November 20, 2009

Associate Professor Stafford forsakes car to show Portlanders a hopeful future

Associate Professor Stafford forsakes car, walks through city to show Portlanders a hopeful future

For the past year, Associate Professor and Director of the Northwest Writing Institute Kim Stafford has been wandering the city on foot for a project called “Pilgrim at Home: Local Encounters Beyond the Epoch of the Car.”

The project was made possible by a $20,000 fellowship from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, an honor awarded once a year to a local artist.

In this video, Stafford discusses his project which is based on the idea that as use of the automobile wanes, Portlanders will encounter their city in new and different ways. He has spent the past year touring Portland on foot and plans to compile essays written about the walking life of Portland. The essays grow out of conversations with people and through a process he calls “interviewing a place.” He hopes to deepen our sense of local experience on-the-ground in Portland, for Portland.

In this second video, Stafford exemplifies one of his encounters by interviewing Portland Artist Bruce Palone at the Riverview Cemetery.

Stafford plans to publish his essays locally and then gather them into a book. At the close of the fellowship period, he will work with local hosts to give readings in the four quadrants of Portland to give back, on location, what he has discovered, pondered, and written. For more on Stafford visit