There are some people who have a certain air about them; they exude confidence, wisdom and casual whimsy, yet always with an air of humility and charm. Bette Sinclair is one of those people.
Having lived in Portland for over 40 years, Sinclair is tightly interwoven into Stumptown’s social quilt, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I live in the low hills above the city, above the PSU campus,” she explains. “I think of Portland as a University town because I frequently walk through campus and am surrounded by students from many countries, races and beliefs.”
Her walks through downtown also serve as a reminder of the explosive growth the city has undergone. Working in the public relations industry, Sinclair likely sees this change more than most.
“I have a panoramic view of the city from my home studio office,” she begins. “Every year more buildings pop up, obscuring some of my favorite views. When you live with a view, the view becomes like an ever-changing pattern.”
Does that mean she’ll abandon downtown for the less-crowded suburbs? Her answer comes without hesitation. “I am a fan of downtown living,” she says. “The tram and waterfront are like an island outside the city, affording walking paths all along our river. Portland is a jewel box.”
And like any precious jewelry, Portland’s gems deserve to be shown off, which is where Sinclair comes in. She has been working in public relations for over thirty years and knows just about everyone in town. You can also find some pretty big names in her rolodex.
“Doug Schmick,” – yes that Doug Schmick of the hugely popular national restaurant chain McCormick & Schmick’s – “gave me my first job promoting their seafood cookbook,” says Sinclair.
From there, her upward trajectory was swift and without ceiling. “I represented, at one time, most of the hotels in town,” she says before rattling off a list of some of the highest-regarded, most luxurious Portland hotels and resorts.
After spending some time working in the hotel industry, Sinclair transitioned into restaurants, where her cache continued to grow.
She now represents some of the biggest restaurateurs in Portland, including both Bruce Carey and his five establishments and Kristofor Lofgren and his stable of Bamboo Sushi Group restaurants, including the newly-opened Quickfish Poke Bar.
One of the highlights of her restaurant PR career includes representing star chef Pillippe Boulet when he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest.
The fact is Sinclair loves her job for the type of work she does. Some are artists, other are musicians or computer programmers. For Sinclair, “PR and I were just made for each other,” she says with an air of finality.
Finding complementary connections comes naturally to Sinclair, which could be at the core of why PR is her calling.
“Something I love that doesn’t pay money, but reaps untold rewards?” She rhetorically asks before answering without hesitation: “Friendships.”
Thankfully she lives in a town that embraces friendships and an ideal of openness as intrinsic values; as part of all of us who call it home.
“I think we are a pretty little city, a friendly town, a liberal city that supports diversity, and has always attracted smart, interesting and kind people,” she finishes.
As she speaks well of the people in our fair city, Sinclair’s humility prevents her from acknowledging she also speaks of herself. She provides herself as one of those smart, interesting and kind PDX People that makes this city one of the best in the world. We thank her for it and look forward to seeing her out and about town helping to keep the wheels of Portland commerce and public relations smoothly turning.
William Bessette – PDX People Contributor
William Bessette is a journalist and freelance writer who has been covering politics, entertainment, culture and travel for over thirteen years. When he’s not profiling Portland-area restaurants and residents, you can find him reporting on national and international travel and eco-tourism through his travel brand, Floppy Hat Adventures.