Dana Haynes: News editor by day, crime writer by night

Human Interest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For his day job, Dana Haynes is the managing editor of the Portland Tribune and the Washington County Times — but before and after, his brain is occupied with an international crime world. 

Photos of Dana Haynes on the job — (left) while researching for his novels at and FBI training in Minnesota and (right) covering the opening of a new MAX line in Portland for the Portland Tribune. (Courtesy of Haynes) 

“My most recent book — I was doing research on the international court and I discovered they had lawyers and judges and clerks, but they don’t have cops,” Haynes said. “There’s no law enforcement for the international court.”

That’s how St. Nicholas Salvage and Wrecking came to be. The novel is about a largely illegal bounty hunting operation based in Cyprus.

Haynes took a trip there to research his novel.

Decades earlier, the Pacific Northwest native had his first book published while he was a student at Clackamas Community College.

“The editor saw it and said I think I can make it into a good book, so she bought that one,” he said. 

Knowing he had to make a living, Haynes took a job out of college managing the West Linn Tidings newspaper.

He still writes novels and picked up several awards along the way while working in several newsrooms.

Dana Haynes speaking to reporters from around the world after a City of Portland employee was arrested in connection with a bombing in Pakistan. (Courtesy of Haynes) 

In 2013, Haynes accepted a role as spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and the next three years of his life were interesting, to say the least.

“There’s a perception that City Hall is dysfunctional. But the truth is, it’s much, much worse than people think. It’s dysfunction on steroids,” Haynes said. “There were times it was disheartening and other times when it was hilarious. We’d stand around the coffee urn, break out laughing because it’s kind of a lunatic bin.”

Haynes was asked to resign in 2016, which gave him some free time to work on his latest novel and eventually return to his other passion — journalism.

“Now that I’m in the newsroom covering City Hall, it’s made me a much better editor because I understand how stuff works,” he said. “I understand the levers of what happens when you pull them.”

Haynes writes every day, in longhand no less. He’s working on a sequel to a sequel. 

While he’s had a lot of success, he said there’s some humility along the way too.

“I used to keep rejection slips but it’s a small apartment, I can’t keep that many,” Haynes said.

More Dana Haynes novels available at Powells 

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