Reeves’ death a suicide; friends plan candlelight vigil

Reeves’ death a suicide; friends plan candlelight vigil

Street performer on Hawthorne-2.jpg

Kirk Reeves, shown here at his usual spot on the Hawthorne Bridge in 2008, was impossible to miss.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

We have a sad update to share about street performer Kirk Reeves, a man who died earlier this week and whom many of us knew and appreciated for his presence on the Hawthorne Bridge.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner has just released a statement saying his body was discovered on Sunday at Bybee Lake in North Portland and the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As The Oregonian reported yesterday, Reeves, 56, suffered from depression and he told friends he was suicidal.

For years, Reeves sat in the same spot on the western end of the bridge, passing out trinkets to kids, playing his trumpet, tossing around a huge Hoberman sphere, and sharing his broad smile with everyone that passed by.

Reeves’ death — and his life — touched many Portlanders. Your comments and remembrances of him have poured in both here on the Front Page, on Twitter, and on a “Remembering Kirk” Facebook page that has been set up.

One of his friends contacted me yesterday to share details of a candlelight vigil that will be held for Reeves on Sunday, November 18th at 4:00 pm in Waterfront Park just below the Hawthorne Bridge (event details on Facebook).

Reeves was a fixture on the streetscape, a welcome part of the colorful fabric of Portland. His presence will be missed. Some of you have urged City Hall to consider a plaque or some other commemoration of his life. Perhaps Mayor Adams will see this as something fit to take on in his final weeks in office.

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