A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

PDX Art Community's Last Hurrah Before Winter - Last Thursday

When a friend visits Portland for the first time there are a few things that immediately come to mind to show him/her a true Bridgetown experience. Lunch at one of the many gourmet foods carts (specifically Viking Soul Food's lefse), a visit to one of the many craft breweries in town (Amnesia is a favorite - they have such an amazing patio) and a trip up to Forest Park to explore the arboretum, smell the roses in the Rose Test Garden and absorb the beauty and stillness of the Japanese Gardens. But really, the event that really shows off Portland in all of her weird, awesome and wild glory is Last Thursday on Alberta.

What began in 1997 as a low-key art walk on Alberta has exploded into a rocking street party every last Thursday of the month. Vendors set up along the sidewalks in every space possible, food carts park and street performers arrive on stilts, unicycles and in fantastical costumes. During the warm, summer months city officials estimate that over 10,000 people come out to walk Alberta and celebrate the essence of Portland.

Photo Thanks to BikePortland.org

The Last Thursday in October is always quite the celebration as it is usually the last Last Thursday of the year due to decreasing daylight and winter weather patterns. While there are always people in various levels of "costume" at every Last Thursday, the thursday before Halloween tends to entice people to done their Halloween garb a few days early. You can expect to see hula hoopers, fire dancers, stilt walkers, live musicians, djs, live painters, poetry readings, portraits and anything else reminiscent of a 3 ring circus!

The battle to keep Last Thursday a free, yet safe and community sponsored event is currently being waged. Recently my friends at Neighborhood Notes wrote up an extremely thorough and insightful article about the politics behind keeping this local treasure alive. With 10,000 people comes a lot of trash, noise and disruption in the blocks surrounding the event and not all neighbors are supportive. The city also has its hesitations about the event as they have been footing the bill for extra officers to manage barricades (to block the street from 6pm-10pm), illegally parked cars and drunken attendees. A committee is in place now FoLT (Friends of Last Thursday) to help make the event happen with less involvement from the city and give more voice to the community.

Take a trip to Alberta tomorrow anytime after 4pm. Most vendors are set up by 4pm and the crowds tend to show up around 7pm. Come in costume or in your street clothes, come ready to dance or just observe and watch all the festivities. Whatever you do, come with an open mind and heart!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to Get Ready for Halloween, Portland Style

Portlanders love to celebrate anything and everything Halloween and this weekend marks the start of the madness. I thought about reviewing all of the haunted houses and corn mazes in the Portland Metro area, but realized that while everyone loves Halloween, not everyone likes to be scared. Instead I am going to help you get your costume together and recommend 2 events where you can unveil your costume creations.

Photo Thx to Jim Mulhearn
The fun and funky sewing school and workshop, PDX Seamsters, is offering a "Halloween Intensive" Costuming Fundamentals Workshop this weekend. Here is your chance to make your dream Halloween ensemble while learning costuming fundamentals. The course will kick off with a group trip to the fabric store Thursday night with instruction from 6pm-9pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. In addition to instruction and guidance, you'll also get a full month of unlimited sewing studio access where a professional is always there to help answer your questions. Not down for the whole workshop? They are now offering a $99 one day pass which includes open studio access up until Halloween so you can complete your costume!

Looking for a chance to cover yourself in fake blood and teeter-totter around town moaning "brains?" Look no further! It's Portland's 6th Annual Zombie Walk this Saturday starting at Pioneer Square at 3pm. Not only is this a chance to pose with fellow zombies and wander the streets, you can also participate in the 4th Annual Thrill the World Dance performance. Portland zombies, along with groups of zombies around the world, will perform Michael Jackson's Thriller dance simultaneously. Make sure you're there by 4pm to be a part of the record breaking worldwide phenomena! Upon the completion of the dance the walk will begin.

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So you're not a fan of dressing up yourself, but love to dress up others? Well the 4th Annual Doggie Palooza Halloween Fashion show might be perfect for you. Put all of that sewing skill to work to turn your furry friend into a dinosaur, pirate or banana with legs! This is the one time a year that the World Forestry Center opens its doors to canine friends. Come and check out new treats and food, get training tips and watch a fashion show with the latest doggie clothing trends. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for kids and free for well behaved pooches. And if your pup is a handsome star, he/she may even be chosen as the next cover-dog for Spot Magazine.

Have a safe one friends!

Hiring A Blogger - Worst Practices

Back in May of this year, the global PR firm, Mission, engaged a British life-style blogger, Muireann Carey-Campbell, to participate in a half marathon to bring some buzz to their client Nokia's Outdoor Series. Muireann was to blog about her journey preparing for the marathon and was told she would be training with and interviewing Olympic athletes. She was also to receive sports kits, a Nokia camera/video phone (to document her training) and her blog was to be linked on Nokia's Outdoor Series main page. Her travel and accommodations to London to train with the Olympic athlete as well as participate in the race would also be paid in full by Mission.

My first thought was, "That's all she gets!?" and after further research I found it very common that companies and PR firms tend to have the perception that it's okay to "pay" bloggers in freebies and samples. Unfortunately, many bloggers allow that form of payment to be sufficient. For the commitment and the amount of work that Muireann was doing, she really deserved much more than Mission offered her. Unfortunately, they failed to follow through with any of their promises, save a loaner phone! 

When Muireann's race pack still hadn't arrived 2 weeks prior to the marathon she really started to worry. Mission proceeded to give her the runaround, blaming lack of communication/confirmation with Nokia for the delay. In the end she contacted the race administration directly and was able to get a spot and used her own funds to travel to London. 

The blog post, The Tale of PR and a Blogger, includes her letter to Mission regarding their lack of professionalism, communication and follow through. This post has caused quite a fuss, or a "twitterstorm" as one commenter called it. The blog entry has jump-started dialogue around the relationship between PR and Social Media Outlets, as well as provided a reminder of why the blogger was hired in the first place - her influence and impact in the world! Mission's lack of professionalism in response to Ms. Carey-Campbell has not only hurt their image, but also the image of Nokia and anyone else that they represent. And while both Nokia and Mission immediately responded in Muireann's comments of her blog entry, the piece has been spread far and wide as an example of what not to do when using Social Media for PR.

What is the lesson here? Whether or not you believe in the power of Social Media, there is no question that it exists and its influence can just as easily harm your image as boost it. Companies looking to utilize various forms of Social Media need to understand the strength and impact a blogger has with his/her readers and give appropriate respect and compensation.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Another Weekend in Bridgetown

As usual, Portland has plenty in store for those of us looking to eat, drink and be merry. Here is my equation for the perfect mid-October Portland weekend.

Portland's Freak Bike Fall returns for its 3rd year celebrating all things bizarre in the biking world. Start off Friday night at Irving Park for celebration's main event, the Alley Cat Race. Freak bikes of all shapes and sizes will race around town to unique and strange checkpoints. The race begins at NE 7th & Fargo on Friday at 8pm. Additional bike events throughout the weekend include the Share the Park ride in Forest Park on Saturday @ 9am as well as a ZOObomb race on Sunday night at 9pm.

Looking for a place to grab a tasty morsel after all the crazy bike shenanigans? Sip a fine cocktail? Go no further than inner southeast restaurant Beaker & Flask. Chef Ben Bettinger is fresh off of his win from the 10-10-10 Portland Chef Face-Off; a pork belly with squash and slaw was his winning dish. Beaker & Flask has never disappointed my palate and has always dished up the best service and ambiance. Lots of little plates with the freshest of ingredients and flavor combinations await you. Friday & Saturday they are open till 1am; perfect hours to get your late night snack on!

While everyone and their mother is out on Sauvie Island this weekend fighting over pumpkins, take a nice drive out to Hood River and check out the 28th Annual Hood River Valley Harvest Festival. Enjoy over 100 craft and artisian booths, entertainment and the freshest Hood River produce all while overlooking the Columbia River. Plenty of family-friendly activities as well as an entertainment tent with wine, beer and Zenner's sausages. If the weather turns out like they say it will, it should be a glorious weekend to be outside and take a little break from the metro area. Oh, and you can still get your pumpkin, just head over to Rasmussen Farms and check out their gourds!

Live it up friends - the daylight hours grow shorter, soak in that sunshine!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great hit for North Rim in Luxury Homes Quarterly!

With the Cascade Mountains on the horizon and the Deschutes River Canyon below, North Rim is situated among some of the most sublime scenery in the Northwest.

The six-year-old development features a series of winding pathways, integrated parks and recreation area, towering mature trees, ensuring its residences take full advantage of the surrounding natural beauty. Just minutes from Bend, residents can tee off at Awbrey Glen or Broken Top, shop in the Old Mill District, dine downtown, or enjoy a concert in Drake Park.

Friday, October 8, 2010

PDX Wordstock 2010

When I lived in New York City I spent many an evening on the top floor of the Union Square Barnes & Noble waiting patiently to hear a favorite author speak with a pile of his or her books under my seat crying out to be signed. There was something really special about meeting the writer behind my new favorite novel or hearing the inspiration behind a story that had a lasting impression on me. 

Wordstock began in 2005 and since then has hosted over 1,000 writers, who have read and performed for close to 80,000 people over the years. The annual festival is a celebration of books, writers and storytelling in Portland and  features 9 author stages, a book fair, writer and teacher workshops, plus a variety of special events for adults and kids alike. It is the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation!

My friend Kate works for the Lyceum Agency here in Portland and has been telling me about Wordstock for the last month. She is quite busy this weekend supporting Stephen Eilliott and Jonathan Lethem for their Wordstock engagements. She has introduced me to the active literary community in Portland and I have even been lucky enough to snag an extra ticket from Kate for author talks at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Portlanders are passionate about writing and reading; making Wordstock a fabulous series of events to attend!

Click here for a schedule of events - there is no shortage of happenings!

Friday, October 1, 2010

PDX Weekend Events

Is this going to be the last weekend of warm summer weather that we are going to see in Portland? I'm going to assume it is and make sure to take full advantage of it!

The city is hopping with all kinds of things to do, but here are my best picks for the weekend:

My husband & friends finishing the Corn Maize
Sauvie Island is always beautiful, but there is something about the beginning of fall weather that really makes it special. The Pumpkin Patch starts their free hayrides on Friday along with pumpkin picking and awesome corn maize on Friday and Saturday nights. They also have a really sweet u-cut flower patch so that you can bring home the last remnants of summer in a bouquet. Kruger Farms also has their hay rides, corn maze and pumpkin patch. Additionally on weekends and school holidays they have face painting, farm animals and a variety of awesome family friend activities as well as delicious food from Voodoo Donuts to wood fired pizza. 

If the crowds are a bit much for you, head out to one of the beautiful nature preserves and take a long walk keeping a close eye out for the many varieties of birds that live and migrate through Sauvie.

Photo thanks to ugotso

Celebrate Greek culture Friday, Saturday & Sunday at the 59th Annual Portland Greek Festival! Growing up, I always went to the Columbus Ohio Greek Festival with my friends. One girlfriend was Greek Orthodox and it was always so fun to see her face light up as she explained the dances and the food and introduced us to her church friends. I have very found memories of dancing in huge circles and singing at the top of my lungs as well as eating lots of lamb and baklava. And it sounds like the Portland Greek Festival has everything I loved at the festival I went to as a child and more! Music, dancing, crafts, jewelry, cooking demos and lots of amazing Greek food. You might even get to break a plate!

And for those of you who want to head in doors for a little while and catch some amazing cinematic entertainment there is the Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival going on all weekend long. Kicking off the festival will be James Franco's new film, HOWL, showing at Cinema 21 on Friday at 7:30pm. The film focuses on the young Allen Ginsberg - specifically how he came to write his famous poem "Howl." Franco's performance looks phenomenal in previews and is getting good reviews from critics. Has me wondering if his stint in soap operas really did give him perspective! There are twenty other films are showing at the festival in various locations around Portland - many which you won't have another opportunity to view in the theaters! Tickets and passes can be purchased here - there are single showings tickets ($9) as well as Platinum ($140), General ($85) and Voucher Passes ($65).

Enjoy your weekend friends!