Not Portlandia


I wanted to write a story about a different Portland – not the hip, popular Portland of overpriced artisan lattes and overgrown facial hair, but the hidden part of town where immigrants, refugees and low income people live: East Portland. I have rented in East Portland for several years now and have watched it change and grow into a mix of Mexican, Somali, Burmese, other immigrant, African-Americans, and poor Whites. I have also grown very tired of the stereotypes featured in the show Portlandia. I found a convincing news hook to write this story – East Portlanders are seeking greater representation and an overhaul of at-large elections, because they feel neglected by city hall – but I also proposed a series of vignettes/profiles to go with the main piece, so that I could describe the lives of those who live here. The story and profiles got a great run online in The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other websites. You can read the main story here: AP Big Story link or here in in PDF: AP-East Portland. And the vignettes profiles are here or here in PDF: AP-East Portland-Profiles.

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