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Fed Up With Dating Apps, This Portlander Started Her Own Low-Tech Matchmaking Service

Autum Bird, a barber by day, became a matchmaker by night.

Like many online daters, Autum Bird grew tired of swiping for love.

She figured her fellow single neighbors must be feeling the same way—and took it upon herself to find a solution.

She stapled 60 fliers to telephone poles around Northeast Portland: “Are you tired of Tinder? Want to meet a local? Let me interview you and potentially find you a perfect match!”

And just like that, Bird, a barber by day, became a matchmaker by night.

Since February, Bird, 32, has met and interviewed over 45 singles either from a reserved table at Cully neighborhood bar Mad Hanna or in the swing in her front yard. The singles answer 80 questions ranging from “Are you into sports?” to “How often do you wash your sheets?”

“I don’t want to connect someone who washes their sheets every two days with someone who only washes them every two months,” Bird says.

Bird doesn’t charge for her service. Instead, she calls it her “social project.” Right now, she is preparing the first installment of “speed dates”—pairing up people she thinks will be “perfect” to do a “walk and talk” around Normandale Park at the beginning of August.

She has one rule: no exchanging phone numbers. She does this to keep the matchmaking service comfortable and exclusive, for all parties, as well as to avoid giving out digits to someone with a weird vibe. She also wants to avoid the oftentimes awkward “Will there be a second date?” bit at the end of first-time encounters. Once the speed dates are over, Bird will instead send out a survey, asking the participants if they would like for her to arrange another rendezvous, whether they want to arrange it themselves or keep looking for love elsewhere.

“I started this as a way to connect with my neighbors,” she says, “but now I am going to connect them with Portland.”