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A Blind Date: The Department of Transportation meets Community Open Space for the first time in Portland, Oregon


Our studio has been working with Portland Department of Transportation and members of the Richmond Neighborhood in Southeast Portland to facilitate a community-led street painting project. This is not your typical street painting event; the project will be the first time a street painting will be integrated with an existing traffic calming measure.

The design process started before the pandemic; our community was meeting in-person on a bi-weekly basis discussing our approach and the story we want to tell through the design. We had great momentum going into the Spring; however, the COVID restrictions impacted our ability to gathering to advance the design. Our team quickly adapted to the new reality and started to move the design process to the virtual world, using online design whiteboards,, online surveys, Padlet, video-conferencing workshops, and social distancing meetings.

Community Padlet Site

Our virtual design process proved to be very effective. The community developed several design ideas ranging from community pollinators, kids playing hopscotch, Qbert, and our river, city bridges, and the mountain. Three preferred concepts were taken to the larger community through QR Code Voting Banners placed on the site to offer the opportunity for those passing by to vote for the final option. The community voting event resulted in over 300 votes.

City Repair Organization

One major collaborator on this project, City Repair Organization who facilitates artistic and ecologically-oriented placemaking projects throughout the City of Portland. City Repair has accomplished many projects through a mostly volunteer staff and thousands of volunteer citizen activists.

Virtual Design Tools


Our studio has learned so much about virtual design charrette during this pandemic, what works and what doesn't work. Design exchanges and design conversations evolve much differently under COVID restrictions; nonetheless, we received more attention, insights, and feedback than we would during a physical open house. It's exciting what we've accomplished. 

The concept illustrates a community's openness and willingness to come together as a community to exchange and pollinate ideas that improve the livability of this neighborhood.


The concept is meant to encourage active play and activity. Kids love hopscotch and creating games with their imagination.


The concept celebrates our connection to the natural environments and the importance of our river and mountain landscapes.



The preferred design concept includes two areas where our community will take back under-utilized right-of-way to create public space for gathering and events. The eastern area celebrates the river, eastside industrial, and the view of Mt.Hood. The western area celebrates the river​, downtown's skyline, and the famed sunset over the west hills.

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