In Other Words Women's Books and Resources

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In Other Words Feminist Community Center
Type Non-profit 501(c)3
Industry Community center
Founded 1993
Headquarters Portland, Oregon
Key people Johanna Brenner
Kathryn Tetrick
Catherine Sameh
Products Books, magazines, CDs, locally made products

In Other Words Feminist Community Center is an independent non-profit feminist community center, events space, and bookstore in NE Portland, Oregon. Its mission statement reads: "In Other Words inspires and cultivates feminist community, nurturing social justice."

Early years[edit]

In Other Words was founded as In Other Words Women's Books and Resources in 1993 by Johanna Brenner, the Women's Studies program coordinator at Portland State University at that time, along with Kathryn Tetrick, and Catherine Sameh. The trio opened the store in response to the closure of Portland's only other feminist bookstore, A Woman's Space.[1] The original storefront was located in the heart of the Hawthorne District, and advertised itself as a "gathering place for all women and their friends, a community space where anyone can discover the rich world of women's literature, culture and community."[2]

NE Killingsworth[edit]

In February of 2006 the store relocated to NE Portland near Alberta Street.[3] Unable to afford the rising rent on Hawthorne, the organization worked out an agreement to use a space on NE Killingsworth Street owned by the Albina Women's League. The location had previously been home to the Albina Art Center, an organization aimed at "discovering and developing the intellectual and cultural resources of the area,"[4] and had historically been a black neighborhood. This move raised many concerns about gentrification and white feminism.[5]

Current operation[edit]

As of 2011, In Other Words was one of 9 feminist bookstores left in the United States.[6] Due to declining revenues, the organization shifted its focus from book-selling to fostering grassroots activism as a feminist community center. The center now hosts weekly, monthly, quarterly, and one-time events featuring art, literature, feminist philosophy, and queer activism, among other topics. It also retains a retail component, selling books on the topics such as feminism, queer studies, and transgender studies, along with consignment goods from local artists. In 2011, In Other Words also launched a lending library with a wide variety of titles available to the public at no charge.

As part of its restructuring, In Other Words is now nearly completely volunteer run, except for one paid accountant. The organization is made up of a board of directors and a system of volunteer work teams.[7]

In Other Words was part of the inspiration for the fictional feminist bookstore in the sketch comedy show Portlandia as well as a setting for some of the show's scenes.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ "About | In Other Words". In Other Words Feminist Community Center. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "In Other Words Women's Books and Resources", August, 2001
  3. ^ "In Other Words Women's Books and Resources - altportland (the Portland Guide)". altportland. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Golden, Sue (19 January 1968). "Portland's Albina Art Center Answers Local Need". Pioneer Log. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Rasmussen, Debbie. "Hope/politics of Place". Bitch Magazine. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Amer, Robin (13 July 2011). "What's killing feminist bookstores?". WBEZ. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Staff & Board | In Other Words Feminist Community Center". Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Brownstein And Armisen's Comedic Take On Portland". NPR. January 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ Harris, Paul (11 February 2012). "Portland, the US capital of alternative cool, takes TV parody in good humour". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ Yardley, William (January 23, 2011). "Can a City This Self-Serious Take a Joke?". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°33′45″N 122°40′00″W / 45.5626°N 122.6667°W / 45.5626; -122.6667