September 14th, 2010

OurPDX goes on hiatus as management plans for ‘doing it right’

OurPDX goes on hiatus as management plans for ‘doing it right’

As much as I love cheerleading new ventures on Silicon Florist, there are times when I have to talk about less than happy news. Because they affect you, they affect the Portland tech scene, and they deserve to be covered.

And so it is with a bit of a heavy heart that I have to report that Portland-focused blog OurPDX has been shuttered. I say “a bit” because there is a silver lining to this cloud. You see, there is the promise that the shutters may be reopened once they retool.

If you’ve read Silicon Florist for any amount of time, you may have encountered my coverage of OurPDX. I’ve been following the site since its inception. And I’ve always been rooting for its success. Plus, it’s a blog about Portland. Why wouldn’t I find that interesting?

I know, I know. A Portland blog writing about a Portland blog is a little meta. But still.

When OurPDX launched in June 2008, it was very much a phoenix rising from the flame out of Metroblogging Portland.

By Portland and for Portland, Our PDX promises to be a true hub of Portland news and happenings. You’ll see content developed by the Our PDX authors, but you’ll also see a great deal more. They’ll be working to aggregate publicly accessible media from throughout Portland, be that via Twitter streams or RSS feeds.

The site was driven by an ensemble volunteer effort and an effort whose owner, Betsy Richter, often referred to as a “cash negative operation.”

I appreciated OurPDX because it wasn’t more of the same. Instead, it provided a unique viewpoint on the Portland scene. It wasn’t news, per se, although sometimes it was. It wasn’t op-ed, per se, although sometimes it was.

But over the last few months, that content dwindled. Writers moved on to other projects. Even the management was consumed with other efforts that took time away from caring for OurPDX.

So now, Betsy has announced that they’re going to put OurPDX on hiatus.

I don’t know what local blogging should look like these days- but Robert & I both agree that it shouldn’t look like OurPDX did a year ago, or even six months ago. People have moved on; shorter, more pungent content (Twitter, etc.) is where it’s at.

We both have plenty of thoughts about where we think we’d like to go with OurPDX — but not a lot of time or energy to put into reshaping it into what it really ought to be in a 3.0 kind of way.

So rather than let it sit out there moldering, I’m putting the site in a cocoon-like state. Gestating. Incubating. Conserving energy.

OurPDX manager Robert Wagner takes it a step further, arguing that we need to look beyond the whole “blogging for the sake of blogging” mindset. And that OurPDX has to change to support that.

The problem is this – we’re all doing it wrong. I’ve been doing it completely wrong and to speak honestly, I’ve probably been doing it a hell of a lot more right than you have. Sure, there are exceptions, but for all of the hype surrounding the blog that we’ve had to endure over the past several years, I’m just not seeing the mainstream acceptance of it all. Not yet. Not in a way that speaks to people like my father, my sister, or my friend Dave in Seattle.

And so they’re closing the OurPDX doors while they do that. If you visit the OurPDX site, you’ll be greeted with the following:

OurPDX is hibernating…

OurPDX is currently slumbering, gathering its strength to emerge as something newer…fresher…more inviting and/or engaging.

We’re not going away for good — I promise. Instead, it’ll be worth waiting for.

Questions, issues, concerns and/or feedback? Send email to betsy at ourpdx dot com.

And in the famous words of those noted philosophers, Messrs. Bartles & Jaymes:

thank you for your support.

I’ll be interested to see what happens with the retooling. And I’ll remain hopeful that the OurPDX phoenix arises successfully from the ashes, once again.

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22 Responses to “OurPDX goes on hiatus as management plans for ‘doing it right’”

  1. Wow. Look what happens when you just get a bug up your butt and just start killing off your kids already…!

  2. Geff K says:

    Rick. I think all your love for OurPDX is misplaced. There are a ton of other amazing Portland blogs/mags that deserve the love and praise and ARE doing it right.

    OurPDX has failed (now twice) because it’s poorly managed, plain and simple. They have a long history of treating their writers horridly and acting like a bull in a china shop. No matter what your strategy is, if you don’t have the right people running it and you don’t treat your contributors well, you won’t succeed in the long run.

    No matter how many times OurPDX gets back on the horse it’ll always be tilting and windmills with it’s current ownership/management team.

    Instead lets look at who is doing it right: – Julian Chadwick has built one of the most relevant Portland event sites in the city. Its changed the paradigm for where people get their event info and given WWeek and the Merc a huge run for their money. What more it’s the most integrated Portland Blog in town with an array of twitter feeds and facebook tie in. – Dave of Dave Knows has become a relevant voice in Portland and he’s done that through being very inclusive. He not only covers the things happening IN Portland but the other publications and bloggers covering it. When I think of a blogger who is a true ambassador in Portland it’s Dave. – Nearly a wholesale replacement for the Oregonian’s metro section, Neighborhood Notes is giving on the ground coverage of things that newspapers have completely abandoned. It’s doing everything right that OurPDX did wrong and in the process building a key resource for people in Portland to see what’s going on in their neighborhoods.

    Perhaps it’s time to look beyond the ruins of OurPDX to some of the people in this town who are really moving the needle in Portland’s online local content space.

  3. I would heartily endorse Geoff’s praise for NN, PDX Pipeline and my friend, Dave from Dave Knows.

    And there’s another site deserving a closer look: Lew Serviss, Cornelius Swart and the folks at EnzymePDX.

  4. Robert says:

    Well that certainly didn’t take long. Point proven.

  5. Jmartens says:

    I think we need to better define these types of sites. Are we talking blogs or news? I run ThePortlander, we have had great success, but we don’t consider ourselves a blog. We are a new, undefined type of outlet.

    I think NN and the Pipeline are more news than they are blogs where Dave knows is closer to the OurPDX model.

    We also have to ask, does anyone really want to read group blogs? Personally, I’d rather have information rather than opinions.

  6. Dave says:

    OurPDX will be missed!

    @GeoffK – Thanks for the kind words about my blog!

  7. My disclaimer: I am a former OurPDX author.

    @Geoff (or @Geff) — While it was nice of you to plug other PDX sites, it also would have been nice for you to add a disclaimer that a) you are a former OurPDX author and b) had a rather public falling out on said blog, which included deleting all of the entries you posted on the site.

    I don’t mention that incident to dredge up history, but rather to quash the feeling I got that you just wanted to take a cheap shot at someone and threw in some relevant links to justify it.

    Blogs succeed and fail all the time, whether it’s because the focus shifts and the readership moves on, or because the passion goes away. Community blogs in particular are tough because you do have to create a set of guidelines — some that not everyone will like/appreciate — to keep the group somewhat focused on what you’re trying to do.

    OurPDX has a wealth of information and insight that wasn’t readily available elsewhere. And that will definitely be missed. Whether it returns on the same domain, or someone else picks up the ball and starts elsewhere, it had a good run. And for that, the folks behind it deserve praise and probably a stiff drink or two for dealing with so much drama.

  8. Jmartens says:

    @Al….so Geoff had a falling out, so what? Doesn’t make his opinion any less relevant. No one knows how much of that falling out was his fault or the fault of OurPDX managers.

  9. A few facts (for the 7 people who still care):

    The hordes of disgruntled former authors = Geoff
    The OurPDX manager/owner in charge at the time = me

    What can I say? Shit happens, people disagree. Decisions aren’t always unilaterally popular. Geoff has his opinion, which he’s perfectly able to share publicly hither and yon, of course. And I have mine — which needs no public airing. (Revisiting two-year old blog drama for a blog that’s now dead? No thank you…)

    And for those who ever had any issues, concerns, etc. etc. with OurPDX, that means you have said issues, concerns, etc. with ME. I own it, pay for it and did my best to manage it, even while dealing with a longstanding family crisis. When that crisis became acute, my friend Robert jumped in to take it over for me — because he IS a friend.

    What have I learned from all of this? What did I get from OurPDX? The only thing really worth getting: friends. Especially friends who have your back, no matter what.

    The rest of it? Ancient history, people. Let it die. Go forth and do new things, meet new people, fill your lives with positivity. Or bile, if that’s your preference.

    Can this be the end, please?

  10. Jmartens says:

    woops, Betsy, looks like EnzymePDX shut down.

    In the meantime, ThePortlander is still going strong, growing double digits…and “redoing” local media.

  11. Robert says:

    Generally speaking, and several of the comments above would indicate that few of the folks replying above are any exception, if you have to publicly state that you’re doing something right then you probably aren’t.

    That said, I have the utmost respect for both PDX Pipeline and Dave Knows Portland. Both of them provide information and resources that I either can’t find anywhere else or they provide that information well ahead of the usual outlets.

  12. Jmartens says:

    @Robert- I’l assume your comments are directed at me.

    I’m not making claims that aren’t true, I’m just trying to wake up your self-absorbed clique of OurPDX/SiliconFlorist/SLL folks to the fact that other efforts exist. I’m so sick of you guys patting yourselves on the back, saying how great you all are and that you are ‘redoing media’ with your lightly read, hardly listened to content that you produce for your own jolly’s.

    I don’t have to tell people I’m doing something right, I’ll let my traffic numbers and the bank account speak for itself.

  13. Thomas says:

    Betsy, I do wish you the best and hope matters get better for you.

  14. Robert says:

    @Jmartens –

    Cute. I wasn’t referencing you, nor did I name you. If you took it as such than you’re an even bigger ass than your last sentence would indicate. I’m a member of no such clique, having left high school (and that word) behind me a long time ago. But, as I look over your previous comment I can see where I might have struck a nerve. Ever so sorry honey, ever so sorry.

    Enjoy your bank account. If you ever get lonely at the top of your own imagination be sure to drop me a line.

  15. faddah says:

    wah. i think the criticism here of is what is misplaced! i’ll miss it, and hope betsy brings it back soon…

  16. Will Tone says:

    @Jmartens, you sound like a pompous ass. Regardless of your alleged traffic and fat dookie gold chain bank account that you have gained from your blog, is that right for you to speak that way so that potential clients can read and go “well, I know it’s just people blogging and crapping on each other for shits and giggles, but I do not know if I want to put any more money into his Paypal account.”

    I do not know about cliques nor do I care,but it almost seems like there is a hint of jealously that you are not with them, or a specific clique. Or is that posse, crew, gang, knitting circle. YES, A PORTLAND, OREGON KNITTING CIRCLE!!! How about this, everyone get their favorite chairs and comfy pillows, get a tea pot, and start chugging on the liquid in the cup and wait until everyone has seizures.

    It looks like it’s leading to everyone silk-screening their own shirts saying “my blog is bigger than your blog”, I mean it’s a freaking blog. Friends are friends, and if they are not your friends, but don’t jump down people’s throats because OH, I am an opportunist that wants to let everyone know that while one ship fails, I have the rope that you can walk on over to my side of the docks because MY BLOG IS MORE SUPERIOR. I can haz bloggies, weeeeeeeee.

    Here I am on Silicon Florist, a great blog that serves its purpose to techies in PDX and those who want to be in the city. If someone doesn’t like the views, they can form their own blog. The more words and means of communication, the better. It’s best to generate brain matter on a regular basis than to just let it sit. However, when it leads to ego with an intention to mock and ridicule without remorse, that’s cold.

    I read blogs, be it with news or opinions, because I want to read, know, and know more. If people want to act like they’re in a tank while they are sipping their own urine bceause they feel it has the most nutrients that best benefits them and only them, so be it. Until then, I’m going to allow it to soak up to my neck to a point, then shower, and move on to read some other blogs. I can do that, and if I want to put money into the pockets of the people they may have on their site, so be it. So be it.

    It, on the other hand, is not you.

  17. [...] Read the thread about OurPDX and witness firsthand how one man can make himself look like a complete fucktard on [...]

  18. [...] week, the good folks at Silicon Florist bid adeu to OurPDX, Betsy Richter’s two-year-old local blog that, at times, featured a slew of [...]

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    Well, that’s got the number of my blog. It’d be nice to be as popular as Widmer Ale and generate enough traffic to pay the mortgage, but I write mine because I enjoy doing it, and won’t quit just because it isn’t as popular as the big dogs.

  20. [...] Read the thread about OurPDX and witness firsthand how one man can make himself look like a complete fucktard on [...]

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