but misfortune struck the city's photography community two weeks ago. After 76 years in downtown Portland, Photo Art Commercial Studios closed its doors for good. Besides being the city's oldest studio, what made it special for local lensmen was that Ray Atkinson produced many of his famous photographs of Oregon here. But with most photo studios having converted their labs to all-digital processing in recent years, Photo Art lumbered ahead without the resources to convert from its old-school photo processing to the wonders of the computer age. Owner John Patterson did not return WW's calls.11. c)

Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission are investigating corruption in the radio business. And a story in the May 29 Los Angeles Times about the probe names Portland's KINK-FM 102. Twice this year, when KINK added songs by Fiona Apple and Kim Richey to its rotation, the record labels representing those artists gave $1,000 per song to a promoter loosely characterized as a middleman. The promoter gave KINK concert tickets and the promise that unnamed musicians might appear later at a KINK-sponsored show. The same promoter also footed the bill when KINK employees went to a trade convention. KINK officials have said that there was no quid pro quo, but that's not stopping some in the radio business from tweaking the station's "True to the Music" slogan into "True to the Money."12. c)

Have you seen the recent television ad where Scott Thomason screams at his own face? It's a clever way of slowly writing him out of the script. Here's why:

When the Asbury Auto Group purchased a majority interest in the Thomason Auto Group in 1998, it got a lot more--and a lot less--than it bargained for.

It got more problems. Two major investigations of customer complaints by the Oregon attorney general's office since the Asbury takeover have cost Thomason nearly $2 million in settlements and much more in bad publicity. Meanwhile, more than a dozen discrimination claims filed by former employees have been just as costly.

Asbury also got less business. The owlish car dealer built his success on financing car buyers nobody else would touch--and taking some of the credit risk himself. When Asbury stopped this practice, sales plummeted.

Faced with a declining business and an enormous ad budget featuring a man who had become synonymous with lawsuits and investigations, Asbury decided in May to phase out Portland's most famous face. Bill Warner, a vice-president for KVO, which is Thomason's PR agency, confirms that Thomason's ever-present face will soon disappear.13. c)

Portland Public Schools desperately needs money and wants to ditch 12 barely used acres adjacent to the moribund Rose Quarter, an area the City of Portland wants to enliven. It's the very same site that's been identified as the prime spot for a new baseball stadium. Interestingly, the district is about to have the land surveyed as a first step toward putting a price tag on it.

Meanwhile, the school district and Allen's minions have already held preliminary discussions on the parcel, according to district officials. Last month, Mayor Vera Katz forcefully told a Rose Quarter planning group to include provisions for a stadium in the area.

But Allen is still trying to stay in the background. Why? According to baseball insiders, he's waiting for baseball supporters to deliver between $100 million and $200 million of public subsidies for a stadium. Then he'll shovel $25 million or so to the school district, and one of the four failing major-league franchises will appear in Puddletown--which would fill a huge programming hole in Allen's cable television network.14. c)

No doubt you've heard: Bev Stein is running for governor. She left her job as head of Multnomah County in March to carry the Democratic baton for 2002. She's a Portland liberal darling and the anointed candidate for the NPR-listening, Volvo-driving crowd--all of which ought to make her the favorite among local women.

A recently commissioned poll, however, shows Peter DeFazio in a wide lead over all other potential Democratic challengers--including Stein, whom he even eclipsed among Portland women, her core constituency.

This is good news for DeFazio supporters. The passionate lefty hasn't quite decided whether he'll run for governor. A poll like this may make the decision easier: Stay in D.C. and lead a progressive caucus that has about as much impact as a cotton ball dropped out of an airplane, or come home and breathe some fire into Oregon's tired and overpolite political scene. 15. c)

Actually, the concessions are quite reasonably priced and the Beavers are happy campers, despite playing sub-.500 ball. All in all, an evening of A-League soccer or Triple-A baseball at PGE park is a very pleasant experience, just the sort of thing a sports fan needs to wash away the lingering taste of the Trail Blazers. But word has it that there is trouble a-brewing within the high-priced corporate suites of management. Mark Gardiner, the buttoned-down chief financial officer of Portland Family Entertainment, reportedly can't get along with bombastic partner Marshall Glickman, PFE's chairman. Meanwhile, some of the limited partners of PFE--which include Ron Tonkin and Les Schwab--are increasingly frustrated. Slow sales of corporate boxes and sponsorships are part of the reason.16. a)

Back-surgery rates in Portland are double the national average, according to a Milliman & Robertson study commissioned by the InterHospital Physicians Association, a doctor group that contracts with Providence Health Plan. The real question is why. It has nothing to do with weaker Stumptown spines, says Dr. Gary Ericson, the medical director of IPA. Instead, he says, "cultures develop in medicine." In other words, Portland neurosurgeons--or at least some of them--have become more aggressive with the scalpel than their counterparts elsewhere. Lumbar laminectomy, anyone? 17. c)

Although North Portlanders won't be able to pull out their earplugs anytime soon, ticket sales are down for this year's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Championship Auto Racing Teams races--traditionally, one of the best-attended festival events--at Portland International Raceway. And, with all the layoffs at Freightliner, the semi-builder won't be renewing its several-hundred-thousand dollar sponsorship of the 200-mile race next year. For a race that costs $3.8 million to produce, that's a major blow. All the same, festival executive director Dick Clark claims CART will be back for another three years. Right now, he seems more concerned about having the Rose Festival land naming rights to the racetrack, which it can then sell to a corporate sponsor for upwards of $1 million a year.18. b)

On May 6, Lech Walesa gave new meaning to union rights. That's when the former Solidarity leader and president of Poland addressed graduates at Lewis & Clark College. His speech was the usual uplift that notables offer to mortarboard wearers each spring. What was unusual is that the college paid Walesa to speak; typically, graduation speakers only have their travel and accommodations covered.

Walesa got special treatment because "it's not unusual for speakers of his caliber," according Jean Kempe-Ware, a Lewis & Clark spokeswoman (last year, the college's commencement speaker was Ben Canada). Still a recent New York Times article names Lewis & Clark as the only exception to the collegiate tradition of not paying speakers. Kempe-Ware declined to reveal how much Walesa was paid for his 20-minute speech. "It wasn't huge," she says.19. c)

A recent poll found that Oregon's Republican senator has effectively chipped away at his negatives with Oregon voters, especially on the environment. That means Democratic governor John Kitzhaber would have to pull out all the stops to beat him in 2002 and get a huge turnout among 18- to 34-year-old voters, who have been the group least likely to vote in recent election cycles.

 The Scoring

15-19 CORRECT. Shazam! You're obviously hanging with the right people to rack up this many swishes. Aren't you glad you're putting that MAC membership to use?

10-14 CORRECT. Not bad. Hanging around the Bijou Cafe has done wonders for your mind and your belly.

5-9 CORRECT. Hmm...too many nights watching Jeopardy have made you go soft.

0-4 CORRECT. Error 1320: Your browser must be stuck on Jonathan Nicholas' column.

 
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