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Communications Specialist

Portland, OR, USA

How to Apply

To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and three work-related references via our online Career Center ( Please also provide two writing samples (no more than 300 words each). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please no phone calls or hand delivered applications.  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Communications Specialist is responsible for storytelling on behalf of Portland Japanese Garden. The Communications Specialist is a member of the Marketing and Communications Department, collaborating closely with the Membership and Development Departments, as well as in support of all other departments of Portland Japanese Garden. If you are a creative storyteller, love short form writing, and thrive in media relations, we look forward to hearing from you.

This position reports to the Director of Marketing.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests, Portland Japanese Garden is requiring all staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Candidates must be fully vaccinated by their hire date. ‘Fully vaccinated’ means 2 shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or 1 shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – plus 2 weeks after the final shot.

Areas of Responsibility: 

Primary Duties 

Public Relations Support

  • Develop annual editorial calendar (spanning topics such as: organization news and thought leadership, culture/art/education programming, seasonal promotion and visitation, best of lists, etc.) with guidance from Marketing Director
  • Proactive and reactive media relations
    • Writing press releases and pitching stories, including thought leadership media opportunities to help position the organization as a global leader in Japanese culture and gardens
    • Fulfillment of media opportunities from start to finish, including vetting, coordinating, drafting responses, and attaining assets as appropriate
    • Staffing and coordinating on-site media visits 
    • Building and maintaining media lists
    • Press coverage tracking, developing reports as appropriate for staff, senior leadership, and board members
  • Garden tours for media

Content Creation

  • Story mining to identify relevant content for the Garden’s audiences – from members to donors to the general public – through owned channels such as The Garden Path (quarterly magazine), website/blog, YouTube, e-newsletters, etc.
  • Writing content that has been identified and assisting with the production of digital content (videos, audio tours, etc.) through the development of outlines, scriptwriting, and storyboarding
  • Attain necessary information and context through research, interviews, etc.
  • Writing shorter content for social media and promotional materials
  • Coordinating photographer and/or videographer for key organization events or digital content production needs

Website Contribution

  • Updating content on our sites (via Wordpress)
  • Writing and publishing articles


Other Responsibilities  

  • Administrative tasks to support the department
  • Familiarize oneself with the organization and the Employee Handbook
  • Get to know fellow staff members, developing trust, establishing credibility, encouraging teamwork, and creating an atmosphere of open, honest, two-way communication 
  • Maintain a high level of professionalism in manner and appearance
  • Adhere to Garden dress code (business casual)


Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every one of the qualifications as described in a job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the position, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for this role. 

  • Bachelor’s degree required, Communications or Marketing-related degree preferred
  • 3-4 years of experience in public relations, newsroom, or marketing-related roles (agency experience is a plus)
  • Demonstrated proficiency in storytelling, especially showing aptitude for how visuals complement writing
  • General online savviness, with social media proficiency and some experience with Wordpress or other CMS
  • Strong writing skills with the ability to articulate ideas while using proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • A proven track record of working well with others, adapting to others’ work styles, and professional interactions with co-workers and/or vendors
  • Active listener, giving full attention to what other people are saying or asking, taking time to understand the points being made, and asking questions when appropriate
  • Service orientation, actively looking for ways to help others
  • Excellent communication skills


Special Requirements

  • A positive and outgoing attitude
  • Comfortable working in an open-office environment
  • Personal passion for Japanese culture and history, art and design, travel, and/or landscape design and horticulture are a plus
  • Tourism communication is a plus
  • Being bilingual in any language is a plus; in Japanese, it’s an A+
  • Salary: $47,840/year
  • This is a full-time, salary position with 40-45 hours per week. Shifts are typically 8 hours (plus ½ hour lunch), 8:30am to 5:00pm, with some flexibility. Occasional evening and/or weekend work is required.
  • Benefits:
    • health, dental, and vision insurance (premium 100% covered for employees)
    • 401k plan (after 90 days, with 4% employer match after 1 year)
    • flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care expenses
    • paid vacation, sick, and holiday time
How to Apply: 

To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and three work-related references via our online Career Center ( Please also provide two writing samples (no more than 300 words each). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please no phone calls or hand delivered applications.  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Additional Information: 

Portland Japanese Garden is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote without regard to race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, disability, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by law.

Organization Info

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland, OR, USA
51-200 employees
About Us

Our mission is to bring the ideals of Portland Japanese Garden to the world: art of craft, connection to nature, experience of peace.

Why Work For Us?: 

The Portland Japanese Garden is renowned as the most authentic and finest Japanese garden outside of Japan. The Garden typically has a year-round staff of 85+ FTE’s and 30+ seasonal staff, supplemented by over 200 volunteers. All of our staff play a vital role in helping our visitors experience the beauty and tranquility of the garden and expand their understanding of Japanese culture. 

A few of the benefits our employees enjoy include:

  • Working at a beautiful, authentic Japanese garden, overlooking the city
  • Incentives for alternative transportation for your commute to work
  • A workplace culture that prioritizes hiring and promoting from within
  • Access to the Garden for you, your family, and your friends
  • The opportunity to attend a variety of cultural events
  • Reciprocal access to other area attractions, such as the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Zoo
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Listing Stats

Post Date: 
Sep 22 2021
Active Until: 
Oct 21 2021
Hiring Organization: 
Portland Japanese Garden