Portland Passport Project – Pumping the Brakes

by Research Club

We Have Not Achieved Escape Velocity

About a month ago at our Cross Community Summit, I said that we’d know in a month whether or not we’ve got the necessary momentum to launch this project. I’m a little — but not a lot — sorry to say that we don’t. That is, we don’t have what we need to launch the project in the way I wanted to — from the ground up, using participatory, distributed methods instead of conventional ones. 

What Does this Mean for the Project?

It means that I am calling off development on the website for the network, and we will not be printing passports.

Whether or not we still do prom is up to the people and groups who want to be part of it. I’m pretty sure we’ll have something fun.

We will still launch the International Waters online calendar. That’s coming soon! There are still lots of cool things going on in the next couple months that deserve your attention.

Why Not Keep Going?

The Portland Passport Project was a challenge and an experiment — to launch an ambitious project using only the support of the community that would use it rather than through outside support and advertising. 

After talking to many, many people in many different communities, I’m convinced that the idea is too abstract and the schedule is too tight to motivate enough people to participate enough to launch a project this size without funding or a massive PR campaign.

However, thanks to the participation of an impressive variety of talented artists, developers, musicians, organizers, and designers, we hosted two amazing, interdisciplinary events, and inspired a few more. Check out the International Waters calendar for a cross-section of this city’s schmorgesborg of culture.

What’re Our Options?

Working with others on smaller scales — There are already a variety of projects that accomplish similar things to our goals on a more specific level.

Conventional means —  trying to attract outside support and non-participatory promotions. 

Someone takes the reins — This can’t be done without a dedicated administrative board. With enough volunteers, we could try again.

These tracks require a lot of homework and preparation so that means a) they won’t happen for a while and b) the only participants will be those doing the homework.

I am going to take the idea for the network and the conversations that it has started and look for other contexts where they can be useful. But I’m going to take my time doing so. 

What if you really want to see this happen?

A lot of people do, but we haven’t been able to turn that desire into enough action. If you are prepared and able to put in consistent hours on this, email info@research-club.org

Stay tuned for a post about the future of Research Club.