Willamette Week

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Willamette Week
Type Alternative weekly
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) City of Roses Newspapers
Publisher Mark Zusman (2015–);
Richard Meeker (1984–2015)
Editor Mark Zusman
Founded November 1974
Headquarters 2220 NW Quimby St.
Portland, OR 97210
 United States
Circulation 89,807[1]
Website wweek.com

Willamette Week (WW) is an alternative weekly newspaper and a website published in Portland, Oregon, United States, since 1974. It features reports on local news, politics, sports, business and culture.

Willamette Week is the only weekly newspaper to have one of its reporters, Nigel Jaquiss, win a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.[2] It was the first newspaper to win a Pulitzer for a story that it first published online. As of 2007, WW had more 18- to 34-year-old Portland-area readers than the weekly editions of The Oregonian and its weekly arts and entertainment publication, "A&E."[3]


Early history[edit]

Willamette Week was founded in 1974 by Ronald A. Buel, who served as its first publisher.[4] It was later owned by the Eugene Register-Guard, which sold it in the fall of 1983 to Richard H. Meeker and Mark Zusman,[5] who took the positions of publisher and editor, respectively. Meeker had been one of the paper's first reporters, starting in 1974, and Zusman had joined the paper as a business writer in 1982.[4] Meeker and Zusman formed City of Roses Newspaper Company to publish WW and a sister publication, Fresh Weekly, a free guide to local arts and entertainment. WW had a paid circulation at that time, with about 12,000 subscribers.[5] A major change was made in January 1984, when Fresh Weekly was merged into WW, the paper's print run was increased to 50,000 and paid circulation was discontinued, with WW thereafter being distributed free.[5]


In June 2015, Richard Meeker stepped down as Willamette Week‍ '​s publisher, after more than 31 years in the position.[6][7] Editor Mark Zusman succeeded him as publisher, while also retaining the editorship.[7][8] Meeker planned to continue working for the City of Roses Newspaper Company, WW's owner.[6][8]


Prior to the death, in 2010, of cartoonist John Callahan, the paper published his long-standing comic, "Callahan."


Since 1984, the paper has been free; it generates over 80% of its revenue through display advertising.[3] For 2007, its revenue is expected to be about $6.25 million, a four or five percent increase over 2006, a growth that occurred in spite of a significant decline in classified advertising that the publisher attributes to competition from Craigslist.[3] Its pre-tax profit is around 5%, a third to a half of what large mass-media companies require.[3]


A number of notable journalists, writers and artists have worked at Willamette Week over the past three decades, including:

Notable stories[edit]

Notable stories first reported by WW include:

  • In 2009, reporting that then-City Commissioner Sam Adams engaged in a sexual relationship with a legislative intern, Beau Breedlove. Rumors of a relationship between the two men had circulated during Adams' campaign for mayor, but Adams denied any sexual relationship. Only after Willamette Week contacted Adams for comment on an upcoming story did he admit publicly that there had been a sexual relationship. However, he stipulated that there had been no relationship between them until after Breedlove turned 18. Adams said he'd previously lied about the relationship in order to avoid feeding negative stereotypes of gay men as somehow predatory.[10]
  • In 2008, the paper revealed[11] that Gordon Smith, the junior United States Senator and one of the wealthiest men serving in Congress, employed undocumented workers at his frozen-foods processing operation in Eastern Oregon. Smith, a Republican, had been a fierce opponent of illegal immigration and had voted against an amnesty bill. Two months later, Smith lost a re-election bid, credited in part to Willamette Week's story.
  • Making public Neil Goldschmidt's long-concealed sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl. Goldschmidt, a former Oregon governor, was mayor of Portland at the time of the abuse. After Willamette Week contacted him for comments regarding its upcoming story about that alleged misconduct, Goldschmidt went ahead and confessed to the relationship in an interview published in The Oregonian. That interview ran prior to Willamette Week‍ '​s report appearing in print, and was intended to preempt the story's publication.[12] However, the alternative weekly did finally get the scoop, breaking the Goldschmidt story first on its website.[13] Nigel Jaquiss won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for his work on that story.
  • In 2014 and 2015, WW published a series of stories about then Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes and allegations of pay for play. The Governor resigned from office in February 2015 because of the news reports. A federal investigation is underway.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Newsweekly Directory - Willamette Week". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved February 23, 2007. 
  2. ^ "The 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winners - Investigative Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. 2005. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "At Age 33, 'Willamette Week' Has Best Year Ever For Display Ads, Publisher Says". Editor & Publisher. November 16, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Bellotti, Mary (April 25, 1999). "Alternative success story". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Nicholas, Jonathan (January 9, 1984). "Free, and fresh, weekly". The Oregonian, p. B1.
  6. ^ a b WW Staff (June 11, 2015). "WW Has A New Publisher". Willamette Week. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Meeker, Richard H. (June 17, 2015). "To Our Readers [editorial]". Willamette Week. p. 5. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Walker, Mason (June 12, 2015). "Willamette Week publisher steps down". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Phil Keisling". Hatfield School of Government: Center for Public Service. Portland State University. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Griffin, Anna (January 25, 2009). "Sam Adams decides to stay put; can Portland move on?". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ Slovic, Beth (September 10, 2008). "Señor Smith". Willamette Week. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  12. ^ Boulé, Margie (January 31, 2011). "Neil Goldschmidt's sex-abuse victim tells of the relationship that damaged her life". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ Jaquiss, Nigel (May 12, 2004). "The 30-Year Secret". Willamette Week. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 

External links[edit]