Over the past year the New Oregon Interview Series, an initiative of the nonprofit organization New Oregon Arts & Letters, has held a broad array of discussions ranging from music and film to visual arts, food, fashion and literature. Later, the interviews are set to be published in a printed anthology.
"Portland has bloomed into a top destination for creative culture," the OIS website opines. "Media from the New York Times to MTV tout our city's creativity, sustainability, and livability. Where are we heading now?"
For the latest in the New Oregon Interview series, host Nora Roberts will be talking with Mayor Sam Adams, Portland Monthly editor Randy Gragg and architect Brad Cloepfil to discuss "their work in shaping urban space, new city re-development like the Coliseum, and the meaning of world-class architecture, among other topics."
The talk will be held Monday (February 22) from 7-8:30pm at Urban Grind East (2214 NE Oregon Street). Admission is $5.
Adams has made a point of courting the local arts community, dating back to his time as a regular City Council member and, before that, as Mayor Vera Katz’s chief of staff.
Cloepfil is Portland's most renowned architect of the current generation, responsible not only for local projects like the Wieden + Kennedy building but also major art museums in St. Louis (the Contemporary Art Museum), Seattle (the Seattle Art Museum) and New York (the Museum of Art & Design). His firm, Allied Works, also recently won a major design competition for a music center in Canada.
Gragg, who was The Oregonian’s architecture critic for eighteen years as well as a Harvard Loeb Fellow, is currently Portland Monthly magazine’s editor-in chief.
“A lot has changed in the past decade,” Robertson says. “The best perspective comes from the artists themselves—and the designers, writers, chefs, and venues who make things happen here.”
There will certainly be a lot to talk about, from the Columbia Crossing to the urban growth boundary, green building and MAX trains to economic recession and ballot measures. The mayor of any city, let alone with as weak a mayoral system, can only do so much. But Adams is ambitious, and has the opportunity to show that he is smart about design. Cloepfil is precisely the kind of local talent we want for Portland's most significant projects. And Gragg, despite Portland Spaces magazine's ceasing to exist as a separate entity form Portland Monthly, remains active not only with the latter magazine but a constant stream of exhibitions, writings, public talks and much more.