Immigrant and Refugee Literacy & Learning

For residents who struggle with English, there's no shortage of classes and conversation groups waiting to help. The Portland ESL Network maintains a map with a host of English classes, many of them free!

Multnomah County Library


In addition to offering classes on citizenship, and story time in a number of languages, libraries offer many free options to help residents learn English, including:

English Classes: Classes offered through People-Places-Things at Rockwood and Midland branches

Talk Time: an unstructured English conversation time at Rockwood, Midland, Central, North Portland, St. johns, Gregory Heights and Capitol Hill branches

Language Exchange

  • Intercambio: Spanish-English conversation hour
  • Trao Đổi: Vietnamese-English conversation hour
  • 中英语言交流: Chinese-English conversation hour
  • Échange: French-English conversation hour

Multnomah County SUN schools 

The school-based programs that offer afterschool activities for kids and social services for families also offer free ESL classes for the public at some of their schools. Here’s a list of those schools.


This private company offers free ESL classes through Multnomah County Libraries and at community nonprofits around the Metro area. The classes focus on real-life needs like gardening, taking public transportation and filing taxes. Here’s a calendar of classes.