Hi there. I’m Tim and a new Portlander myself. I moved with my family to S.E. Portland in early 2016 and couldn’t help but notice all the eclectic mixes of cultures and beliefs around me. Having just moved here from southeastern Africa after 13 years away from the U.S., our family was naturally delighted!
As a documentary photographer and filmmaker I love to interact with cultures and share what I learn with others. NewPortlanders.net is my answer to a question I hear from not so new Portlanders: “yeah, we see all these cultures and people moving here, but what can we do to help?”
First of all, let’s explain what I mean by New Portlanders. This is a term being used, in this case, to refer to those who are recent arrivals from pretty tough places internationally. Portland represents a safe haven for them and their families and a chance to have a life at ‘normalcy’ even though it will look a heck of a lot different here then it did back in the more normal days of their home countries.
As a guy who was involved internationally in development work I know firsthand that throwing our old (or new) couches, clothes and the English language at recent arrivals is good but there is little that can help more than supporting through our finances the quality and unique goods and services being provided by New Portlanders. Catering, restaurants, repairs, shops. Hiring even when languages and cultures clash.
Through NewPortlanders.net, I want to use the community to highlight establishments and services being run by New Portlanders.
How does this work?
Pick a restaurant, for example, and go eat there. Ask the owner if you can take a few pictures, record some video, have him or her share their story briefly. Of course let them know this would go online and the hope is that they would get new clients and customers who are happy they are here. If they refuse, that’s ok. Find out if they are simply camera shy (many of us are) or are in a dangerous situation (a public profile may put them as a target). They may not want to talk about it, and that’s ok. Be respectful and find out if it’s ok to share without using proper names and faces.
If things go well and you have something to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll upload your story to the blog. We can then cross-post it to social media using the #NewPortlanders hashtag.
What’s the end result?
Best case scenarios are that new relationships based on goodwill are built. Real money from paying clients supports a family, maybe even a community.