Meet a Bridgeliner Member: Steph Routh

We’re continuing our series on the people who make what we do possible — our supporting members. ❤️

Next up is born-and-raised Portlander Steph Routh

Where in town might people run into you?

I live in Lents and have two offices downtown — one as the Dean of the Portland Underground Grad School (PUGS), and one as interim Communications Officer for the City of Portland’s Office of Community & Civic Life — so I can be found in a bike lane anywhere in between those two neighborhoods. I love a good wonky meeting about transportation and land use, or you might find me canvassing your door for a policy or candidate on the weekends.

What made you decide to become a Bridgeliner member?

Bridgeliner is like a mini PUGS course in my inbox every morning! Even though I was born and raised in Portland, there is always something to learn about this city in Bridgeliner. Explainer journalism is dope.

What’s something you’re working on that you could use help with?

As the new Dean of PUGS, I have so much to learn about what folks are curious about. I could definitely use help with sourcing what month-long classes people would find both meaningful and joyful, and who in our communities hold the experience and talents to teach those classes.

What local business do you think deserves a shoutout?

So many! Thai Fresh is a gem of a restaurant in the heart of the Jade District, on 84th and SE Division. Vong and Aroon are gracious owners who sling deliciousness. Be prepared to answer how spicy you want your mojito.

What’s a local event you went to recently that you loved?

I don’t know if “love” is the right word, but I was at the Blazers game against the Brooklyn Nets during which Jusuf Nurkic suffered a season-ending injury. The compassion and pain expressed by everyone in that stadium was profound.

What’s a recent story you’ve read about Portland that you wish more people cared about?

Every year when the cherry blossoms bloom, I re-read this article from the Asian Reporter about the history of Sakura Sunday. It helps me reflect on how our full history — of the beauty that transportation advocacy along the waterfront has engendered, and the remembrance of Japanese internment during World War II — makes itself known in subtle, beautiful, heartbreaking ways.

What are you celebrating in your life right now?

Every time people are willing to come together across difference, move through discomfort, and find empathy with other people’s lived experience, it’s something I celebrate.