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PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal

Article Title

Portland's Artisan Economy: The Arts and Crafts Sector

Abstract

The city of Portland, Oregon has recently been experiencing a transformation from an economy of large-scale mass production to a post-modern economy. While current theory maintains that economic development requires expansion of specialized industrial goods and services being traded to other regions, Portland is challenging this notion through its unique characteristics of local production. In what is becoming known as the artisan economy certain sectors are demonstrating craft-like qualities that have catalyzed their success. As a leader in planning, civic life and livability, Portland has increasingly drawn attention from the outside and presents an interesting story that may shed some light on its economic evolution. The study will be used to draft a chapter as part of a book on Portland’s artisan economy and will specifically focus on the arts and crafts sector. The research techniques will include document research, visits to craft outlets, fairs and collectives, and personal interviews with local artisans. This will provide an overview of the sector and its relationship to the larger artisan economy within Portland, presenting profiles of individual artisans and their insights into handcrafted production as an alternative to large-scale mass production. This will help tell the story of Portland’s unique artisan economy and its potential for success within larger markets.

Faculty Mentor: Charles Heying