Pillars of Portland

Twenty-five years before Portlandia, the idea of a television show capturing the zeitgeist of life in the Rose City became reality when author Larry Colton’s weekly column in Willamette Week, “Pilllars of Portland,” was fashioned into a pilot for a proposed weekly tv series. The characters were stereotypes of their Portland neighborhoods: MAC member Wes Hills, bookstore guy Grant Parks, snobby lawyer Al Ameda, wack author Sandy Burnside, along with the likes of Marshall Lovejoy, Laurel Hearst, and Elliot King. With a cast and crew made up by a sizable contingent of Portland’s film and theater scene, Pillars was a singular community happening, and when it aired as a special on KOIN 6 on December 14, 1983, the anticipation was high. But most found it an amateurish mess, and the production–perhaps the first regionally produced television soap opera in the nation–was quickly assigned to the vault, the ambition of the failed project little appreciated. Rarely seen since, tonight we’re joined by many of the creators for a special screening and distanced appraisal, including director Tom Chamberlin, author Larry Colton, cinematographers Jim Blashfield and Eric Edwards, lowly crew member Gus Van Sant, and many more. Co-sponsored by Willamette Week.

Appears in: Northwest Tracking

Genres: Soap Opera