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What Does Google Say?
Portland Star. via David Gillaspie

Portland Star. via David Gillaspie

Boston becomes the first city to designate a literary cultural district. Portland can’t be far behind since the choices at the original coin toss to name the city was either Portland, Maine, or Boston.

That might not be enough to kick start a lit-district into gear, but just knowing another city has one ought to spur the effort.

Portland, Oregon has a habit of taking something found elsewhere and making it better.

Keep Portland Weird didn’t start here, but weirdness found the welcome mat out.

Boston is full of lit types, centuries of literary names. Who knew it’s often called the Athens of America and Broadway for writers.

I’d link to the relevant sites, but my trust in links took a hit with my last malware alert from Sitelock. A bad link on another site becomes a bad link on your site when you link it all up.

Instead of a slew of questionable links, I’ll spell them out. shouts the news from the computer screen: “Mass. Cultural Council Approves Boston Literary Cultural District.”

Book fans everywhere rejoice. Is Portland next?

A google search for Portland Oregon’s Literary and Cultural District produced many surprises. From the top of the first page:

1., dedicated to lifelong learning, has an ongoing event that started on September 7 and ends September 14.

It’s not literature heavy, but does include heavyweight speakers.

2. chimed in through google:

Oregon is perceived by outsiders to be lacking in cultural diversity so the Oregon Convention and Visitor Services Network and POVA were committed to working together to create informational tourism products on Portland’s ethnic diversity.”

This Missouri site included a broken link, so they’ve got that going for them.

3. shows up in the third spot with this take on Portland culture and the arts:

“In recent years, the cultural scene in Portland has exploded, attracting a wide range of innovative artists, young and old. Whatever your cultural leanings, Oregon is likely to offer a wide range of choices at any time of the year. From the Oregon Symphony to the Do Jump! Dance Theater, and from the food and wine festivals to the many art museums and galleries, there is an array of cultural events from which to choose. Many events take place in the Portland cultural district, but others are in cities and towns across the state. Eugene has a state-of-the-art auditorium, and smaller theaters and concert halls abound in other towns and cities. Other areas in Portland that are rich in the arts are the trendy NW Pearl District and the up-and-coming eastside cultural area.”

This is a Portland insider’s opinion of the city, not a Show Me state guess from Missouri, though there’s nothing wrong with that. They don’ t name a Literary District, but how far can one be from the Cultural District?

4. Regional Arts and Culture Counsil,, comes in with a job board showing work in Seattle, Hood River, and Astoria. Are you a sound tech, ballet teacher, or Audience Development Manager?

What is

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) receives funding from a variety of public and private partners to serve artists, arts organizations, schools and residents throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties.

RACC provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through workplace giving; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools throughout the region through “The Right Brain Initiative.””

Call them comprehensive. Now you know.

I changed the search for a Portland Literary District to Literary Arts Portland Oregon and found Literary Arts,, whose mission is:

“…to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature.”

Further, “literary Arts was formed in 1984 with hopes of attracting a few authors and thinkers to the Northwest. Soon enough, the speakers came, and so did the readers—over 2,000 of you for each lecture—and we became one of the largest literary lecture series in the country.”

Which of these choices has enough push to stake out a Literary District in Portland?





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