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BikePortland.org launched six years ago today

Posted by on July 29th, 2011 at 11:53 am

Bunny on a Bike ride
Bunny on a Bike Ride 2006.

It’s a reflective day here at BikePortland. Six years ago today I launched this site, breaking away from OregonLive.com and the “Bike Fun” blog I started there in April 2005.

11,604 posts and over 150,000 comments later, and I’m still here writing about all things bike every weekday. When I started, I think many people in the community figured I would burn out. I can’t blame people for thinking that. I poured my heart and soul into this site for years, sacrificing a lot of other important things in my life, just to build the foundation I have today.

And I’m glad I did.

National Bike Summit - Day three-35
Mooching wi-fi from Union
Station in DC during the
2009 National Bike Summit.

I’ll admit I’ve faced times over the years when I wanted to just walk away and do something else. Something that would be easier and more stable. Something with fewer battles and controversies and debates. But I’ve always come back. There’s always another story, another issue, or another person I meet that reminds me why I’m here and why I love this work so much.

For regular readers who have been around a few years, you’ve watched me learn as I go. You’ve watched me, in a very public way, learn how to do journalism and advocacy — and attempt the often messy trick of mixing the two.

Even as the site has grown — and the stakes and expectations have grown with it — I still strive to be candid, honest, and most importantly, independent. Whether I’m writing a comment, an editorial, a news story, or speaking to the local media, I value my independent voice — free from the strings of donors, political maneuvering, or bureaucratic constraints — above everything else.

I feel very proud about what we’ve accomplished as an online community. Like I’ve shared many times, I do not see a division between what I write and what is written in comments. To me, both are equally important and deserving of my respect as publisher.

It’s impossible to recap all the highs and lows (and there have been plenty of both) and it’s impossible to thank the many generous, smart, and inspirational people that have made BikePortland possible. But I’ll try. To my supporters, former staffers, readers, critics, and everyone in between. Thanks.

Just as important as the people who have helped me build this site (Elly Blue and Jonathan Reed I’m looking at you), it wouldn’t exist without support from advertisers and from readers. If you haven’t left a tip in a while, please consider doing it now. I’m really bad at asking for support; but I need to do it more.

This site cannot survive on ads alone, nor do I want to be so reliant on them. I need contributions from readers who value the daily content I publish. Here’s that support page again so you can join this esteemed list of fellow readers.

Whether you do it with cash, with comments, or with other contributions, thanks for reading and supporting BikePortland through the years. Who knows what the next six might bring…

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Comments
  • Nick July 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

    You’re truly one of the best news sources in this city. Congrats on six years and keep up the great work, Jonathan. BTW, you should consider asking for donations more often — I’m not stingy but I am forgetful, and I suspect the same is true for others.

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  • Nick V July 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    You do a great job, Jonathan. Good on you for having the courage to do and risk so much for something that is so important to you. Keep it going!

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  • Dan O July 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    “… work… “? ;-)

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  • Joel Grover July 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Congrats my friend…Bike Portland is a fabulous resource…and our community is all the better for having you here helping engage….here’s to many more!

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  • fredlf July 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    We’re glad you’re here too, Jonathan. And it took a brave man to post that bunny on a bike pic.
    Thanks for all your hard work.

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  • Kristen July 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Happy anniversary, and thanks!!!!

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  • Andy July 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    As a consumer of a lot of media and a full 6 year reader I would like to say that this site and your reporting is one of the best examples of what “new media” is and should be. Weather or not you know it this site and your work on it contains better journalism that many of the main stream media sources (ex. oregonian). Congrats on 6 and hope to read for many more.

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    • 9watts July 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      I agree with Andy. Helmets off to you!

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      • SilkySlim July 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm

        Can we derail these congratulations to discuss helmet law? Please? :)

        Keep it up Jonathan, BikePortland is my #1 work friendly website.

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  • John Mulvey July 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Congratulations on six years, Jonathan. You provide a great resource for the community –notice I didn’t say “bike community.”

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  • Jene-Paul July 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Jonathan, I’d like to suggest that you install a PayPal subscription link for BP on that support page.

    That’s nearly six years BikePortland’s been my Home page. Thanks.

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    • Nick July 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      I second the subscription idea! Paying a little each month feels less painful than a lump sum less frequently, and I’m sure a lot of us think BP is well worth some money every month.

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  • Nat West July 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Maybe once a month, add a p.s. to any old post with a link to the support page. I’ve been reading for years but never saw that page until today and I’m primarily a reader via RSS.

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  • kittens July 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    This is an incredible resource for our community and Portland is a little better for it.

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  • John Lascurettes July 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Happy birfday. And thanks for all the value you add to Portland.

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  • Joe C July 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for all your hard work, Jonathan, and happy six years to BiPo!

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  • patrickz July 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Happy birthday. And thanks for your efforts at community-making. I always read you first thing.

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  • 3-speeder July 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    As I work on my own version of bicycle advocacy in the tiny central Wisconsin city I now call home, the lessons I’ve learned from BikePorland posts and reader comments are invaluable. I first found your site about 4-5 years ago, and I still read everything you publish here.

    I can talk spontaneously about the interested-but-concerned, the relative importance of lights vs. helmets, ciclovias, commute mode splits, bakfiets and cargo bikes, and so on.

    When I meet someone who could use some bike-related info to further their cause, within minutes I can provide a half-dozen useful references to items you either wrote or linked to.

    When current bicycle events happen – whether it is something Ray LaHood says or a bike victory in Bike vs. Plane – I can pass the news along immediately to others who are likely to have interest.

    I haven’t yet started handing out Jeanette Sadik-Kahn spoke cards, but you’ve got me thinking about it.

    As for making my town a better place for getting around by bicycle, progress is slow and the effort is large. But the trend is in the right direction, and I am encouraged by the possibilities.

    Without BikePortland, I am pretty sure I would not be empowered with the background and knowledge that enable me make a difference here.

    And that is why, since the first time you asked, I contribute monthly to sustain your efforts.

    Another anniversary provides me another opportunity to express my thanks to you and your staff for all your efforts in making BikePortland such an outstanding resource.

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    • John Mulvey July 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      Nice post, 3-speeder.

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  • h July 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Jonathan, Congratulations! YOU have been an amazing resource for Portland –and beyond – I have been following you via RSS and Twitter from OLY for the past three years. Nick’s advice is right on – get that SUPPORT page out there JM!! And please add follow me widgets for Twitter and FB – your followers want multiple ways to share your message!! Thanks for all you do!!!

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  • Morgan July 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Congrats Jonathan on making it this far! You are my No. 1 source for all things bike related in Portland and I trust that you represent a fair and honest viewpoint. I hope you keep it up for more years to come; you provide a valuable service to those of us who chose to ride around this lovely city.

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  • K'Tesh July 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Happy Anniversary!!! Keep up the GREAT work!

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  • Matt July 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    “…learn how to do journalism and advocacy — and attempt the often messy trick of mixing the two.”

    I think you do it pretty well. Happy Anniversary!

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    • Tacoma July 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      I’m reminded of this quote from Samuel Butler (1835-1905): “Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.”

      The “concert” is sounding sweet these days.

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  • Mindful Cyclist July 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Congrats and keep up the good work.

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  • Bikesaint July 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Many thanks for your informative writing, from a regular reader in Sydney Australia.

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  • Curt July 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Well done! I read every post and consider this site to be a great site about not just biking in Portland, but about Portland in general.

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  • don arambula July 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    With the deterioration of Portland’s print, radio and television media, it is comforting to know that I can always turn to your informed and reasoned voice concerning bicycle and civic issues. Thank you and happy anniversary!

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  • Jeffrey Bernards July 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Without Bike Portland and you I don’t think my “Preserving Oregon’s Roads” campaign would be doing as good as it is. I see the amount of traffic I get after you’ve posted a story about studded tires and the road damage their causing.
    Your awesome dude
    Thanks

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  • Stig July 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Happy Anniversary! This site has been a fantastic source of information for me for the past 3 years and I’m sure it will continue to be for many years to come. Your informative independent journalism is in massive contrast to the sensationalist tripe from the local media.

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  • Andrew Holtz July 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you, Jonathan.

    Hip! Hip! Hooray!

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  • ben milstein July 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    congrats jonathan and thanks for all your hard work! keep it up!!

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  • dwainedibbly July 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Congrats!

    As soon as Mrs Dibbly & I started thinking about moving here I began researching Portland. Bikeportland.org was one of the first sites that I found useful. As others have said, this site is a wonderful resource, and not just for Portlanders.

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  • velowocky July 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks. This site has such a positive impact on the whole bike community. Your dedication to the issues and willingness to actively engage with us all is much appreciated.

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  • Ron Richings July 29, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Congrats on the anniversary, Jonathan. We could use something like Bike Portland up here in Vancouver, BC. So if you ever get the urge to live in Canada for a while…

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  • Kathy July 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you for your work at BikePortland. A former Portlander, I have lived in Syracuse, NY for 27 years now. You–and the BikePortland community–give light and hope to those of us who live in communities that are in much earlier stages of building bicycle-friendly, pedestrian-friendly, public transit-friendly, sustainable communities.

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  • mh July 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you. I hope you want to continue well into the future.

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  • Antload July 30, 2011 at 12:29 am

    You and your work are such a vital part of my Portland. Utterly grateful.

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  • Jonathan Gordon July 30, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I just donated. Once again, the donation page is:

    http://bikeportland.org/support/

    Keep up the great work Jonathan!

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  • PorterStout July 30, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Somebody already said it. This is the best example of the “new media’ I could name. Keep showing them how it’s done!

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  • Mary July 30, 2011 at 4:12 am

    In Minneapolis, we’ve had MplsBikeLove.com for several years now. Its founder did burn out, but fortunately there were others willing to take it over. Every city needs a place to find and share cycling information — free of the cluelessness of ordinary reporters and the viciousness of mass-media trolls. I visit BikePortland fairly often for its coverage of general cycling news and to compare how another bike-friendly city deals with the daily challenges of making and preserving a place for cyclists in a car-centric country.

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  • Hugh Johnson July 30, 2011 at 10:50 am

    This is *the* source of bike news in Portland. Good job Jonathan. How long will you keep doing it?

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  • Dan O July 30, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hey, no offense with the crack about “… work… ” :-)

    You’re a good egg – appreciated – *learning* – and have great things ahead.

    But basically I think this thing was a fortuitous and timely domain name registration. Well played; glad it was you who got it.

    Be careful about thinking any one outlet is *the* source. While Jonathan is very open-minded, I find the content and followers a pretty limited cross section of what bicycling in Portland – and in general – is all about.

    Great site, though – love the pics. Script tends to bog down my browser pretty badly.

    (Enough already, Dan.) Hope I didn’t come off like a jerk (again :-) Although I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel, don’t think I’d mind a ride with you and maybe stop for a beer sometime.

    Congrats and thanks again for everything!

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    • Hugh Johnson July 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      Yeah…you did. Dan why don’t you offer us what Jonathan apparently isn’t?

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  • Dan O July 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    FWIW, my favorites are the Monday Roundup, technical articles, and of course the great pics!

    (When I win the lottery… do you have to buy a ticket for that? Hmm… whatever. Then I’ll pony up some renumeration – it’s been earned. Meanwhile I need to save for tires and chains and cassettes and cleats and mojo bars and… Thanks again and again.)

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  • Atbman July 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    It’s been fascinating following the site from across the pond. It is pretty much unique in the range of subjects and campaigns you have covered from what might have been expected to be a single, and rather narrow, subject.

    Law enforcement, social structures, health and safety, competition across the board, education, advocacy, finance, transport issues, leisure and utility, retail, local, state and national politics.

    In a word, inspiring.

    Thanks

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  • Chris July 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I think this is one of the best blogs on transportation, and I often reference it when I share posts on FB. Keep up the great work, and thanks for keeping me informed on all things bike.

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  • Charley July 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Congrats!

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  • Kirk July 30, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for the info, as always!

    It never gets old.

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  • Mark Allyn July 31, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Happy Birthday and congratulations for a job well done!

    Your ‘master or light’

    Mark

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  • Dan O July 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

    @Hugh, so can we deduce that you are in “The One Source of Everything for Everyone” camp? Worship much? Got dogma?

    And “Yeah, you did” (come off like a jerk [again] [?]). Let me guess: “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all” (?) Twinkies for breakfast?

    I thought my remarks were quite complimentary, and maybe just a little astute, too.

    I think the *exceedingly* narrow course and range of most comments bears out a touch of critical perspective.

    Jonathan does manage a remarkably rare balance without compormising ideals. Sometimes it just seems way to conciliatory to me (a radical :-), but I realize that’s what it takes to get anywhere (unless you want people to brand you a jerk and dismiss your view :-), and Jonathan still has the fire. Yes, remarkable!

    And I *do* think there are great things ahead. The best always work their way up to it. I think it’s evident that Jonathan is learning, is the first to admit it, and has the open and fair mindeness to get to the right place. It would suck to just keep on’ keepin’ on.

    (Again, sorry if I wrecked the party.)

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  • Sugar July 31, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    a simple and honest thank you.

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  • Lois Moss August 1, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Thank you, Jonathan, and everyone who helps with BikePortland! I can barely keep up reading about all the events, issues and meetings let alone actually attend as many as you do.

    I found BP when I was contemplating moving from Cleveland. Like lots of people these days, I work from a laptop and can take my job and my tax dollars anywhere. I chose Portland partly because of the things I read about on BP. Thank you!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for all the nice words everyone.. And thanks to everyone who has hit the support page. I’m lucky to have such smart and cool readers.

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  • John Landolfe August 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Congrats. It’s a great site and community forum and clearly a lot of hard, professional work goes into making it an exceptional news source.

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  • Janet August 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    thank you for a wonderful blog and resource.

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  • Steve B August 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks Jonathan for your tireless effort to bring together people to push forward on our common causes. Without Bike Portland, there’s no doubt we wouldn’t have the thriving local active transportation scene we enjoy today.

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  • Brock Dittus August 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    6 more years! 6 more years!

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