Roundtable builds bridges between production community and city offices

In collaboration with the Portland Film Office, we co-hosted a Roundtable with representatives from over a dozen offices and the production power-users of those city services.
| By Lilly Joynes

What does it take to film in Portland? The support of nearly every city and regional bureau! Last week, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) and the Portland Film Office co-hosted a Roundtable with representatives from over a dozen offices and the production power-users of those city services. We were delighted to welcome to the table representatives from: ODOT, PBOT, TriMet, Port of Portland, Parking, Portland Fire & Rescue, Portland Police Department, Office of Management & Finance, Office of Neighborhood Involvement (noise control), Commissioner Nick Fish’s Office, Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland Public Schools, SmartPark, and Multnomah County. On the production side, we welcomed just over a dozen location managers, producers, and Oregon Film reps.

Good relationships with local government and administrative offices are critical to make filming in this city accessible and competitive. Every shoot, from a small production utilizing a piece of sidewalk to a large feature shutting down a street, needs to work with our city and regional partners to provide services, access, and safety. This Roundtable was our opportunity to discuss the nature and challenges of production while acknowledging the impacts of a burgeoning city during an era of peak TV.

Brian Lord of Portland Film Office noted, “Throughout the discussion, it was clear that all are interested in keeping Portland’s production industry thriving while also maintaining our city’s high quality of life. The reality is, however, that this city has explosive growth that is pressuring all the same offices that productions utilize. We have to keep the conversation going about how we can continue to work well together through these challenges.”

While there was sharing of concerns on both sides, the overall tone remained one of positive collaboration. Major topics of discussion included parking access, permit turnaround times, the rising increase of needs to right of way, filming moratoriums, accommodating neighborhoods and the public, police presence on the set, and the need for effective communication between parties.

This event was also an ideal opportunity for both sides to put a face to a name and offer sincere appreciation for the work everyone does. Kathleen Lopez stated, “As a location scout/manager and production manager for over thirty-five years, I have been assisted by every agency that came to the table. Without their willingness to provide excellent service and their flexible personalities, film production in Portland would never have grown.”

Advocating for production-friendly policies is a primary areas of focus for OMPA and the Roundtable was just one manifestation of that work. “Throughout the years, we have consistently worked to support a thriving production industry at the city, county, and state level,” says OMPA’s Executive Director Lisa Cicala. “We know that with focused effort, great partnerships, and a committed community of professionals, we can continue to ensure that Oregon remains a desirable production location.”

In the end, many ideas were shared and several action items noted, with a noticeable dedication to continue connecting about opportunities, challenges, and next steps.

Many thanks to the Portland Film Office for their incredible partnership on this event, Jupiter NEXT, which served as a modern backdrop for the meeting, Mundo Catering for providing a high-end selection of horderves, and OMPA member Danny Rawson, our volunteer photographer.

View the Event Photo Gallery

Have an idea for a story or want to be a contributing writer?