#DWPDX: What Buildings Define Portland?

A Design Week event featuring a city-planning powerhouse and Portlandia's art director looks at how bricks and mortar make a city's identity.

By Anna Loh September 26, 2014


What building – existing or long-since demolished – defines our city to you? In Sheepscot Creative’s event Portland Past Present Future: Our Architectural Narrative, learn about Portland’s history and its vision of the future through an architectural narrative, with panelists such as Joe Zehnder, chief planner of the city of Portland, Tyler Robinson, art director of Portlandia, and Reiko Hillyer, historian from Lewis & Clark College, among many others.

Sheepscot Creative, a Portland-based marketing agency that has worked with clients such as Travel Oregon and Energy Trust of Oregon, intends to tell stories using the physical landscape of Portland. “The choices we make about what kinds of buildings to construct, preserve, and destroy play an ongoing role in the narrative that locals and visitors experience everyday,” says Dave Weich, Sheepscot Creative’s founder. “Those decisions reveal Portland’s history and also our priorities as a city and our vision of the future.”

Weich explained that the idea of using an architectural narrative arose from important issues that locals are talking about. “Growth, development, and change are on everyone’s minds in Portland right now,” Weich says. “Usually people talk about these things in the context of affordable housing, gentrification, and density. It got me thinking: what about our actual buildings? What stories do our buildings tell about us?”

By exploring these questions with experts who specialize in city planning, built environments and how Portland is represented in popular culture (cf. Portlandia), Weich hopes  diverse perspectives and conversations will open the minds of the audience to new ways to approach familiar ideas.

“When people, myself included, think about change, we tend to default to a position that prioritizes our own interests,” Weich explains. “I imagine that our survival instinct is at work, but I'm also hopeful enough to believe that exposing ourselves to other people's interests and perspectives can open our minds to new possibilities that serve us better individually and as a community.”

Audience can look forward to gaining a new appreciation of stories that are written into Portland’s landscape – not just the buildings that are currently around, but also buildings that will be constructed and preserved for future residents. Post a photo or a few short sentences of a building that says "Portland" to you in Sheepscot Creative’s website to stand a chance of winning one of two $30 gift certificates to Mississippi Studios.

Portland Past Present Future: Our Architectural Narrative

Tuesday, October 7, 7 pm – 9 pm

Mississippi Studios

3939 N Mississippi Ave




Filed under
Show Comments