Allyson Marrs

profiles & features

People are capable of amazing things. To them, their stories may feel seemingly ordinary, but to others may be the inspiration for which they're in desperate need. I write to remind readers that their experiences are shared. That as humans, we're refreshingly similar — imperfect, emotional, and daringly brave.


Live long and prosper

Change isn’t just for the young. Portland artist, illustrator, and author Lisa Congdon has built her career on a big one: she left an education nonprofit at age 40 to pursue art professionally. Her seventh book, A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives (Chronicle Books) is a collection of profiles, essays, and interviews from women who’ve sought challenges and changes past their so-called primes.

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 10.47.42 AM.png

Craft in action: the case for graphic designers to start with analog methods

Mark Fox’s iconography, trademarks and custom typography have visually defined companies, making brands like Major League Soccer, Nike, PowerBar, Random House, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Warner Bros. Records and Wired recognizable by design. Delving into craft’s intrinsic integrity and impact on society’s culture, Mark discusses the intersection of consumers’ increasing demands for craft, and makers’ genuine expression of it.


Design Portland: Q&A with Jen Thomas

Jen Thomas believes design should be less a privilege for a few and more an equal opportunity for all, as a great brand is often built by great minds, and the sharing of those can give an advantage to companies with the constant cash flow to support design, or the head start to organizations who’d perpetually fall behind without it.


design week portland: the journal

While volunteering for Design Week Portland the past 2+ years, I also copy edit the monthly online magazine, The Journal. Working with a larger team of freelance writers, designers, producers, and a managing editor, the magazine covers design-related topics that are shaping the future of our quickly-changing city.



Periods. Women have them, no one seems to talk about them. They require monthly care — tampons, pads, maybe even pain killers. It’s a few days of the body needing special attention, a little kindness maybe, but it’s not a phenomenon that’s entirely prohibitive. At least, for some. Eighteen-year-old Nadya Okamoto is not only advocating for the conversation around periods, but she is also taking action to ensure women — all women — get what they need while on them.


The brew crew

It’s a male-dominated profession. For now. Beer is part of Seattle’s culture, as vital as coffee, technology and rain gear. But the face of beer, and brewing, is changing. Women are storming the business.


our place

“It was funny because some people called us the Facebook brewery.” In 2010, the hype for Bellevue’s first locally owned craft brewery — Bellevue Brewing Company (BBC) — began to build. Founder and owner,  John Robertson was flattered by the excitement, but recognized the disappointment in their delayed opening.


the storyteller

Everyone has a part to play. A few take on many roles. A handful take them all. They’re not greedy; they’re simply determined. And perhaps, a little nutty, but creativity is nothing if not eccentric.


the view from up here

Susan Ershler and her husband Phil were the first couple in the world to climb the seven summits — the highest peak on each continent. Including completing the unbelievable journey in 2002, Susan’s climb count is 52 mountains in 13 countries with an average of 16,800 feet.


sock it to the city

When it comes to clothing, the basics can often be overlooked. Or, in the case of socks, completely forgotten, as only one usually makes it out of the dryer. Often taken for granted, they're a basic necessity many are without.


making memories

It captures a moment. One quick click, and a piece of you is forever frozen in a time and a place. A memory has just been made. Brooke Clark is forever creating these moments, seemingly quick flashes that will one day tell an entire story.


taste of the town

Take a bite out of the city and savor its cultural influences. When you’re craving a bite of culture, indulging in a tasty meal is the best cure. For cities, states and whole countries, food says a lot about the local people and their way of life.


a fair to remember

Century 21. We’re in it. But only 50 years ago, it felt like a lifetime away—an expanse of time traversed by the brave and the adventurous. Century 21. Only 50 years ago, it was the name of the World’s Fair, hosted by Seattle.


being different

“I don’t like the word ‘autistic,’ ” said Nancy Gordon. “You’re not ‘cancer.’ You’re so much more than just your autism. You will never hear me refer to any kid as autistic. It just drives me crazy.”


Locked up

The inmates at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington are, simply put, humans. Humans make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes determine an entire life.


citizen avengers

It’s about embracing your cred — geek cred. The first GeekGirlCon graced the Emerald City in 2011. Its mission is simple: all people deserve equal recognition, and everyone should feel empowered to pursue their passions.


hurricanes and whisperers

DeAnn talks about physical and emotional pain, but all the while, a grin is spread wide across her face. Reliving the trauma of chemotherapy and the fear she would only allow herself to feel momentarily, she does so with a smile warm enough to crinkle the corners of her eyes.


Full-court press

Troy Chambers has played more than a couple rounds of hoops with the 2010 National Champions, the Seattle Storm, and he can tell you that playing basketball like them, like "a bunch of girls," would indicate skills in the drills.


battle of the Olympians

Elite. The competition, the arena and the traditions — they all signify the best of the best. More than 16,000 athletes and team officials will soon flock to London, preparing to compete in one of the 26 summer games.


challenging Poseidon

No boat. No motor. No sitting. Nope, nothing more than an EPS (expanded polystyrene) board and a single paddle. And 27 miles of rough waters and unpredictable swells. But for 24-year-old Brandon Heiser, only a few words came to mind: fun, excitement, challenge.


Fear factor

When goose bumps pucker your skin and a chill rises through your toes to the tips of your hair, that’s fear. When your breath quickens, your throat feels smaller, and the space around you is too tight, that’s fear. The only way through it is to feel it.


rookie blue

Holly’s not exactly running from the law; she’s just taking it with her. She’s ditching the briefcase for a pair of handcuffs, and turning in her business suit for a pair of police blues. At least, that’s her plan.


onward and upward

Up they went. Onward they moved. Up, up and up. At last, at 14,411 feet, they stopped. This was the moment. Time froze, for just a second, as they simply stared over the entire state.


Seattle Met Magazine

While working as an intern at Seattle Met magazine in 2011, I wrote articles, managed an online series, fact-checked, and assisted in research for the print issues. (Oh, and had a ton of fun.)


pretty, little soldiers

Two pairs of hands pull blonde locks back into tight, perfect buns. Polish-free nails smooth the creases on the jackets that bear their names and ranks. While one woman prepares for a field exercise during her first year training in Oregon, the other dons a uniform in Iraq — an outfit as familiar as her own skin.


parent map magazine

A selection of freelance articles for Parent Map magazine.

-September 2013: Sleepyhead
-July 2013: Pretty Little Toxins
-May 2013: Gotta Dance!
-April  2013: Alcohol’s Buzz Can Sting


Flux magazine & Ethos magazine, University of oregon

As a student at the University of Oregon, I worked on staff at the journalism school publications, Flux 2010-11 (Executive Editor) and Ethos 2008-10 (Associate Editor). Some articles were nominated for an Associate Collegiate Press award (*), others placed in their respective categories (W*).


-Braving the Bar*, published June 2011, (Appeared in Print)
-The Other Side of the Broomstick, published June 2011
-A Shortage of Support, published May 2011
-Breaking the Cycle, published April 2011
-Pancakes, Eggs, and Elvis, published April 2011
-The Vanishing Act, published March 2011
-Shared Healing, published March 2011
-Truth and Grit, published March 2011
-Laugh Your Bra Off, published February 2011
-Seeing the Service, published January 2011
-Generation H*, published January 2011, (Appeared in Print)
-Rx Take-Back, published January 2011
-Banning the Bag, published December 2010
-When Mentoring Becomes More, published December 2010
-Movember, published December 2010
-Against the Grains, published December 2010
-The Heavy Weight of Chromium, published December 2010
-A Clean Exchange, published December 2010
-Steeped in Tradition, published December 2010
-The Pronoun Problem W*, published November 2010
-Consumed by Food*, published June 2010 (Appeared in Print)
-Weekend Vagabonds, published June 2010 (Appeared in Print)
-Destination Surgery*, published June 2010 (Appeared in Print)
-Meeting Their Match, published May 2010
-Running Goes Bare, published May 2010
-Waiting, W* (the introduction), published June 2010 (Appeared in Print)

Ethos (previously KD)

-Talking Hands, published Winter 2010
-Children of the Corn, published Winter 2010
-Modest in Spandex, published Fall 2009
-Community in Folk Dance, published Spring 2009
-Lifting Families Off the Floor, published Spring 2008
-Above the Norm, published Spring 2008
-The Jewel of Eugene, published Spring 2008
-Caught Between Races, published Spring 2008