Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Hawthorne bridge performer Kirk Reeves has died

Posted by on November 6th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Street performer on Hawthorne-6.jpg

Kirk Reeves in 2008.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Beloved street musician and comedian Kirk Reeves has died. Reeves is known to many for his presence (if not by name) on the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge, where he sat on the south sidewalk and played his trumpet for thousands of evening commuters. Reeves was a working performer who hosted his own show on cable access and was working on a movie.

Street performer on Hawthorne-2.jpg

Street Roots profiled him back in 2010 and he was featured here on the BikePortland Front Page in 2008 (we looked into how his presence on the sidewalk was impacting safety).

Reeves’ white tuxedo, Mickey Mouse hat, horn playing, and broad smile will be missed by many.

For more local reaction to Reeves’ passing, see this Facebook update from someone who knew him.

UPDATE, 2:54 pm: The Multnomah County medical examiner told me that Reeves did indeed pass away, but they have not released any official confirmation or other information because they haven’t been able to track down his family.

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  • Brandon Van Buskirk November 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    A true Portland “individual”!

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  • dan November 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Oh no! RIP Kirk. I’m sorry I never learned your name until now.

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  • whyat November 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Boo. This sucks.

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  • SilkySlim November 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    That’s a bummer. I can’t think of another person in Portland I saw more frequently than Kirk.

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  • Charley November 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I just saw him the other day- he looked totally fine. Rest in peace, Mr. Reeves.

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  • Dave W November 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I have seen him every night on my way home from work-even last week. R.I.P.

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  • adventure! November 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Sad news. I remember when he used to perform at SW 10th/Oak/W Burnside, on the “triangle” across from Powells. Part of Portland’s character has left us.

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  • Richard Allan November 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Portland just go a lot less weird. 🙁


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  • Rol November 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Oh no, Trumpet Guy! The first time I saw him, I actually heard him first. I was walking UNDER the bridge, the bridge was up, and he was jamming along with the sound of the audible warning tone. I appreciated that tremendously.

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  • Jeremy Cohen November 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Oh no. My daughter waves and rings her bell for Kirk every day. How am i going to explain this one……he will be missed.

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  • Dave November 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Sad indeed. Can’t say that I “got” his shtick really, but the fact the people like him still exist in Portland gave me some faith in humanity.

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  • mark j ginsberg November 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I’d like to see more info on this. All I have seen is a facebook post that states Kirk has passed away. I’d be sorry to hear it if true, but there is no first person reporting yet to confirm this potentially sad news.

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  • Brian November 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    This is crappy news for Portland. Not many other people made me smile on an almost daily basis.

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  • Dan November 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Kirk you brightened my day many times, you will be dearly missed. I hope you are at peace.

    Time for a mayoral proclamation of Kirk Reeves Day! The least we can do to recognize one of Portland’s finest.

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  • mikeybikey November 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    So sad. I used to see him everyday when I would ride the #6. He always made me smile. Back in those days I was new to Portland and didn’t know anyone or feel at home yet and his daily presence on the Hawthorne Bridge was comforting.

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  • Stretchy November 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    A fitting tribute would be some kind of permanent marker on that spot. Or, name the new bike counters after him. He’s certainly more deserving than most of the knuckleheads who get stuff named after them.

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  • KRhea November 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    One of Portland’s best and brightest “smiles” has been taken away. You didn’t have to “get” his schtick, you just had to recognize that he sat there through rain, cold, fog, heat and every other kind of weather and made everyone’s day a brighter for FREE! You couldn’t stop there and catch his eye without smiling, he caused me to use the word “zany” for the first time in my life many years ago. I always thought he would have been a great vaudeville performer with his various antics and props. My young daughter thought he was the coolest and loved waving to him and he ALWAYS waved back even in downpour rain. She would ask why he wore a white suit and I’d say because he was a performer and wanted to look good for his audience. It’s great to finally know his name. He’s part of the Portland scene, helped make Portland what it is and added to it’s flavor. I wish I knew how to play “Taps” as I’d stand in the same spot and play it in his honor tomorrow during rush hour. I liked him, my family liked him and as someone in an earlier post said, I’m not sure what or how to tell my little girl her “friend” has died.

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  • Ryan November 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    That’s really sad. He was one of the people that made Portland so Portland.

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  • Rebecca November 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I can’t imagine anyone filling that spot like he did. We’ll miss you, Mr. Reeves.

    It would be great to see some Mickey Mouse ears painted on his spot as tribute

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  • Geoff November 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    there should be a statue of him with his expanding ball on that corner.

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    • Dan November 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      That would be an awesome tribute. City hall needs to hear this

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  • michael downes November 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I ride past there almost everyday with my son. Recently we noticed he had lost some of his sparkle only to find him back at his best smiley self only last week. While we thought he was an awful trumpet player (my son was particularly miffed by his rendition of the Star Wars theme) there was always something reassuring about his presence. We will miss him. I think a statue at that spot would be awesome.

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  • pixelgate November 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    This guy made me smile every time I saw him. A truly amazing human.

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  • Deanna November 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Just heard about Kirk on KOIN TV. I can’t help but think what a treasure we’ve lost here in Portland. If nothing more than a bright smile, his white suit and those Mickey Mouse ears … seeing Mr. Reeves could definitely cheer you up after a long day! My heart goes out to his family and friends. Thank you Kirk Reeves! 🙂

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  • SilkySlim November 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Went past his spot at about 7pm, and there were a few bouquets and a couple signature toys hung from the stop sign. Thanks to the thoughtful folks who did this.

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  • K'Tesh November 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I used to work next to Kirk, saw him last week. This is truly sad news :'(

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  • Andrew K November 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    When I rode my bike past his usual spot on the Hawthorne Bridge today around 4pm I noticed some flowers and a small teddy bear resting on the ground. At first I thought there was maybe an accident earlier that day. By the time I was across the bridge I realized what they were probably for.

    Jumping on this sight confirms it. Very sad to see this happen. He will be missed.

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  • Jeff T November 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    This make me very sad, while I didn’t know Kirk I saw here almost every time I took my evening rides across the Hawthorne Bridge. He always had a great smile and a joy for life. He’ll be a missed part of the tapestry that makes Portland great.

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  • Andyc of Linnton November 7, 2012 at 11:00 am

    R.I.P. Kirk. Portland will miss you dearly.

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  • Jonathan Gordon November 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Kirk himself posted to the previous post about him. I found it really touching:

    I want to make you smile. One reason I perform there is it gives me a chance to practice in front of thousand of people a day. About 30,000 a day see me. That means I am playing football stadium, rock-star size crowds every day. Not many performer get the chance to perform in front that many a day. That means which I do become a big star, I have already spent a lot of time practicing and perfecting my skill in front of a large audience.

    Kirk, you made so many of us smile. You were a definite Portland rock star. You will be missed.

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  • Joe November 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    RIP dude! I would ride by you almost everyday.

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  • Kevin November 8, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Sad news indeed.. The Oregonian reported today that the cause of death suggested a suicide, and has fought severe depression.. I’ve passed by that guy a hundred times over the years.. A true Portland staple, and will dearly be missed!

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  • Mo November 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    No way. I’ve known Kirk for 16 years and he would NEVER EVER commit suicide. I just saw him Friday evening and he was a little tired but seemed fine. I’m just happy I spoke to him before he left us…

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