Our mind-meld with BikePortland: The story so far

Vulcan mind meld (copyright Paramount Pictures and CBS)A couple weeks ago, we announced that Portland Afoot and BikePortland will be joining forces. Today you can see some of the first fruits of that: I’ve got a couple posts on BikePortland today and a new byline as that site’s news editor.

This seemed like a good occasion to share a bit about what’s happening and how this is going to work.

  • BikePortland is going to get even better. Effective June 24 I’ll be working half-time at BikePortland as news editor. This means I’ll be reporting quite a bit myself – about two posts a day – and increasing its capacity to handle guest contributors, hopefully including Portland Afoot lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie, who we’ve invited to move her show over to the BikePortland blog. Jonathan Maus, BikePortland’s founder and publisher, will also be writing (and shooting his terrific photos, of course) but he’ll be able to use more of his time to grow and broaden the business (without, in case you were wondering, changing the blog’s name or core focus). Speaking of which…
  • Jonathan and I are going to explore new initiatives. This part is going to be especially fun. Using our own sense of the things we do best and input from a lot of people we trust (you included – keep those emails coming) we’re going to look for new ways we can serve Portland’s low-car community. Stay tuned.
  • Portland Afoot’s podcast will continue. This’ll basically be unchanged in the short term: Lillian Karabaic, the show‘s co-creator and driving spirit, will continue as producer. We’ll be looking for ways to upgrade the production value, bring Jonathan on in a regular role, and possibly rebrand it somehow.
  • Portland Afoot’s magazine will publish two more regular print issues. This shift has been in the works for a long time. The difference now is that instead of simply converting directly to a digital mobile edition (which we’ve been holding off on releasing due to this directional shift) Portland Afoot will be considering other ways to use the mobile software.
  • Portland Afoot’s website and social media will slow down a bit, and within the next few months will probably change substantially. Starting July 1, the other half of my time will be taken up by another new position unconnected to BikePortland that I’ll announce here. By that point, PA’s digital content streams will either find new contributors, or halt, or change somehow. Our 2,000-page wiki about low-car life in Portland, which is currently neglected by our site design, may take a new prominence. Unfortunately, this will mean that Portland Afoot’s coverage of transit issues is likely to fall off, at least for a while – something that would have happened with or without our BikePortland partnership. Part of the reason I’m excited about working with BikePortland is that we’ll be able to capture Portland Afoot’s momentum, brand and institutional knowledge in a way that could have been lost if I’d simply taken another job. This development is going to let Jonathan and I create a single bigger, more sustainable and more efficient organization with (we expect) a broader scope than either operation has been able to offer so far.

We’re also not closing the door to possible new participants in Portland Afoot, or even to its transition into an organization that I’m not personally involved in. Ultimately that decision will be up to the board of our parent nonprofit, which meets next month, but Portland Afoot’s core volunteers and I will be involved, too. If you’d like to be involved somehow too, definitely let us know.

Portland Afoot editor Michael Andersen and outreach wizard Joshua Force

(Top image is © Paramount Pictures and CBS, obviously.)

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