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Biggest local news stories of 2009

Sam Adams

Here at qPDX we really do like to have fun. That often means that our coverage is entertainment and event heavy. But 2009 saw plenty of news headlines as well. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone what scandal fills the top spot, but let’s run down 4 more items as well before we repeat the obvious.

5 – Media drama, deaths and rebirths

In the beginning of 2009 the implosion of Oregon’s first and only LGBT print publication, Just Out seemed imminent. They had just made an unpopular recommendation to oust the sex scandal embattled Mayor Adams followed by the departure of several important art and editorial staffers over pay disputes. But the publication survived, albeit with a much tinier staff. Despite a so-called dying journalism industry several new local queer publications started up around this time. Indeed, though qPDX has was created in 2005, we, too, had to reinvent ourselves following my layoff from OregonLive.com. And I think independence suits us.

4 – The death of Bonnie Tinker

Bonnie Tinker was a beloved activist, director of Love Makes a Family and a member of Seriously P.O.’d Grannies. There was incredible sadness when she died in a bicycle accident on the Virginia Tech University campus. The 61-year-old lesbian and mother of 3 will forever be remembered and someone who lived her ideals to the very end.

3 – Brutal Hate Crime in Seaside Oregon

When 2 young men were brutally beaten during spring break at the Oregon coast many of us who felt so safe and complacent were rattled to the core. Rural and urban communities around the state rallied together to raise funds for the victim’s medical bills and denounce the attack. It was a sad reminder that we can never stop being vigilant.

2 – Violence, hate crimes and a Portland Queer Town Hall

Heather, a victim of the Blow Pony attacks during Pride

We were all shaken up by the beating in Seaside, but when hate crimes came right into the heart of Portland, and indeed during Pride weekend in front of a popular queer club night Blow Pony, we were truly floored. Allegations that local police only made it worse lead to heated discussions, anger, tension and eventually a Queer Town Hall that specifically excluded police and city leaders.

1 – Newly elected Mayor Sam Adams becomes embroiled in an underage sex scandal with Beau Breedlove

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the biggest gay news Portland saw in 2009 was our internationally watched sex scandal with new elected mayor, Sam Adams. There was plenty of backlash, calls for the mayor to step down, infighting and even some civilized discussion throughout the ordeal concerning Adams and his young lover Beau Breedlove which you can pour over in detail. But personally, I’m done hearing about it. Goodbye 2009. May you rest in peace.


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