Can you believe this site started with an innocent, 100-word post about biking to an ice cream shop with my wife and daughter 15 years ago? I can’t.
On April 8th, 2005 I hit “Publish” and had no idea I would spend nearly every day of my life for the next 15 years thinking and writing about biking and other transportation issues in Portland.
I had only lived in Portland for about a year or so before starting the site. But that was enough time to understand that this place was different. That it mattered. And that these things called blogs would be the perfect place for a “citizen journalist” (which is what people used to call me) to capture it all. From those first days my goal was to create a central place where our community could gather, learn and be inspired, then go out and do more amazing things for me to document. It was — and is! — the best kind of positive feedback loop I could ever imagine.
After a few months, I was hooked. After a few years, I was absolutely committed. For every week since I’ve thrown myself completely into this work. That’s 780 weeks in a row that I’ve come on here and shared stories with you about so memorable people, issues, projects, debates, and of course that thing we all love to do: ride our bikes.
A few numbers
15,038 Front Page posts: That comes out to almost four posts per day, every weekday for 15 years. Jesus.
47,773 photos: Our image archive (on Flickr) tell many stories and have helped us share this amazing culture with so many people.
471,983 comments: The heart and soul of BikePortland is our vibrant comment section. With an equal amount of detractors and devotees, I’m extremely proud of all the connections and dialogue that have happened here. These days we get just as many comments on other platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) as we do here on the blog. I love that because people can find whatever platform feels right to them.
Today, BikePortland has gone far beyond this front page. It’s also home to a comprehensive event calendar, a job listings service that has helped hundreds of people find work, and so much more. We’ve built engaged communities on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Our new Forums haven’t even officially launched yet and they’re already full of action! (Please grab a log-in and join us won’t you?)
Everything I do with BikePortland is done for one reason: To make our community stronger. I don’t pre-plan an editorial calendar, I constantly adjust my focus depending on what our city needs: Who needs help promoting their new event? Which new activist or fledgling group needs more attention? Which issue is ready for prime-time? What project could use some feedback? Which politician or bureaucrat needs a platform — or more scrutiny? Who’s hurting and needs some love? Who needs help getting their new business off the ground? Those are the questions I ask myself when I look at the story list each day.
And then there’s urgent and pressing news that requires immediate and total focus to meet your ever-increasing expectations for quality and timing.
For 15 years, BikePortland has been at your service.
Will it provide that service well into the future? That depends.
I still love this work and I believe strongly that BikePortland is invaluable to our city. I would love to see it last another 15 years (whether I’m involved or not); but it needs a lot more support to survive. I’m very grateful for the subscribers and business owners who’ve stepped up over the years to support it financially. The problem is, there aren’t nearly enough of them. It’s no one’s fault but my own (I constantly ignore sales duties to focus on content).
This deserves it’s own post, but merits mention right here: If I can’t shake more revenue from this thing, the future is grim.
If you value BikePortland, please become a subscriber, make a financial contribution, or ask me about advertising. When you support this site, you’re not just helping a business survive, you’re breathing life into the community it so dutifully serves.
OK, this is getting long. There’s so much more to share: All the people who’ve helped me (mentally and financially, you know who you are!), all the crazy stories, all the lessons I’ve learned, the triumphs and tragedies we’ve gone through together!
I could write endlessly about these last 15 years; but there’s more work to do and the next stories won’t write themselves.
Thank you for reading.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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