Less than two years after starting a highly successful glossy magazine in Portland, Nicole Vogel says she's ready to try Seattle. The former CNN vice...

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Less than two years after starting a highly successful glossy magazine in Portland, Nicole Vogel says she’s ready to try Seattle.


The former CNN vice president co-founded Portland Monthly in 2003 and has seen it grow to an ad-fat 56,000 circulation with a smart mix of reader-friendly features and award-winning journalism.


Vogel, the magazine’s publisher, announced plans this week to start Seattle Monthly here next spring. The new magazine will go head-to-head with Seattle Magazine, which is published by Minneapolis-based Tiger Oak Publications.


Like Seattle Magazine, Portland Monthly churns out best-of lists and advertising-friendly coverage of shopping, restaurants and nightlife.


But Vogel’s magazine also has done lengthy, authoritative stories on such topics as Oregon’s methamphetamine problem and Enron’s stewardship of Portland’s electric utility.


Vogel said one of her models was Texas Monthly, long a political force in the Lone Star State, where she grew up. She said she was drawn to Seattle’s upscale demographics and to the concentration of people here who say they’re avid readers.


“With quality journalism and a beautiful design, I think people will respond,” she said.


Also responding will be Seattle Magazine Publisher Craig Bednar, who oversees 15 publications serving markets in 10 states — from Northwest Home and Garden to Wisconsin Bride.


“We will, of course, be very aggressive,” Bednar said yesterday. “What can you do? It’s a free market and a free world. I just don’t know what they have to offer that’s unique.”


After a string of lean years, glossy city magazines are doing well across the country as real-estate booms and upscale retailers reach into new markets.


Vogel and her brother, newspaper journalist Scott Vogel, started Portland Monthly after moving to the Rose City to support their sister after her husband died of cancer.


Scott Vogel served as the magazine’s first editor before being recruited to work for The Washington Post. The next editor, Russ Rymer, left in February when he was offered editorship of Mother Jones magazine. After that, Nicole Vogel said, “we went to employment contracts.”


Tom Boyer: 206-464-2923 or tboyer@seattletimes.com