Plus, some cluckin’ good news?

🗺 Weird Wednesday: ‘A human scale city based on true relationships’

Plus, some cluckin’ good news?

It’s Wednesday.

And that means we are getting weird with you today.

Every week, we celebrate elements of Portland’s wonderful weirdness in collaboration with Weird Portland United.

If you haven’t read them yet, you can find our February Weird Wednesdays here, where we interviewed The Unipiper, local artist Cedar Lee, and The Portland Sleestak. And if you missed our interview with magician Spencer Sprocket, peep at that here. Check out our chat with designer Sundari Franklin, read our skating adventures with Carlos the Rollerblader, and get caught up in technicolor fun with artist Strawberry Pickle at Rainbow City.  

Also, if you’d like the latest on the 24-hour Church of Elvis and what you all had to say about it,you’re covered in those links. And don’t forget last week’s deep dive into the history of Portland’s horse rings!

Today though, we are kicking off a new batch of Weird Wednesdays, where we pull back the curtain and take a peek at the folks responsible for fostering weirdness in our fair metropolis. We are working our way through the board members of Weird Portland United, discovering who they are, how they became the unofficial ambassadors of Portland weirdness, and what they love about Portland. Scroll on to meet our first member. 

📚 Behind the Weird with Michelle Jones

Michelle Jones, in addition to being on the board for Weird Portland United, is also the president and founder of Wayfinding Academy in St. Johns. (📸: Courtesy of Michelle Jones)

What is your position on the board of Weird Portland United, and what are your responsibilities?

I have been on the Weird Portland United Board for almost two years, and because I joined early on, I ended up in the Vice President role. All of us on the Board share a lot of decision making responsibilities, and we all provide input on major initiatives for the organization such as reviewing applications for Keep Weird Alive grants or artist statements for the new mural project. In the before-times, I helped a lot with our first gala event and was the organizer of the Weird Portland Creatives event series. As someone who has spent most of my career working in the nonprofit realm, I bring that experience and knowledge to our team. 

Wayfinding Academy, which Michelle created, has been changing the conversation on education in Portland. (📸: Courtesy of Michelle Jones)

What does keeping Portland weird mean to you on a personal level? 

I have lived in Portland for 11 years and what attracted me to it originally and kept me here was its authentic nature. More than any other place I have lived (and I have lived in six other states all around the country), it feels like here people are encouraged to be themselves and follow their passions and purpose.

Portland definitely has issues with accessibility, affordability, racism, and some morally bankrupt political and business leaders that I feel hold us back from truly becoming a world-class city that empowers and enables people to thrive. In my experience, though, if one is operating outside of those zones in this city, it feels like you can do just about anything you set out to do through relationships with kind, caring, authentic humans.

It is a human scale city based on true relationships, and I love that. Most cities are not like that. I started college from scratch in less than a year and in no other city can I imagine being able to do that, but the relationships and culture of "Sure! Let's do that because it sounds like a good idea that will help people!" we have made it possible. 

When you're not working on WPU tasks, what passions and hobbies do you get up to around Portland?

My passion and life's work is to help and support other people live purpose-driven lives and careers. Six years ago I quit my career as a college professor and started a two year nonprofit alternative college — Wayfinding Academy — that is dedicated to providing equitable access to young adults who want a college experience focused on getting them started in their purpose-driven work in the world. This is a full time job and then some.

The college is located in the St. Johns neighborhood. So when we opened, I moved my tiny house to that neighborhood and love being involved in all the things happening in that little slice of Portland — the community here is the best!  (If you’d like to know more about Michelle’s experience living in a tiny house, you can read her article about it here).

What is one of your favorite weird features / people / events here in Portland and why? 

The World Domination Summit. It has been happening in Portland since 2011, and its 10th (and final) one will be in summer of 2022. Throughout the years this event has featured some of Portland's up-and-coming leaders and contributors to the scene here. About 1,000 people come from all over the world to attend this event, and many end up falling in love with Portland and getting involved in things here from afar. My favorite person who has been featured at this event over the years is Bollywood singer, dancer, DJ, and all around amazing human, Prashant Kakad

For the rest of our interview with Michelle, follow this link.

Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members; your support helps make Bridgeliner, and original features like this, possible. 

📰 Meet our staff at Bridgeliner

Editor & Writer 

Cassie Ruud

Sales & Advertising

Ben Chaffee

Promotion from Earth Day Oregon

🌎 There’s still time to donate in honor of Earth Day

See our list of 46 Oregon-based nonprofits each advancing at least one of the UN’s Sustainability Goals. They are counting on you!

Find an organization to support and donate


💚Learn about equity within the food system at this Equitable Giving Circle Lunch & Learn (Online)


✨Cheer on local youth poets at Virtulandia, a virtual poetry slam championship (Online)

🍿 Get your popcorn ready for the Lunafest film festival with Girls on the Run (Online)

🍅 Learn about different tomato varieties with Dennis’ 7 Garden Centers (Online)


🌳Celebrate nature with the City Nature Challenge (Greater Portland / Vancouver area)


🛁 Make your own DIY non-toxic cleaning supplies (Online)


🎨 Paint some watercolor birds with Portland’s Salty Water Art (Online)

Thursday, May 6

😺 Join the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon on a mission to help cats at the annual Furball (Online)

🙋 One more thing …

Portland’s getting a Dave’s Hot Chicken shop at the end of the month. 

The California-born hot chicken plans to open in Tualatin on April 30, with plans to expand into future locations throughout the city in the coming months. 

I’m curious to hear what you all think about this! Are you excited for another reason to murder your taste buds with savory-yet-painful spices? Or are you sticking by Portland’s own local hot chicken joints, like Lardo’s, BAE’s, or Flew the Coop? (If I’m missing some truly excellent hot chicken spots please let me know, I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to spice, but my dad LOVES spicy food, and I’m always down to treat him to a new spot). 

Hit reply to this email, let me know how you’re feeling on this subject, and we’ll share your thoughts in a future newsletter. 

Keep on clucking folks, and we’ll catch you here tomorrow. 

-Cassie at Bridgeliner

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