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At the Start of the Pandemic, the City Council Almost Completely Defunded the Portland Film Office. It Would’ve Put Brian Lord Out of a Job.

During the pandemic, Lord has also become something of a health and safety ambassador for out-of-town productions.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

According to Portland Film Office manager Brian Lord says there’s at least one benefit to being part of a film production team during a pandemic.

"People can finally stay home when they're sick now," says Lord. "Everyone used to tough it out, and they can't do that anymore."

The Portland Film Office—which consists of just Lord—helps bring out-of-town productions to Portland by guiding them through city bureaucracy and connecting them with local crews. During the pandemic, Lord has also become something of a health and safety ambassador, walking productions through the  Oregon Media Production Association's 20-page production protocols.

But at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a threat that his job might not continue at all—the City Council considered defunding the Portland Film Office entirely, and no one knew when productions would return to the city.

WW talked Lord about what it took start filming again, the safety requirements for out-of-state productions, and how the Portland Film Office recovered its city funding.

See more Distant Voices interviews here.