Portland, Oregon (19 May 2012) – Nigel Jacquiss of Willamette Week has won the Bruce Baer Award – Oregon’s top prize for investigative reporting.
Jacquiss was honored for “A Bridge Too False” and five succeeding stories published since June of 2011. The award was presented Saturday evening during the annual Greater Oregon Society of Professional Journalists banquet, held at the Hotel Deluxe in downtown Portland.
The series examined a series of claims made by advocates of the Columbia River Crossing project, which proposes to build a new I-5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver. Jacquiss’ research found that a number of studies about traffic patterns on and over the Columbia River conflicted with claims made by proponents of the project. He also discovered that in many cases, data included in the project-planning team’s own documents undermined the claims made by its advocates.
In addition, Jacquiss tracked the spiraling cost estimates for the CRC project and reported on flaws in the project’s financing plan.
This is the fourth time that Jacquiss has been honored by the Baer Award committee. In 2005, Jacquiss won the first-place award for his work in uncovering former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt’s sexual abuse of a teen-age girl while he was mayor of Portland in the 1970s. Jacquiss also won a Pulitzer Prize for that story.
He also was given Special Recognition in 2002 and 2003 for stories about contamination at Whitaker Middle School in Northeast Portland, and the financial irregularities of former Lewis & Clark College president Michael Mooney.
The Bruce Baer Award has been presented annually since 1978. It is named after the late Bruce Baer, a political reporter for 13 years with Portland’s KATU (2). The award focuses on coverage of politics and public affairs. Stories submitted for the award are judged on the quality of effort in reporting, and the enterprise and courage reflected in the work.