On February 28, Portland City Council adopted a set of recommendations to protect and expand affordable arts spaces. You can read the resolution and the adopted plan here:
A Plan for Preserving and Expanding Affordable Arts Space in Portland
The need for such a plan is clear: the cost of living in Portland is rising rapidly. The city’s housing crisis, displacement, gentrification, aggressive development, and real estate market dynamics are contributing to an alarming loss of arts spaces in Portland, and making it impossible for artists to afford to live here. Portland risks losing its soul and identity if we don’t respond to this emergency.
In early 2017, RACC and city leaders agreed that the city itself was in the best position to take the lead and collaborate with bureaus to identify changes that can make a real difference. The resultant plan articulates 24 ideas for city bureaus, RACC, and the broader arts community to address this problem. City Council did not approve or fund any of the specific recommendations; rather, by adopting the plan they codified the city’s intention to pursue these recommendations in the months and years ahead. Each recommendation will come to city council separately as it is pursued—to earmark funding, to change city code, or whatever may be needed.
Commissioner Nick Fish and his staff led the development of this plan, and will continue leading several of the recommendations through the implementation phase. The offices of Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly remain strongly involved, as well as several city bureaus. RACC participated in the process by articulating the arts community’s concerns, contributing ideas, researching national best practices, and convening discussions around some of the recommendations; we will also assist with implementing several of the recommendations.
RACC is grateful to Portland City Council for recognizing this serious problem in our community, and for identifying some ways the city can respond. If you would like to stay apprised of this work moving forward, or comment on the plan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Can Portland Save Its Arts?” an OPB State of Wonder story
“We Have a Lot To Lose — Portland Commissioners Try To Save Creative Space,” OPB/April Baer’s interview with Commissioners Nick Fish and Chloe Eudaly