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On the Town

Honk if you love the tram project

All of a sudden it's fall - and then again, maybe not. …

Sitting at my favorite spot by the river, down by Oaks Park, I watched a gaggle of long-necked geese honk their way south. Sure looks like that time of year again. … But when they reach the Sellwood Bridge they turned - and, in formation, headed back toward town. … Probably decided they couldn't bear to miss the great aerial tram rescue drill. I understand completely. I'll be there with them. … It'll be worth every penny of the fabulous aerial tram's $57 million price tag. … Plus, of course, the $3 million the city is paying the developers for building rights over a parking garage, although the city's own auditors say the city should have paid only half that much. … Also, as reported in last Friday's Tribune, there's that $170 million we didn't know about for infrastructure for the fancy new condo developments. Where's that going to come from? … No kidding, I just can't wait for that rope rescue drill to start.

Honk. Honk.

• • •

Score one more for John Callahan, P-town's favorite orange-haired cartoonist: It's a bar scene, and all the regulars are seated on their bar stools as the news of the death of TV celebrity-naturalist Steve Irwin flashes on the screen. … Says the crocodile: You hate to see anyone die - but personally, I thought he was a jerk. … Except of course, he doesn't say jerk. This is Willy Week after all. … Personal to Jim, who may have information on the demise of all-time P-town bad guy Willy Nelson - who, for those who may have missed it, was shot to death 23 years ago while hanging upside down in his gravity boots: Call again at the appointed time and I'll be there. … After all this time, the Nelson murder remains one of P-town's most important unsolved mysteries - which must be why the cold case squad is devoting so much time and energy to it. … Ultrasuave Franco D'Amico seems to be liking his new duties as manager of the chichi Bluehour in the Pearl although it caters, shall we say, to a somewhat artsier crowd than El Gaucho, the steakhouse where he used to preside. 'We have ballplayers and execs here, too,' Franco says. … One of the benefits: Exchanging greetings with Pink Martini songstress China Forbes, who's something of a regular when the band isn't off playing in Europe. 'What a charmer,' Franco adds.

• • •

Certainly no lack of interesting conversation at the Kuhnhausen family reunion last week at Lake Park in Vancouver, Wash. - starting, we can only imagine, with the case of the emergency room nurse, Susan Kuhnhausen, who strangled an intruder who attacked her in her Portland home. … Her estranged husband, Michael, has been charged with arranging for the intruder to kill her, but she was just tougher. … And then for those with a historical bent, there's the matter of one Bonnie Kuhnhausen, convicted in 1952 of conspiring with a male companion to murder an old man. … Family members say she was married at the time to Otto, the grandson of Willie, who was one of 11 Kuhnhausen brothers who immigrated from Germany to the Great Northwest in the late 1800s. … Otto, you'll be happy to know, had nothing to do with the nefarious scheme, and later remarried after Bonnie went to prison. … And besides, as those who attended the reunion agreed, it happens in the best of families.

Contact Phil Stanford by phone at 503-546-5166 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..