Writers gonna write

Once you're a newspaper person, if you really get into it, it becomes part of your DNA and never leaves your system. This blog is evidence of that. My brief stint as a reporter ended 48 years ago this summer, and yet here I am screwing around writing about local politics when I should be doing other things.

Phil Stanford hasn't had a byline in a newspaper in decades, and I'm sure he's tried to retire fully from writing, but he can't. Today he launced a Substack newsletter – a blog, essentially – and it sounds as though he'll be posting there on a regular basis going forward. This is good news for his fans from his days raking muck and poking fun at the cops and politicians in the respective heydays of the Oregonian and the Portland Tribune.

The first topic for his new enterprise, and you could see this coming, is the still-unsolved murder of Oregon prison chief Michael Francke in 1989. Stanford latched onto that atrocity early on, and he didn't let go. Thirty-some years later, the guy the state locked up for the murder was set free, because, well, he obviously didn't kill Francke. But who did, and why? The state doesn't seem to care; in fact, quite the opposite, they'd prefer that you stop asking. You can't help but wonder why.

Stanford, who's quite the expert on official corruption in Oregon, and in Portland in particular, isn't ever going to stop asking. And let's hope he turns over some other rocks while he's at it. I wish him the best in the new venture.


  1. Thanks for the heads up. Looking forward to his substack columns.

  2. Go to Substack Jack! .. bojak3

  3. With Jack and Phil writing good stuff, it’s a perfect time to dump the “fish wrap”.

  4. The entire sordid Francke affair makes me embarrassed to be a member of the Oregon State Bar - where is the outrage in our profession for how the AG has behaved and continues to behave? I guess few Oregon lawyers care that at least the first part of OSB's mission statement is a lie: "The mission of the Oregon State Bar is to serve justice and the public interest by promoting respect for the rule of law, by improving the quality of legal services, and by increasing access to justice."

  5. Phil is old school, in the best way. I’ve told more than a few aspiring journalists to look at his work. I’ve been in a few of his columns - he was gentle!


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