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Bob Hicks on Karen Brooks: "She Made People Sit Up and Notice"

Because it isn't over until it's over, and Karen Brooks Appreciation Day definitely isn't over, there's more word on Karen Brooks' unilaterally-inspired (and, ahem, not on her side) departure from the Oregonian last week. Powerhouse publicist Bette Sinclair weighed in last week, as did Beast chef Naomi Pomeroy (in the comments), as did the homonymic Caryn Brooks. Today, a waited-for and thoughtful take from Bob Hicks of Art Scatter, who first puts the layoffs into a little bit of perspective, and then settles down to discuss some of the individuals. Brooks goes first:

Karen is the reason you see that Diner photo above. For a quarter-century, beginning at Willamette Week before she joined the O, Karen was the leading voice of food writing and restaurant criticism in Portland. Her style could be bubbly, over the top, unrestrained in its enthusiasm, but nobody could make the tough calls or spot the trends like Karen could.
She made people sit up and notice the world of food, and like other pioneers such as her friend Matt Kramer she’s been doing it since long before Portland became a foodie town. Love her or hate her, people responded to Karen’s food writing. She stirred things up. She was also for many years the paper’s arts editor, and I worked with her both as a writer and an editor. Few people understand how much she put on the line and how hard she fought the internal political battles to protect and expand the paper’s cultural turf. That passion is a rare commodity, and attention must be paid. In the relatively straitlaced culture of the newspaper world Karen was an exotic bird, and she didn’t quite fit. Over the years that hurt her and helped the paper. Good luck, Karen. Now’s your chance to write that next cookbook.
Anyone else want to chime in? The lines are as open as the Oregonian's door is shut.
·Bad Day at the Big O [Art Scatter]

·All Karen Brooks Coverage [EaterPDX]

Image courtesy The Oregonian

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