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Yes, even Lars can get a little star-struck

Twenty-year-old basketball phenom LeBron James, in town to take on the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, drops by El Gaucho. No surprise there, of course, since as everyone knows it's P-town's steakhouse of choice for visiting NBA stars. É Except that this time, suave General Manager Franco D'Amico figures he'll introduce the young star to another of his regulars, very serious talk show host Lars Larson. É 'Lars,' he says, 'would you like to meet LeBron James?' É 'Oh, yeah!' says a bedazzled Lars. Franco's still chuckling. É It must still be honeymoon time over at City Hall. 'This is actually becoming a fun place to go to work,' says one high-ranking aide. 'And I'd say that's more about Tom being in than Vera being out.' É And what, pray tell, does that mean? 'He actually listens to people.'

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More City Hall gossip: The geniuses behind the Clean Money bill Ñ which would use public money to finance political campaigns at a time when we can't afford to keep enough cops on the street Ñ may be backing off, at least temporarily. É Now that the word's out, it might be more tough to slip this little hummer through the City Council, as originally planned. É Personally, I'm distressed. I had so counted on being your, heh-heh, Clean Money candidate. É Spotted by Radio Cab driver extraordinaire Bruce Wilson on the bumper of a new Ford pickup parked in front of Nordstrom: 'PETA Ñ People Eating Tasty Animals.'É Although as Bruce himself will admit, it's a little funnier if you know that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a well-known animal rights organization. É Brian Ford, whose hiply retro Henry Ford's Restaurant on Southwest Barbur Boulevard closed two years ago, has resurfaced in Old Town with a high-end sandwich shop. It's called Ñ appropriately enough, considering that it's located at 121 N.W. Fifth Ave. Ñ Ford's on Fifth. No more red flocked wallpaper, Brian says, but he does have a few mirrors from the old place.

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P-town's worst public art? Kevin Mullane says he'd like to nominate the huge stainless steel contraption across from Powell's City of Books on West Burnside Street, which he calls 'Monument to a Fuller Brush Salesman.' É 'Not that I have anything against Fuller Brush salesmen,' says the K-Man, 'but that's what that bushy thing on top reminds me of Ñ a brush.' É Not so, says a fact sheet from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which oversees these things. It's called 'The Pod.' É And those steel wires at the top? They're actually 'a plant that has sprung from the seed.' I could've told you Kevin doesn't know anything about art. É Veteran lobbyist Stephen Kafoury sends in this one Ñ the official title of Senate Bill 238 Ñ with a bemused shake of the head. É 'Printed pursuant to Senate Interim Rule 213.28 by order of the president of the senate in conformance with pre-session filing rules, indicating neither advocacy nor opposition on the part of the president.' Now, that's something I can get behind.

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Comedy impresario Barry Kolin, just back from New York City with former pro wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, says they got mobbed by autograph hounds wherever they went. É Piper currently is developing a one-man comedy show that Kolin says is going to be a big hit. In fact, says Kolin, the Rowdy One is scheduled to start filming a reality show in England next month. É So who says we don't have any famous people living here in P-town? Not me, Roddy. Not me.

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..