Portland, Unpacked

Australian podcast host Faustina Agolley discovers that this is a city of many stories, many shades and many perspectives.

4 min read

About the Podcast

Hear host Faustina Agolley explain what the podcast is all about.

In Portland, Unpacked, Faustina Agolley takes you straight to the streets of Portland, Oregon. Portland’s reputation precedes it, but Faustina uncovers that this is a city of many stories, many shades and many perspectives. Over six episodes, she’ll guide you through this unique part of America, unpacking all things Portland, from its complex history to its micro farms, distilleries, music scene, and everything in between. There’s so much more to this city than pop culture would have you know.

Episode One: Edge of America

a woman leans on a bridge railing in front of a building topped with a neon sign
How did Portland become a “progressive, eccentric, sustainable, music-obsessed rainbow city”?

Faustina has just landed in Portland and is getting her bearings with a local. Sarah Mirk crafts zines about Portland’s past, full of stories explaining how Portland became the city it is today. She says it’s no accident Portland is an alternative and progressive town, but the city hasn’t always been this way. In fact, it’s been a winding road to get here.

Episode Two: Changing the Game

two women stand in front of a legal cannabis dispensary
“[In Portland] people don’t wait for permission to do things differently. … Being here kind of feels like I’m visiting the future.”

When you think about booze in Portland, you probably think of beer — specifically craft beer. But the Portland scene has so much more to offer. Faustina visits a local gin and whiskey distillery that’s an all woman operation, from the farmers growing the grain to the team barrelling and bottling. Then, Faustina unpacks sophisticated cannabis culture in Portland, how the city has made the most of legalization, and how women are making weed theirs.

Episode Three: Portland Re-Mixed

two women talk behind a window
“In some ways, Portland was exactly what I imagined, and in other ways, it completely took me by surprise.”

For decades, Portland has been synonymous with punk, grunge and indie rock. Music is in this city’s blood. But how does a place with so much music history hold on to what made it great, while opening up to a new generation? Faustina meets local musicians and cultural critics to discover the music landscape of Portland today.

Episode Four: Leap of Faith

a woman sits and holds a cup of coffee
“A mini-utopia where people do things differently.”

Portland is big on community. It’s an antidote to the high-flying, ladder-climbing world, and an invitation to slow down and reconnect over coffee, food, drink, politics and music. In this episode, Faustina explores how the social epicenter of the world’s sneaker industry can be traced to a tiny coffee shop in Portland’s Chinatown. And what happens when a clothing store rejects the norms of fashion and becomes a community for non-conformists.

Episode Five: Seed to Table

A woman holds food in front of a mobile food cart
“Portland, Oregon — it’s unlike anywhere in America. I went on a mission to uncover what makes this city tick. I met the people, got the backstory, and saw a totally different side to the U.S. Most importantly, I tried the food…”

Portland is a city of micro farms, food trucks and urban wineries. Small-scale experimental versions of grand ideas. This, paired with the region’s perfect climate for growing amazing produce, is why Portland has absolutely mastered seed-to-table deliciousness. Faustina meets a young farmer inventing new ingredients and a collective where the tiniest wine labels come together to get their rare wines out into the world. Find out why Portland is a foodie paradise.

Episode Six: Mis-Fitting In

A woman looks at an outdoor mural
“Portland’s reputation precedes it, known for amazing food, craft beer and alternative music. But what grabs my attention is the fascinating people it attracts.”

Faustina’s heard that Portland is a paradise for subcultures. Any misfit can find their people here and feel like they belong. Faustina finds out what makes this city so welcoming and accessible … all while riding a bike — Portland’s preferred means of transport. She meets Meghan Sinnott, a local advocate for two-wheeled living, and Zoe Vrabel, the world pinball champion who transformed the city’s pinball scene.

Meet the Host

“Portland, Unpacked” host Faustina Agolley outside Powell’s City of Books.

Faustina Agolley is a television host, producer, writer, actor and DJ. Her work includes hosting flagship music program Video Hits, The Voice and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. She made her stage debut with Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company’s co-production of the Molière award-winning play, The Father, alongside theater luminary John Bell and toured Australia and New Zealand as Oprah Winfrey’s resident DJ on her “An Evening with Oprah Tour.” Faustina has written on queer issues for Women of Letters (Penguin), Huffington Post, Sunday Life, Queerstories and The Wheeler Centre Gala. Her most recent work, Sam, explores loss, grief and her African identity.