Continuing the conversation about the Portland startup community

Last week, I took the opportunity to sit down and share some thoughts — and concerns — about the Portland startup community that had been rattling around in my head. Even questioning, to some extent, whether it this iteration even behaves as a “community.” I’m always heartened when these sorts of posts (okay, rants) spark more conversation. And that’s exactly what’s occurring over on the Portland Startups Slack.

Stephen Greeninterim executive director of Business for a Better Portland, organizer of PitchBlack, and unofficial mayor of Portland — recently took the opportunity to share his perspective and that has rekindled the conversation. So I wanted to be sure folks were aware. Especially if you saw earlier versions of the thread.

This is a great thread…. I feel like the angst we are feeling in Portland revolves around a few things; general macro uncertainty, we are coming out of two years unlike any other with more questions than answers about Portland’s future. WHO is changing, Portland’s more diverse than its ever been with women and other underestimated groups leaning in to their rightful spots at tables they have historically been absent from. Legacy orgs are struggling with their value prop while also working against a strong trust headwinds, where folks are asking real questions about who they serve, who they benefit (and at who’s detriment) and all this is revealing that many of the orgs here have never really served community but instead were working to steer a narrative about it. Purging of popularity chasers, the country’s infatuation with PDX in the early 10’s brought a lot folks who came here to consume community but whom never committed to building it. Complacent public sector, while the city and state are quick to claim wins they have no one behind their walls working in and with community daily. At the end of the day I will take our problems over other cities that I have been to.

Personally, I think this is an important and nuanced conversation that needs to be had. Obviously. But I also think it’s a conversation that needs your voice and opinion as a member of — and participant in — the community. So I’m both inviting you to join and encouraging you to participate, please.

I know. I know. If there’s one thing that Portland does exceptionally well it is continuing to talk about things ad nauseam without actually doing anything about the actual problem. Or taking any action. It’s an incredibly academic “avoiding the actual issue” approach. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time and place for conversation to inspire that action.

I think. Then again, I could be wrong.

In any case, if you’re interested in joining this conversation or simply reading what others in the community have shared, please feel free to join us over on the Portland Startups Slack instance. Or just join us there, anyway. Because it would be nice to have you there.