Phil Stanford

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Phil Stanford
Phil Stanford.jpg
Stanford in 2019
Occupation(s)Journalist and Author

Phil Stanford is an American journalist and author based in Oregon. He is best known for his work on the 1989 murder of Oregon Department of Corrections director Michael Francke and his efforts to prove the innocence of Frank Gable, who was wrongfully convicted of the crime.[1] His 1994 Oregonian series on the “Happy Face Killer” case resulted in two innocent people being released from prison.[2]

He is the author of Portland Confidential and three other books, as well as the lead writer and executive producer of the hit podcast series "Murder in Oregon: Who Killed Michael Francke?"[3]


The Oregonian[edit]

From 1987 to 1994, Stanford wrote a column for the Oregonian which covered crime and local politics. Despite the popularity of the column and the success of the "Happy Face Killer" series, disagreements with management over his coverage of the Francke murder led Stanford to quit the paper in 1994.[1] Stanford continued to write about the Francke case and police corruption in his column for the Portland Tribune, which ran from 2001 to 2008. Before moving to Oregon, Stanford worked as a magazine writer and editor in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. He has written for a number of publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Washingtonian, Parade, Columbia Journalism Review, and Rolling Stone.


Stanford's first book, Portland Confidential, which won the Independent Publisher's “Best True Crime Award” for 2005,[4] was described by one reviewer as “an entertaining trip back to a film noir incarnation of the Rose City”.[5]  The Peyton-Allan Files, about the 1960 lovers’ lane slaying of two Portland teenagers, purports to solve the most sensational murder in Portland history.[6] White House Call Girl, Stanford's only departure from Portland subject matter, presents a different perspective on the infamous 1972 Watergate break-in.[7] His book Rose City Vice deals with a 1970s vice cop scandal and subsequent official cover-up.[8] Other publications include a collection of his columns from the Oregonian entitled Do You Know How Much a Light Year Is? [9] and a graphic novel City of Roses with artist Patric Reynolds.[10]


Stanford worked with iHeartRadio podcasts to produce the 12 part series "Murder in Oregon: Who Killed Michael Francke?,"[11] which climbed to #4 on the Amazon podcast charts.[12]



  • Do You Know How Much a Light Year Is? Touchstone Press (1991).
  • Portland Confidential: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Rose City. Westwinds (2004).
  • The Peyton-Allan Files. Ptown Books (2010).
  • White House Call Girl. Port Townsend, Wash.: Feral House (2013).
  • City of Roses: Crime Does Not Pay, with Patric Reynolds. Milwaukee, Ore.: Dark Horse Comics (2014).
  • Rose City Vice: Portland in the '70s—Dirty Cops and Dirty Robbers. Port Townsend, Wash.: Feral House (2017).



  1. ^ a b Nick Budnick (November 24, 2004). "The Murder That Would Not Die". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on August 4, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  2. ^ Phil Stanford, “Greetings From The Happy Face Killer”. The Oregonian (May 22–26, 1994).
  3. ^ Redden, Jim (2019-12-04). "Sources: As nation tunes in, Francke podcast ratings climb". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  4. ^ "Independent Publisher: THE Voice of the Independent Publishing Industry". Independent Publisher. Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  5. ^ Dundas, Zach (February 1, 2005). "Poet for the People-Portland Confidential". Willamette Week. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Stanford, Phil (2010). The Peyton-Allan Files. Portland, Oregon: Ptown Books. ISBN 9780982895801.
  7. ^ Stanford, Phil (2013). White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story. Port Townsend, Washington: Feral House. ISBN 9781936239900.
  8. ^ Stanford, Phil (2017-05-16). Rose City Vice: Portland in the '70s—dirty cops and dirty robbers. Port Townsend, Washington. ISBN 978-1627310444. OCLC 959035578.
  9. ^ Stanford, Phil. (1991). Do you know how much a light year is ... and other Columns From the Oregonian. Beaverton, Oregon: Touchstone Press. ISBN 091151886X. OCLC 25507143.
  10. ^ Stanford, Phil. City of Roses. Volume 1. Reynolds, Patric,, Piekos, Nate,, Blambot! (Firm) (First ed.). Milwaukie, Oregon. ISBN 9781616553043. OCLC 884305092.
  11. ^ "Murder in Oregon: iHeartRadio". Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  12. ^ Redden, Jim (2019-12-04). "Sources: As nation tunes in, Francke podcast ratings climb". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2020-03-10.

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