A new community group has been established to advise the Portland City Council on policy decisions related to live music.
Local music-industry trade association MusicPortland yesterday announced the formation of the MusicPortland Policy Council, a group composed of seven local musicians and music industry figures, who will advocate for "policies to save, support, and strengthen Portland's music scene," according to a press release.
"There's nothing inevitable about Portland's success as a great music destination," said City Commissioner Nick Fish in a statement. "We are losing too many music venues and affordable rehearsal spaces. We must act intentionally to stop that, or we risk losing the soul of our city."
Though the Policy Council is still holding preliminary meetings to determine its priorities, the press release alludes to "permitting and enforcement, small music business supports, additional musician loading zones, development and design standards, and other music-supportive policies."
MusicPortland executive director Meara McLaughlin argues live music in Portland faces challenges from housing-centric city development policies.
"Where there's a pillow, there's a problem for a venue," says McLaughlin. "You have to strategically value music as part of your cultural reality and figure out ways to allow these things to coexist."
McLaughlin says the council—composed almost entirely of women and people of color, including recording engineer Adam Gonsalves, Doug Fir Lounge marketing director Rochelle Hunter and event promoter DeAngelo Raines—intends to address issues relating to live music not only in the city center but in working-class areas such as East Portland.
MusicPortland was incorporated in 2017 and launched in 2018. Its recent projects include establishing "musician loading zones" at 16 local venues and organizing Gearfest, a music equipment fair. It's currently undertaking a survey of the economic impact of live music on Portland.