By David Burn
Portland—Portland is Beervana, Stumptown, Puddletown, Rip City. There are as many descriptions for Portland as there are prisms to view the city through. From an industry point of view, Portland is a sustainabilty mecca, a hotbed for tech startups, a sportswear capitol and a friendly home to thousands of independent makers and doers.
Eric Hillerns, principal at Pinch says, “Everyone’s an innovator here.” He adds, “Portland is shaped by the idea of design,” hence, the small downtown core and Urban Growth Boundary. By “design” he is speaking about something much larger than graphic design. “Design is manifest in any product we use,” says Hillerns.
With this expansive definition in mind, Hillerns — who also runs the popular single-speaker series, Designspeaks (with with 52’s Brooks Gilley) — teamed with Tsilli Pines of Creative Mornings and a group of stellar event producers to offer something new to members of Portland’s design community, and those interested in the many forms design takes. The collective’s new baby is Design Week Portland, a five-day cross-disciplinary event scheduled to kick off for the first time on October 9. The opening party is at Ace Hotel’s event space, The Cleaners.
Drawing on the exceptional design programming that already exists in Portland, DWP is a new opportunity to promote design as a key industrial sector in Portland (along with the city’s focus on clean tech, advanced manufacturing, software, research and outdoor industries). DWP’s organizers want to highlight much of the existing programming that not everyone in the community knows about or participates in. “We want more awareness for these existing events, many of which are open to the public and free,” says Pines. “The rising tide raises all ships,” she notes.