St. Johns Speaks: Our Hearts, Our Histories

St. Johns Speaks strengthens community dialogue and gives voice to diverse community members through a variety of creative platforms, including storytelling events, interactive public art projects, festivals, and facilitated community discussions. We hope to creatively facilitate safe and healthy discussion around gentrification, preserve the rich history and unique culture of our neighborhood, build relationships among community members, support local artists, and increase neighborhood access to art and cultural experiences. We've proudly partnered with Roosevelt High School and S. Renee Mitchell’s Urban Griots program and local photographer, Bobby Abrahamson, who has taken more than 300 photos of St. Johns residents over four years.


Oregon Humanities
Conversation Project

Join us for a discussion about what makes us Oregonians, in partnership with the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project.

In 2015, Oregon’s population exceeded 4 million people. Not only are we growing in number, we’re also changing demographically. Considering that Oregon has a history of racial exclusion, these changes prompt questions about Oregonian identity and values. How do we build communities that welcome people of all backgrounds? How are minority and under-represented populations included and treated today? Drawing on the diverse histories and backgrounds of participants, Kerani Mitchell leads a conversation that asks what makes us Oregonian and how can we create inclusive communities.

This is the focus of “Where Are You From? Exploring What Makes Us Oregonians,” a free conversation with Kerani Mitchell, on Saturday, February 25th at 2:00pm at the Center for Opportunity (8250 N. Lombard). This program is hosted by St. Johns Center for Opportunity and sponsored by Oregon Humanities.

As an East Indian adoptee who has spent most of her life in small Oregon towns, Kerani Mitchell is accustomed to questions about her citizenship and lineage. The constant questioning of her identity inspired Mitchell to obtain a BA in International Studies from Seattle University, where she focused on multicultural and social justice issues. She’s since held numerous positions coordinating people and programs in nonprofit settings, working with immigrant, student, and volunteer populations. She currently works as a coordinator at the year-round arts and cultural nonprofit Sisters Folk Festival, Inc., and serves on the Bend International School Board of Directors

This event is free to attend, but does require registration. Visit Eventbrite to reserve your spot!


Storytelling events

St. Johns Speaks storytelling events are our way of getting community members together around stories of place. These events typically feature local resident storytellers, Spit/WRITE youth poets, performances by the Cathedral Park Performing Arts Collective's Intergenerational Choir, and interactive exhibits around history and resident stories. 

St. Johns Speaks storytelling event on May 22, 2016


share your story in the st. johns review

Whether you've lived here for a lifetime or moved in a few years ago, we want to hear from you! In partnership with the St. Johns Review, we're working to publish a diversity of stories from those who live and work in St. Johns. There's no need to be a fancy writer or professional storyteller - we are interested in hearing from everyone. We do have a few requirements, which are highlighted below:

  • Your story should be in response to one of the following prompts: 1) Tell us about your hopes for the future of St. Johns; or 2) What are your favorite memories of St. Johns? 
  • We only have room for 3-4 paragraphs, so please stay within this range. Sorry....no novels this time around! 


If you're unable to submit a story online, feel free to call our office at 503-841-5522 and one of our staff members will work with you to document your story. 


St. Johns Love Locks

In partnership with Design + Culture Lab, St. Johns Neighborhood Love Locks is a public art installation placed in various areas in St. Johns. Residents create the content within the wooden locks, which prompt answers around In St. Johns I Value and In St. Johns I Wish I Had. The Love Locks were installed in three locations throughout the spring/summer (Shrunk Tower, Roosevelt High School, and George Middle School) with one installation traveling to community events.

The responses from the Love Locks will be categorized into themes to help guide future public programming in the neighborhood. You can see photos of all of the wooden locks here.