BIPOC in Portland

If you have ever heard the phrase “Portland is so white!”, you have likely heard it more than once. Despite the city being known for its liberal setting and its popular motto “Keep Portland Weird,” Portland has made newcomers of color feel alienated and alone. Many Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) newcomers who move to the city experience culture shock and ultimately exhibit negative feelings towards Portland’s noninclusive culture. Ironically, the lack of diversity in Portland ends up discouraging the number of diverse individuals migrating to Portland and living in Portland long-term; a vicious circle with no easy solutions.

So how can we help engage newcomers with the Portland community once they first arrive? How could design interventions encourage new residents that come from marginalized racial backgrounds to feel integrated and want to stay? What does “being successfully integrated into Portland” look like and feel like? The goal of this project is to collaborate with Portland’s BIPOC community to create virtual and physical design interventions that respond to triggers that negatively affect a BIPOC newcomer’s experience. These interventions are offered as a resource for the BIPOC community to further, facilitate their integration into the city and perhaps help white folks better understand the challenges they are facing.

My solution to this problem is very simple. After interviewing and surveying tons of residents and newcomers, I realized that BIPOC in Portland do not have the resources they need. Hence, I have come up with a community platform that is designed only for the BIPOC community of Portland. The community platform website and app is and works like a facebook for the community. So instead of having so many facebook groups, you would have one facebook (as a whole) for the BIPOC community. This idea has been received well with everybody I have spoken to as there is a need for this in the city.

Funded by Portland, OR (May 2021)