Meet A Member: Erica Rife

It’s time for another member spotlight, and this week we’re chatting with Erica Rife about her passion for design (and chocolate), the nonprofit she runs, and all her favorite local spots.

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

Spreading the word about Design Museum Portland, the nonprofit I run! It’s my life’s mission to educate people about the transformative power of design – as a ‘non-designer’ myself, I was constantly in awe of what designers could produce to change the world, but didn’t think I belonged in the conversation.

Design Museum has taught me – first as a member, now as an employee – that better design can only happen when more people are a part of the conversation. I want to share that message while showcasing the incredible design scene we have here in Portland, and Design Museum is the place to do that. Membership starts at just $5 a month – come on by! Just note that we are a nomadic museum – we pop up everything we do, so come on by our next event and learn more. 🙂

What are some of your favorite local businesses?

Favorite food spots: Whole Bowl, Nong’s Kao Man Gai, and Boke Bowl (STEAMED BUNS OMG)

Favorite chocolate: Tony’s Chocolonely (milk chocolate caramel sea salt) and Only Child Chocolate (Hedgehog in the Fog)

Art: I love The Drawing Studio on Division – it’s an informative and invigorating class for those beginning to draw to those who want to re-hone their skills. I fell back in love with drawing and encourage anyone who needs the same boost to do the same!

Gyms: I also love Barre3 and Firebrand Sports!

Dance: BodyVox performances consistently give me great joy.

What’s an event you went to recently that you loved?

It was actually one of my own – Design Museum Mornings – with keynote speaker Angela Medlin, the founder of FAAS and House Dogge. Angela is a truly incredible person, designer, entrepreneur, and mentor.

She told her story of always being the ‘unicorn’ – the only person of color in her class/work throughout her adulthood. She is now running the Functional Apparel and Accessories Studio in collaboration with Pensole, training young ‘soluntioneers’ with the aim of diversifying the apparel industry. While we coordinated the audience, Angela was mesmerizing and a showstopper. I could listen to her for hours!

What made you decide to become a Bridgeliner member?

Bridgeliner stories are written in the way I digest things. Not too short, not too long, and always including relevant information that I didn’t know I had been pining for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been wandering around Portland and find myself wondering about the history of a neighborhood or what events I should have on my radar, and the next day my Bridgeliner newsletter will answer my exact questions. It’s delightful!

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

As someone about to move to St. Johns, I’ve been very intrigued by North Portland and its changes – the many, many changes. I’ve been reading a lot about the potential relocation of Hazelnut Grove to a church lot in St. Johns, and I’m very interested in learning more about how a neighborhood can embrace additions to their community, and how people can be supportive in both hands-on and remote ways, to efforts such as these.

What are you celebrating in your life right now?

My partner and I just bought a house in St. Johns, we’re about to get married, and we’re about to celebrate six years of Design Museum Portland in October. It’s a year to celebrate!