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Todays city torch relay kindles Olympic spirit

It's not every day that the Olympic torch passes through one's city.

Today, however, happens to be one of those days.

The torch will weave through the city's streets beginning late this afternoon and is expected to arrive about 7:45 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

The Portland stretch is part of the torch's 65-day, 13,500-mile journey from Olympia, Greece. The torch, lit Nov. 19, is moving through 46 states to Salt Lake City, where the Winter Olympics will take place Feb. 8-24.

The Pioneer Square celebration will include appearances by several past Olympians from Oregon and a handful of musical acts. The event takes place from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will be host for a torch 'kickoff celebration' from 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.

About 5:45 p.m., the torch will leave OMSI, weave around the Lloyd Center district, travel across the Steel Bridge into Northwest Portland and go past PGE Park and Lincoln High School.

From there, the flame will make its way to Portland State University before buzzing through downtown en route to the square.

Torch carriers include University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, English Channel swimmer Karen Gaffney, cancer researcher Dr. Brian Druker and Tribune columnist-KPAM radio personality Pete Schulberg.

For more information about the relay, visit the Portland Oregon Sports Authority's Web site at www.portlandsports.org.

Ñ Andy Giegerich