“Writing the Northwest: The Myth of the ‘Other World’ in Oregon-Set Films”

I’m very proud to have a post up on Michael McGregor’s new website Writing The Northwest. Michael was a tremendous influence on me during my MFA years and I am quite indebted to his guidance. It’s on the topic of the hero’s journey or “monomyth” and how that framework has played out in regards to Oregon cinema.


Kithe: A Journal For New Art and Writing

I am tremendously excited to announce the upcoming launch of the inaugural issue of Kithe Journal! As one of the founding members of the editorial board I have been fortunate to be a part of this magazine from the very beginning. I know the considerable amount of work, effort and love that went into this first issue and I am certain the results are going to be well worth it. Under the stewardship of our publisher Lauren Hobson this journal has the potential to be a vital and enduring venue for new art, writing and poetry for many years to come. I will update soon with more details regarding the launch but, for now, check out the website. We are also actively looking for future submissions here.

Erickson’s Saloon For The Oregon Encyclopedia

Erickson’s Saloon, Portland.
 Courtesy Oregon Hist. Society Research Lib., photo file 1745

This was another honor! Few topics in the history of Portland have been subject to more mythologizing, hagiography and good old-fashioned hyperbole than August Erickson’s Saloon or, the Workingman’s Club. Separating fact from fiction was a difficult task. Most histories of the topic begin and end with Stewart Holbrook’s influential “Elbow Bending For Giants” which effectively defined the legend.

Getting to write this entry for the Oregon Encyclopedia made me feel like I “had arrived” when it comes to Oregon history. It remains a true honor.

The invaluable work of Doug Kenck-Crispin and the rest of the Kick Ass Oregon History crew helped introduce me to the reality behind the myth. In addition, the Oregon Historical Society had a photocopy of one of the only contemporary primary documents celebrating Erickson’s (prior to the publication of Holbrook) that I could find. That document is included below

“Francis J. Murnane`” for the Oregon Encyclopedia

The privilege of “setting the record straight” for an historical figure or event that has been unjustly forgotten is one of the real honors of working with the Oregon Encyclopedia. Francis Murnane is one such figure. A devoted Leftist, anti-racist, trade unionist, historical preservationist and labour leader, Murnane’s impact on the city of Portland is profound. It is my hope that his entry in the Oregon Encyclopedia might help to remind the city of his substantial legacy.

Very special thanks to Michael Munk for his assistance and fact-checking this entry.