Support BikePortland

Please step up and support BikePortland today

Posted by on August 28th, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Michael and Jonathan

Michael (L) and Jonathan.

I need to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming with a quick note about finances.

I’ll be blunt: BikePortland as we know it today cannot continue to thrive unless more readers step up more often with financial support.

2015 is a huge year for us. Not only does it mark a full decade of our existence, it’s also a make-or-break year for our future. As many of you loyal BikePortlanders who’ve been reading since the start know, this site has grown and changed a lot in the past ten years. At first it was just a side thing, then I decided to take a huge risk and pour all of my professional and personal energy into it. Did that risk pay off? Is BikePortland a success? Yes and no.

In many ways BikePortland is an unqualified success. But in one very important way, it’s not. Let me put it this way: The business side of things has not grown and matured at the same rate as the product side of things. With my focus solely on the creation of great stories and building a community media outlet we can all be proud of, I have neglected the financial side of things.

To keep this dream alive my family and I have made financial sacrifices that I can no longer continue to make. Sorry if that sounds doom-and-gloom but reality is sometimes like that.

The great news is that we have a plan. That plan includes you. We’re not ready to reveal all of it just yet, but in the coming weeks rest assured that the way you read, interact, and support BikePortland will change.

To help us see that plan through and embark on these changes we need your support now more than ever.

If you think what we do here matters; if you think Portland is a better place because of our in-depth coverage of important issues; if you think BikePortland should ride into the next 10 years with the same fresh legs and optimistic ambition we started with 10 years ago, then please consider making a financial contribution today.

You can make a contribution online with a credit card via our secure form or send us a check. All the details are on our Support Page.

Thanks for helping us do what we do… And stay tuned for the announcement of our big 10th Birthday Party!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Adam Herstein
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Adam Herstein

Donated! Thanks, Jonathan, for your continuing support and reporting of bike issues here. This site is vital to our community and Portland as a whole would be worse off without it. If there’s any other way for me to donate my time, I’d be happy to help!

daisy
Guest
daisy

I donated! Sorry I can help out more right now. Bike Portland has been a huge part of my transition to being a year-round bike commuter. I’ve learned a lot from the posts and comments. And it’s been so helpful in helping me get an understanding of local and state politics and how political issues impact what I’m experiencing every day on the roads. Thanks, and good luck!

Nathan Hinkle (nearlykilled.me, The Bike Light Database)
Guest

Have you considered something like Patreon so people could subscribe, and thus get a more regular donation incoming vs. the occasional one-time donation?

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Or if you are going to do this NPR style you could have one of those hokey donation thermometers; visible between the end of the article and the comments.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

Also, Jonathan, have you considered “hiring” volunteer mods for the comments section to ease the load off you and Michael?

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

You and Michael look very happy together. I plan on donating!

Alison Graves
Guest
Alison Graves

Donated. Your coverage of and commitment to a broad range of issues is first rate. Thanks for creating such a trusted and important source of information — and inspiration! Mission accomplished.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Donated!

Christi Utz
Guest
Christi Utz

Okay, I’ve donated. Since I read the articles it seems fair.

Rob Burton
Guest
Rob Burton

Glad to donate. I find myself here often for information about Portland’s cycling community.

KC
Guest
KC

Done. Thanks for all you both do!

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Can’t we just tax cars more since the cyclists are obviously paying their fair share?

Dweendaddy
Guest
Dweendaddy

BikePortland gear might help, as well, on a few levels.
First, you will make a little money off the sales.
Second, people will fell connected.
Third, it is advertising when people wear it.
Some of the bike advocacy groups have done this, though I do not know how much money it brings in.
T shirts
Hats
Bags
These might be an easy way to start. I bet you have some talented designer readers who could help with cool graphics and design ideas.

GirlOnTwoWheels
Guest
GirlOnTwoWheels

Patches that can be attached to bike bags

RH
Guest
RH

How about a raffle. Every dollar you contribute gets your name on a list, etc… The winner get a bike, custom bike tour of Portland, etc….You could make a simple excel sheet and use some simple formulas to pick a winner.

Alexandra
Guest
Alexandra

This is one of my favorite blogs, and I am more than happy to donate. Glad to see others are doing the same!

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

What’s the recommended monthly donation amount? Have you set prices for the subscription service?

dan
Guest
dan

Donated! Not much to ask given that I’ve been reading for 10 years. Looking forward to see what you roll out for the subscription program.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

I made a small donation, and I’m hoping for the chance to set up a recurring one (which lets me be more generous more easily). As I said when this subject came up before on BP, I’ll happily scrap my HuluPlus subscription and transfer that money here, where I get much better information and engagement.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Jonathan,

I’m open to the idea of donating; however, I’d like to know why there’s a financial issue for the site. I see you have quite a few banner ads, and there are sponsored posts. It’s a pretty specialized site, so I can’t imagine bandwidth costs are very high. Do you use the site to make a living?

bethh
Guest
bethh

Aaron, he said above that he decided to pour all of his professional energy into this site, I read that to mean it’s his sole paying job.

Donated! It’s a tiny bit awkward to ask for money and also hint that you’re going to set up some sort of subscription model – I might have donated more if this is a one-time (or once-annual) donation, but I held back in case there’s shortly going to be a fee associated with the site somehow. But I’m happy to help kick in, this is one of my primary sources for Portland news.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Woops. Missed that. Thanks.

dan
Guest
dan

The downside is that being a “pretty specialized site” also limits your advertising revenue, whether you get paid per impression or per click.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

I’m curious–did your revenue increase when I clicked on that e-bike ad?

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Oops, I see that was answered above (no)

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Well, “no” on the pay-per-click, but advertisers certainly watch the HTTP referer to their site and they know which sites are sending them traffic, so they’ll pay accordingly.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Done, and link added to the NWTA facebook page. I, too, am looking forward to helping more with the subscription option. Thanks for all of the mountain bike coverage over the years, Jonathan.

JJ Ark
Guest

So the climate for web advertising is not what it used to be.

Take a look at a site like, say KGW or CNN.com and you will find that THEY accept scam ads now to keep the lights on. “New Rule in Arizona” type stuff.

We are lucky that Jonathan doesn’t accept that type of advertising, instead, delivering us ads that are worth our time to look at.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I did hear about some really cool new laws that will lower my auto insurance!! 😉

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

Only had a tiny drop in the ol’ Paypal account, but glad to send it over. Looking forward to donating more in the future.
What you’ve built here is pretty amazing. As others have said, I cannot now imagine a Portland without this blog. Also tell that Anderson character that I miss the “Only on the Bus” feature from Portland Afoot. Perhaps it could go on the back page of the Mercury?
Have a good weekend, can’t wait for the 10th anniversary party!

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

I was thinking, yeah, I guess I’ll donate, eventually. Then I thought about what it would be like this place wasn’t around, if the community didn’t have this “town square”. I drop by nearly every day (even if I don’t leave any replies) and I’d certainly feel the loss. Donation made. I’m sorry it isn’t more, but things are tight.

I’d love to have a BikePortland t-shirt! Please consider offering some merch. Maybe there are people here who would donate time, etc, to help with designs, etc?

Pete
Guest
Pete

“Then I thought about what it would be like this place wasn’t around…”

I, for one, would get a lot more done at work. 😉

skibyak
Guest
skibyak

I’ve donated before and I’ll donate again right now. But its great that you are going to a automated monthly opt-in plan. I’m in on that too. I hardly ever miss a day of BikePortland.

SE
Guest
SE

I quit posting and mostly reading because of the spotty moderation.
when a nice, no nonsense post is assembled and submitted and it goes into “awaiting moderation” status and then disappears, something is rotten.
My guess is that it’s an overactive mod , evening some perceived slight.
That’s how I see it. You may disagree, but I see various remarks about disappearing posts in lots of threads.

You guys need to sharpen up if you want to make a self supporting vehicle out of BikePortland.org … IMHO

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

I’ve never had anything blocked that wasn’t fueled by a bit of alcohol and possibly anger. If anything I thank Jonathan for saving me from myself and repost later after giving it some more thought. I can’t think of any other site that does a better job of moderating comments.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

…when a nice, no nonsense post is assembled and submitted and it goes into “awaiting moderation” status and then disappears, something is rotten.

Yeah, that same “moderation monster” bit me last week, too. Several people have mentioned it and Jonathan has acknowledged there’s a bug. The rotten part is in some script or buffer, not in the moderator, so I don’t take it personally but I agree it is aggravating to have a thoughtful reply disappear without a trace, especially since they often seem to be longer messages with more time and effort in them.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Swag? Man, I love buying tshirts, beanies, baby onesies….

Stickers?

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

water bottles?

Christopher Sanderson
Guest

I love the idea of subscribing too, and I would gladly sign up. Jonathan, I come to this site everyday to read up on what is going on bicycling here in Oregon. The content you and Michael publish is excellent, intriguing, and informative. I know that I am more engaged in transit issues here in Portland because of this blog, so I am very grateful that you continue to do this. Thanks for your work, and I hope that it can be more profitable for you and Michael in the future.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

The advertising model is a dead duck anyway. It has gotten waaay out of control. Big successful companies like Google, Facebook et al, who don’t actually sell anything per se, make 85-95% of their revenue from advertising. And this in turn is the motivation for all their privacy abuses and tracking nonsense. People are sick of it and installing ad-blocking software in record numbers. In fact I spent a big chunk of today installing ad blockers, script blockers, firewalls and host files. So, good luck reaching me with an ad. But unfortunately that applies to ALL ads. So a few bad apples spoiled the bunch for all advertisers. Or maybe they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, by abusing the audience to the point of blocking them out entirely. Regardless I don’t think selling online ads will be profitable for much longer. In a lot of places/publications, ads will creep into the content/be the content. You won’t even know you’re reading an ad. It’s kind of like that already.

Community sites like BP that want to retain some integrity now have to decide how to support themselves, and I think the answer is community support/crowdfunding/subscription. Something like BikePortland SHOULD be supported by the community, since it basically IS a community. BTW each of the ad blockers etc. etc. I installed today is supported by an (open source developer) community all of whom care about the same issue and worked on it for free. That’s when things are at their best anyway – people working toward something they care about and not just playing each other for suckers to get a dollar. It also tends to lead to a lot of democracy and autonomy at the community level, go figure. So rather than “oh darn we have to pay for content” I hope people are more like “Thank goodness we finally own the content.” Because paying gets you ownership. And free usually ends up costing most of all.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I really really appreciate the site and visit it every day. BikePortland is inspirational and has reinforced and contributed to major lifestyle changes for me. I have contributed and am happy to do it again

Steven Soto
Guest
Steven Soto

Jon, thanks for everything that you do. I sincerely hope that this funding push helps keep the lights on a while longer. I’m in for a subscription as well. I look forward to seeing details.

CarsAreFunToo
Guest
CarsAreFunToo

Dang, I wouldn’t have taken that five bucks if I knew y’all were hard up for cash.

Actually, no. I would still have taken it.

PorterStout
Guest
PorterStout

No doubt. You’ll need it. And a lot more.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

I would definitely buy a BikePortland tshirt. Seems like it would have some out of town cool, too. Bigger market than just us locals.

maccoinnich
Guest

I just donated, gladly. Going forward I would love the option to donate a small amount of money on a regular basis. I hate to use the example of a site that eventually folded, but I used to give month every month to Andrew Sullivan’s blog ‘The Dish’. Although the content of the two sites couldn’t be more different, there are certainly similarities between the two. Both sites have a loyal readership that checks the site not just every day, but multiple times a day. The comments (or the emails, in the case of The Dish) are often as good as the original content.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I can’t overstate what bikeportland means to me. Others have already made this point eloquently here in the comments.

A small thought experiment: In a perfect world, (most of) the ads would go away and we who read and benefit from this site would contribute to keep the lights on and Jonathan’s kids fed. I get the feeling that there are a lot of folks who are regular readers (thousands?). If the budget is $200,000/yr (I just made that up I have no idea if that is a good number) and there were 4,000 regular readers who could be persuaded to pony up, that would only be $50/yr. I’d be pleased to subscribe at a higher level than that so others who might not have spare cash could also enjoy this.

I look forward to the party too, and just contributed, again. I hope you/we raised thousands today!

Thanks you two. You do amazing, valuable work, every day.

JoeL
Guest
JoeL

This is one of a handful of sites I check everyday. I appreciate the news and the community. I, too, vote for t-shirts. I would be happy to provide some advertising. Maybe a sticker for my helmet. In the mean time, donated. I pays my way in this world.

9watts
Guest
9watts

If we’re tallying votes for and against merchandise, here’s a vote against all that. The world is already overfull of cheap clothing and branded objects. Please skip the goodies, cut to the chase, and send 100% of the money to Michael and Jonathan and their subcontractors.

Curt
Guest
Curt

Happy to donate now, and I look forward to the subscription program. Honestly I feel like I get most of my Portland news right here (not just the bike-related news).

Vanessa
Guest

Thanks for asking. I have learned so much over the years from BikePortland, all for free. Very much appreciate all the reporting you do.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Guest

Of course I am giving. Although Streetfilms could also use the funding departing from my wallet, it’s very important we all support each other to show how fragile our budgets are and supporting quality journalism and bike work is.

In NYC I give $20 a month to the Riders Alliance, but other than the really cold Winter months I may only take the subway a few times per month. Still it is important work they do and contributes to a better society. Thanks so much to all you guys do. I know it is hard.

JMH
Guest
JMH

I don’t even live in Portland and I’m considering a donation. I love the ride along features so much! I can’t tell you how wonderful those pieces are. This is a wonderful site.

barb lin
Guest
barb lin

Donated! I check in regularly to see what the feel of the community is and increasingly this year to get breaking news. BP is my news source for new developments of all sorts around the city. Thank you!

Angel
Guest
Angel

I am interested in volunteering some of my time on a regular basis to work in marketing and related behind-the-scenes efforts to help make Bike Portland a more viable website. (I was interested in doing that before this post came out, and was trying to figure out how to bring it up!)

Contact me!

Jessie
Guest
Jessie

“So rather than “oh darn we have to pay for content” I hope people are more like “Thank goodness we finally own the content.” Because paying gets you ownership. And free usually ends up costing most of all.””

Well said! I’d much rather pay for the true cost of good quality journalism, than have to wade thru more ads.

Bike Portland has become my go-to news site. Not just for Bike news, but surprisingly often for Portland news.

It’s a scandal that in providing such a community service, Jonathan barely makes a living doing this. Remember the story about the ants and the grasshopper? The ants worked all summer while the grasshopper “played” his music? When winter came the ants derided the grasshopper for “playing” when he should have been “working”? And left him out in the cold? Well, it was the grasshopper’s MUSIC that sustained the ants as they slogged thru their dreary labors! They should have brought the grasshopper in and fed & housed him all winter for his “service”.

And so should we.

DONATED!

Signed, “She who has a VISA and knows how to use it!”

Jessie
Guest
Jessie

And yes, I would love to buy a Bike Portland shirt. One of those ugly, yellow fluorescent bike shirts the cars can see a mile away so they don’t HIT me. And, for afters, I want a 100% cotton t-shirt (probably black, goes with everything) that I can wear (as yet another opportunity) to impress upon my friends that I, a little-old-lady, overweight & out-of-shape, is actually BIKING the mean streets of Portland. . . .because I know which streets to ride on and which to avoid because I read the bikeportland blog!!!!! Size large. And, may I say, on behalf of all the other L-O-L’s of Portland. . . . Love you!

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

L-O-Ls of Portland! I love it. I’m in!

Dan
Guest
Dan

Yes to soft cotton t-shirts, wool socks, double darn caps, purist water bottles, stickers. And if click-through purchasing was set up for WBW, I would definitely click-through from here.

Emily G
Guest
Emily G

Donated! After all, there would be no BikeLoudPDX without the BikePortland community. Thank you so much for creating this fantastic space.

Adron Hall
Guest

I’d like to donate, and will shortly, but gotta say I’d REALLY like to just make a monthly donation ala a subscription. I’d even be happy to put up a sizable chunk, maybe a couple hundred a month as I easlily value you guys reporting far more than a mere couple hundred a month – alas I aint rich (yet). If I could I’d just fund the whole enterprise ad infinum and give you the team 100% journalistic freedom of all sorts. 🙂

Anyway… just +1 for a subscription model of some sort. I’m going to find that donate button now.

Tom Shipley
Guest
Tom Shipley

There is no free lunch. Pay for what you use. You are not a nonprofit and need and should be paid and provide a service .. Not donated to. Set up subscription fee. I will pay then

Bryan Hance (The Bike Index)
Guest

Donated, and I’d support subscriptions as well. I like how Metafilter has been able to make this model work, with some super light advertising, and I hope you can get it ironed out as well.

Keep up the good work.

-bryan, bikeindex.org

A
Guest
A

Metafilter charges $5 to sign up for a lifetime membership, membership gets you the option to post comments (and the option to turn off ads if you really want to), relies on user donations (you can get an I DONATED star in your profile if you have ever donated), and uses The Deck for ads http://decknetwork.net/

Barney
Guest
Barney

There are a number of sites out there (some that I subscribe to) that allow full access to with a modest annual fee. You can lurk for free but to comment you need to be a paid member.

These days I mostly lurk on BP. I used to comment more often but I got a lot of snark in response to my posts. Even though I ride thousands of miles per year and have been an avid lifelong cyclist, I have often felt as though I didn’t fit the demographic, that my opinion as a cyclist was not a valid one here. The political bent of the most active contributors seems to discourage any dissent among the contributors.

I probably won’t subscribe (if you go that route) since it often seems too difficult to have a reasonable conversation on BP. There seems to be a little too much intolerance for people who have differing opinions to the “group-think” that exists among the contributers at Bike Portland. Although I think you are doing a pretty good job with the site, some cyclists views simply will not be accepted on this site, and it is not worth paying for an extended argument each time I make a post.

If you choose to go with the pay wall, you may be able to effectively monetize the site, but you may well lose your status as the primary advocate for the PDX cycling community. It is a difficult choice, if you can’t make the site successful financially it may disappear, if you can make it a financial success you may lose your advocacy status. Life is full of these choices. Good luck and best wishes!

9watts
Guest
9watts

Interesting. Since you and I spar here sometimes I reread a bunch of your comments just now. I hope you stick around and/or that Jonathan’s model for how to fund this doesn’t cause you to skip out on future conversations. I agree that diversity is vital, but so is civility and compassion. Sometimes you (and I) receive a drubbing here in the comments section, not because our opinion differs from the majority (though that also happens) but because we could have said it better, nicer, less stridently.

Barney
Guest
Barney

I too went back to look at past comments. I noticed that for a while there was another Barney also posting here. That’s why I put my avatar up, to distinguish between us. Though some of my earlier posts in 2008 may have been without my smiling face!

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

“The political bent of the most active contributors seems to discourage any dissent among the contributors.”

You got that right…it’s like most people here can’t even imagine there might be conservative cyclists.

Barney
Guest
Barney

“You got that right…it’s like most people here can’t even imagine there might be conservative cyclists.” MOTRG.

Well you would be wrong if you thought that. Perhaps that is part of the problem with BP and trying to have a civil conversation.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…There seems to be a little too much intolerance for people who have differing opinions to the “group-think” that exists among the contributers at Bike Portland. …” Barney

Barney…very interesting statement. I think one of the toughest jobs of forum moderation must be how to support the expression of differing opinions, while at the same time minimizing the compulsion on the part of some people, to accompany their expression with meanness towards people they disagree with.

An increase in moderation of comments in support of those that are more well thought out and evenly tempered, could encourage more substantial discussion about some of the serious issues bikeportland tries to bring to the awareness of a broader range of people in Portland and beyond.