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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Thanks Jonathon for your dedication, and all the posts over the years. It’s this site that helped me understand how to ride safely, how to get there by bike, and the many resources available for biking in the city of Portland.
Here’s to another 15 years 🙂
Congrats! Your blog is an indispensable part of cycling in Portland. You have a lot to be proud of. Good work!
Jonathan, congratulations! Thank you so much for all of your posts and everything you’ve done to add cohesiveness to our community. Here’s to another 15 years!!!!
Thank you Maria. It’s smart, creative, enthused people like you that are the heartbeat of this site and this community.
Congratulations, Jonathan. Portland Transport started a few months later in June of ’05. You win the award for persistence!
Jonathan: thru your website, I found the guy who made me my custom bike. So, thank you. You’re a wonderful resource, and I value everything you’ve done. Shout out to Jon Littleford who made me the most beautiful bike ever!
In the later oughts, I gave a motorist a citizen-initiated citation on behalf of someone who was badly injured by their right-hook turn in NoPo. Without your work, no one would have known about it. Instead, the publicity that started right here put pressure on the PPB and City Hall to improve safety for bike riders and others. The intersection was permanently redesigned to prevent the dreaded right-hook.
It’s a great example of how we can work together to help in many ways, and a testament to the power of the site to inform and inspire.
Best of all, I got death threats and called all manner of adjectives by angry fascist men. That pleased me greatly. Good times!
Keep doing it, man!!!
Miss having you around here The Dude. Those were some fun times. Glad you are back in the comments. Thanks for the support!
what a milestone- this a seriously impressive accomplishment!
A photo like that should be in the voters’ pamphlet.
Thanks Jim. But no thanks. I think one reason I’m still around is that I’ve figured out what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. In other words, while I have a pretty large ego about my little part of the transportation world, I’m humble enough to know my limitations.
A local icon who deserves a fine beverage for his efforts!
Congrats Jonathan. You take a lot of crap and still keep it together. I’m not always eye to eye with everything here but I still consider BikePortland the go-to place for bike news.
Yes, this is quite the thing you’ve made. A heartfelt Thanks! for that.
Thanks for this decade and a half of adding such an important presence in our community. And the editors of news in this town should be thanking you too as they assign coverage of their own after reading your stories. Their stories add further to the big impact of your work.
Thanks to you all my friends at TCN&F. Your financial support is absolutely crucial to BP’s existence.
And thanks for pointing out the loop of BP stories getting picked up by local news. I’m afraid most people are unaware of how often that happens and how big of an impact it has made in the past 15 years.
Congrats Jonathan…thank you for all the hard work that goes into this blog!
Hopefully when we come around to the 20th anniversary we can see huge improvements in the on street and off street bike plan!
I hope so too Shimran. If you would have told me in 2010 that in a decade we’d see so little progress on bicycling I would have laughed at you. We have slowed down way too much! Another bummer about this pandemic is that cycling (as a local political issue) was finally starting to gain stem. Bike Loud PDX was clicking, Commish Eudaly was finally paying attention to biking, and so on. Oh well. I feel that as we come out of this, there’s a huge opportunity to redraw the street landscape and I plan to do everything I can to make sure bikes are front and center when that happens.
I agree with John. Dedicated reader since ~2006(?) -not quite sure – but mightily impressed since my very first exposure to what you are doing.
You provide an amazingly valuable service to us all, to our sense of ourselves as a group, a force for creative, critical, conscientious change in how our transportation system (doesn’t) work.
I’m very grateful to have your support 9watts… both as a long-time reader and commenter and a subscriber. Thank you for all your contributions.
Thank you Jonathan for all you do. Your website has done so much to create a strong cycling community in Portland. Your work has enriched my life in many ways. I appreciate you.
Thank you for saying that Jen R! And I’m very grateful for your financial support just now as well.
Thanks for 15 years. Can’t believe the Velocult party was 5 years ago now. Thankful for everything you do. It was also nice to have this to “check in” on Portland things when I moved away for a couple years.
Sorry for all the asinine/unhelpful comments in the past, but it’s a learning curve, I guess & I hope I have learned not to be just a cynic and contribute helpful things and experience in the comments in the future.
Hope to contribute financially again as well.
Anyhow, glad you are here. Cheers.
SO MUCH GOOD you do, every day, year after year. Even when I disagree with you—not that often—I value the work you do and wonder what this place would be like without you. Here’s to hoping you keep ignoring common sense and do this work for a long time to come.
Next post-lockdown beer on me.
Happy Birthday! I got laid off and had to cancel my NYTimes subscription, which I have cherished both because I enjoy reading the news, and because I love supporting journalism. Maybe when I get employed again, I’ll refocus my paid subscription on the local journalism that’s important to me, and BikePortland is at the top of that list. Here’s to 15 more.
NYT is now offering $1/week subscriptions and not just for a month or two. Just apply with different e-mail address. Sorry, off-topic.
Happy Birthday Bike Portland. You’re pretty mature for a 15 year old. Here’s to another healthy 15! Cheers!!
Congratulations Jonathan! Thanks for continuing to be such a beacon for so many of us in Portland and beyond. Keep up the great work!
Neil Gaiman wrote that “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
Thanks for getting up every day and making this, Jonathan.
A hearty congratulations and thanks! I’ve been reading you since the beginning, and you have made an enormous contribution. Now to the “grim” future:
1. Have you thought about becoming a nonprofit? This might open up grant possibilities.
2. Facebook gets a lot of traffic/revenue from your hard work. Do they give you any money? If not, why give your hard work to billionaires?
3. Have you applied for one of the forgivable pandemic loans?
Bike Portland dying from the virus would be a terrible loss. Thanks again.
Thanks for being such a long and loyal reader! I’ve heard from a few 15ers in the past day or so it really warms my heart.
1) Yes. Have though a LOT abt being a nonprofit. Was close to pulling trigger year or so ago before deciding it just wasn’t the right fit.
2) BP makes zero money from FB at the moment… But in a way we lose money to FB because so many local businesses chose to give Mark Zuckerberg more money instead of supporting their devoted local community news site (don’t get me started). The only reason BP is on FB is because a lot of ppl use it. I need to go where the audience is. I could take a principled stand against FB (which I think more ppl shd consider), but then BP would not be serving the community.
3) I have not yet completed an SBA disaster loan. Working on it and considering.
I appreciate your comment. Hopefully the sickness BP gets from the disaster will only make it stronger once it recovers ;-). So far it’s hard to tell. Luckily/unluckily BP is supported by just a very small number of advertisers … and a bunch of individual supporters.
Jonathan, Thank you for everything you do to keep us thinking and challenging the status quo. You are an inspiration and an amazing asset to Portland. Keep it up!
Yeah. Wish I had your wisdom.
Yes Congrats to BP: Jonathan and his rotating contributors over these last 1/8 of a century!
For the Millennials out there: can you imagine having to wait up to 6 weeks for a project notice or meeting debrief or update…that is how it used to be with mailed (as in USPS) newsletters back before BP.
Hey Jonathan, really enjoy the site.. and seeing you out and about at bike events..
Hers to another 15 years!! my site is 21 years this month!
Congrats Jonathan and a very big Thank you! for keeping us informed, for challenging the status quo, for making the most of the internet and serve the public, common good. Hey for “Informing and Inspiring!”
Happy Anniversary, Jonathan. Thanks for all you’ve done!
Congratulations, and thank you, Jonathan. I started my representing cyclists and pedestrians in my law practice 9 months later!
Congrats, Jonathan. I must have started reading BP in 2007, and despite only having spent maybe 3 weeks in Portland, I’ve been reading ever since. Your work has been really important in turning me into a bike advocate, eventually co-founding and now leading a bike advocacy org here in Madison (WI). You’re unique and irreplaceable. Thanks for all your hard work, and please keep going.
Congrats, Jonathan! Its always good to see people follow their dream!
Thank you, Jonathan. You helped me rediscover the joy I take in bicycles, and reconnected me to the ideas of urbanism which I studied in the early ’90s. Those concepts are instrumental in the (hopeful) success of humanity to live in harmony with this planet.
Your future looks very promising to me, whatever changes and challenges it may bring. It has been a true pleasure to watch BikePortland unfold over the years, and I don’t doubt it will continue to please. And when the time comes that you move on, while I’ll miss this particular touchstone, it is satisfying to think of how much good you’ve done and how much you will do on any path you choose.
Congratulations on 15 years!
That is such a nice note Alan 1.0. Thank you for saying all that. And thanks for being such a thoughtful reader.
Thank you J. Maus! Some impressive numbers! Keep it up and thank you once again. I read more about Portland here than any other website
Technically the script on the banner should read ‘our sixteenth year’.
The Xth birthday typically represents the end of the Xth year, and the beginning of the Yth year,
Ah yes I hear you 9watts. Will keep that in mind for future edits.