The Perfect Party 2009

Our third annual roundup of the year’s biggest news-makers

November 9, 2009 Published in the December 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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For sheer political fortitude, Portland Mayor Sam Adams might easily have earned this spot. But Silverton-ian Stu Rasmussen one-upped him. Having twice served as mayor in the ’80s and ’90s, Rasmussen tried for a new term, this time in a dress and a pair of size D implants. When some residents complained about his high heels and halter tops, Rasmussen refused to dress more conservatively. Apparently, it was the right move: Silverton elected him by a 13-point margin, making Rasmussen the nation’s first transgender mayor.

After 34 years as the publisher of the Oregonian, Fred Stickel retired in September. During his tenure, Stickel turned the Oregonian into the profit-making crown jewel of the Newhouse family’s newspaper chain, and in his final decade, the O snagged the Pulitzer Prize five times. Sure, the paper got scooped on the scandals surrounding Senator ?Bob Packwood and Governor Neil Goldschmidt. ?But even local liberals nodded respect when Stickel, a lifelong Catholic Republican, lambasted an anti-gay ballot measure in the only front-page editorial of his career. As the O looks to its next, likely much-diminished incarnation, here’s to Fred and the conclusion of an honorable man’s career and the newspaper profession’s greatest era.  

To call Paula Lucas the most caring woman in the world is no brag, just fact. The Portland activist was one of five adults (and the only woman) to earn a 2009 Caring Award, an international prize for public service in the tradition of Mother Teresa. In 1999, Lucas founded the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center, a service devoted to aiding battered expat women. The group receives about 1,000 calls each year and in 2008 helped more than 380 families. Other 2009 Caring Award recipients? Sudanese refugee hero John Dau and General Colin Powell. Not bad company.

After the University of Oregon’s nationally televised opening-season loss to No. 5-ranked Boise State, this Duck lost his cool (and possibly a spot in the NFL) when he coldcocked a helmetless Bronco player. The punch heard round the world earned endless replays on ESPN, clever Oregonian headlines like “Blount Force Drama,” and a season-long suspension for Blount. But after head quacker coach Chip Kelly announced that Blount might be allowed to play again, we thought we’d give him another chance, too. ’Tis the season to forgive, after all. Just keep your hands where we can see ’em, pal.

For the second year running, we welcome our local member of the billionaire boys club to the table. ?Last time, Paulson won his seat with promises ?to turn the Timbers into a Major League Soccer franchise and build the Beavers a new stadium in the Rose Quarter. Despite the City Hall mosh-pit politics that booted the Beavers ?to Beaverton, the Timbers deal seemed sealed. But was it? In October, Paulson tried to play hardball with the Beaverton City Council: pay $59 million for a new baseball stadium, or he’d take his toys—er, Timbers—elsewhere.

Get out of the way, Gus Van Sant. Daniel Baldwin, don’t even bother ringing the doorbell. We’ve saved this seat for 12-year-old Portlander Max Records, who stole the show—and plenty of hearts—in Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Call it good DNA (Records’s mom, Jenny, is a librarian, and his father, Shawn, is a talented photographer), but in the six grueling months Max spent wearing a wolf suit, the prince of wild rumpusing often upstaged Maurice Sendak’s creatures with little more than his eyes.

Kids Table (Keep your hands to yourself!)

SAM ADAMS: Mayor who fell for a teen Beau

BREEDLOVE: Object of mayoral affection?

NIGEL JAQUISS: Mayoral muckraker

JASON WURSTER: The man who recalled and recalled …

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