Tonight’s Town Hall With The CEO of Portland

Portland Mayor Sam Adams spoke to 50 members of the local creative community tonight at Wieden + Kennedy. The event was sponsored by Portland Ad Fed, the oldest ad club in the U.S.
Adams ran through an economic development slide show that focused on sustainability. The Mayor’s plan is to position Portland at the forefront of the emerging green economy.
Adams spoke of a cluster strategy. He said Portland is strong in the following industries:

  • Clean Tech/Sustainability
  • Activewear/Design
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Software

Adams said that each of these clusters is an avenue for creating green jobs, even though the industries may not typically be thought of as green.
“We have to be a living laboratory. What we’ve done is great but it’s not enough,” said Adams. One example he gave is an emphasis on Eco-Districts. The Mayor isn’t just interested in green buildings, he’s interested in seeing green neighborhoods take shape.
Adams also said the city must develop “a Portland brand,” something he plans to reach out to the ad community for help with this summer and next fall. He said Amsterdam has a brand and New York City has a brand and we need one. He said it’s not a logo he’s after but a set of guiding principles. “What you sell as your brand is what you become” he said.
No doubt, the city’s brand will be green. What else it will be is to be determined, but resourceful, adventurous, open-minded and inviting come to mind.
After Mayor Adams took questions from the audience, Jerry Ketel, President of PAF and Leopold Ketel & Partners told me he thinks the city needs a Creative Director. Sounds like an awesome job, as does Brand Manager, City of Portland.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.