Chuck Lauer Vose joins the Syndicate Board

Chuck Lauer Vose - Red HairWe are excited to have Chuck Lauer Vose join our Board of Directors, starting this month. Chuck has been active in many meetups and events locally, including PDX Ruby, founding Hack & Help, and generally being super encouraging to beginner programmers in town.

Chuck was born on the fringes of society and adopted by a well-meaning pack of weasels who taught him how to dance; he’s been leaning on that skill ever since. He also works with Kirsten on PDX.rb and serves on the curriculum advisory board for Epicodus. At work, he writes Ruby code that makes the world a better place to live. If you need to find him, look for “the tall guy with the hair” (seriously).

Welcome, Chuck!

Clarification regarding Ignite Portland and other local Ignites

In light of recent events, we feel compelled to issue the following clarification.

Stumptown Syndicate’s Ignite Portland is a separate event from and not related to the recently canceled Ignite Bridgetown or the upcoming Ignite TAO.

Ignite Portland is a continuation of the first Ignite-branded event held in Portland. It was originally hosted by Legion of Tech, and Stumptown Syndicate kept the Ignite Portland flame burning when Legion of Tech ceased its programs in 2011. The Stumptown Syndicate Code of Conduct applies to Ignite Portland, is it does to all of our events.

The current planning committee for Ignite Portland includes: Sherri Koehler, Reid Beels, J-P Voilleque, Lucas Charles, Alicia Nagel, and Steve Lewis. To our knowledge, there is no overlap between the current organizers of Ignite Portland and that of Ignite Bridgetown, or the Ignite event that TAO is hosting.

Ignite Portland 13 is scheduled for April 8th (RSVP) and we’re currently accepting proposals through February 22nd.

You met our fundraising challenge — thank you!

Open Source Bridge 2014

Thank you to all our donors for meeting our fundraising goal for 2014; nearly a hundred of you donated, and Dreamwidth gave $7,000 to finish matching Sumana Harihareswara’s challenge.

We can’t say enough how much we appreciate your support, and your vote of confidence in what Stumptown Syndicate is doing. OpenHatch called the Portland tech community “a global leader in showing how open source can be welcoming, diverse … hospitable.” We have experienced that ourselves, and we look forward to using this $30,000 to make it truer than ever.

You’ll see more details in the coming months, but for now: thank you!

Please match this $15,000 donation by December 31st at 1:30pm!

Update 12/31 1:30pm PT: WE DID IT!! Nearly 100 of you donated over $8,500.00 and another donor has offered the difference needed to match Sumana’s $15k. Thank you so much everyone! We’re looking forward to an amazing 2015.

This is a guest post by Sumana Harihareswara, Open Source Bridge speaker 2010-2014

Sumana at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

Sumana at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

I’m donating up to $15,000 to the Stumptown Syndicate — depending on how much you are willing to match by December 29th 31st at 1:30pm. Please join me by donating today and doubling your impact!

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Stumptown Syndicate works to create resilient, radically inclusive tech and maker communities that empower positive change. Open Source Bridge, one of its core programs, is the tech conference that has imprinted itself on my heart — informative technical talks, inspiring ideas that help me improve how I do my work, and belly laughs and great food. I love that I can tell friends “Come to OSB!” without having to add “but watch out for…” the way I do with so many other conferences. Hospitality lives in the DNA of Open Source Bridge, so it’s a place where people from different projects and backgrounds can share their experiences as equals. I especially appreciate that it’s an inclusive all-genders tech conference where I’m never the only woman in the room; in fact, in 2014, half the speakers were women.

Liene Verzemnieks at BarCamp Portland. Image by @reidab.

Liene Verzemnieks at BarCamp Portland. Image by @reidab.

Stumptown demonstrates its values before, during, and after OSBridge, and documents them to make a playbook other event planners can reuse. The Syndicate encourages volunteers to help make Open Source Bridge happen (showing appreciation by giving them free access to the conference), encourages them with a reassuring form and clear expectations, and mentors them with structured orientations. The Code of Conduct, accessible venues, clearly labelled food, cheap or free admissions, and open source conferenceware all model effective and ethical collaboration.

But, until now, Stumptown Syndicate hasn’t had the money to host childcare at its events, to offer travel scholarships to OSBridge speakers from other countries, or improve the audiovisual experience (with faster video processing or transcripts/captioning). And it’s had to host its events at borrowed or rented venues, which reduces the Syndicate’s ability to nurture new events and communities; more money in the bank opens the possibility of a more permanent event space.

Amber Case at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

Amber Case at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

Still, the Syndicate’s done a lot since its founding in December 2010. Every year, Stumptown Syndicate supports or directly hosts 2-4 events in Portland. Hundreds of participants have grown, personally and professionally, via OSBridge, WhereCampPDX, Ignite Portland, BarCamp Portland, and the user groups it supports. Its work on Calagator keeps the community connected, and its focus on inclusion and diversity has helped everyone in Portland’s tech scene benefit. Including, probably, you, if you’re reading this. And it’s done that with about $110,000 each year, a mix of donations and sponsorships.

With your help, the Syndicate can plan further in advance and make the events you already love even better. And if Stumptown Syndicate volunteers don’t have to worry as much about fundraising, they can concentrate more on revamping Calagator, mentoring newer developers, and enriching Portland’s tech scene — and documenting their successes so people like me can copy them.


That’s why I’m willing to give up to $15,000 to Stumptown Syndicate. I’ll match donations starting today and ending on December 29th, whether corporate or individual, one-time or recurring memberships. Please donate now to help raise $30,000 for the infrastructure of inclusivity!

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Stumptown Syndicate is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Contributions to Stumptown Syndicate are tax-deductible in the U.S.

Welcome Melissa Chavez, our newest Board member!

Effective September 1, Melissa Chavez joins our Board of Directors. Melissa is a long-time contributor to Syndicate activities, most recently serving as Chair of our Communications Committee.

Melissa Chavez gets a surprising amount done without caffeine. She is a web developer and data journalist who utilizes open source technology in her designs, research, mapping, and reporting. In her free time, Melissa documents street art, records locations of unisex and gendered restrooms in the metro area, reads sci-fi, and contemplates world domination.

Welcome, Melissa!

Volunteer Appreciation Party – August 24, 2013

Have you volunteered at one of our events? Want to help out in the future? Come party!

To celebrate all of the amazing volunteers come together to make Stumptown Syndicate events successful, we’re throwing a little shindig. Join us on Saturday, August 24 for a picnic in the park with roller skating!

We’ll be providing some party trays from Nicholas Restaurant, picking up some beverages, and securing an alcohol permit for the park. Feel free to bring food or drinks to share (vegan/vegetarian preferred) or games to play.

The Details

Saturday, August 24, 2013
Picnic starts at 1:30pm
Skating starts at 3:30pm
View on Calagator

Mt. Scott Park & Roller Rink
View Map

Thanks again for all your help making our tech community better. We hope to see you at the party!

Announcing Monthly Happy Hour Socials

Photo by reidab

Photo by reidab

Beginning in August, the Stumptown Syndicate will be hosting a monthly happy hour on the fourth Friday of every month. This is a great opportunity to hang out and mingle with other amazing members of the tech community as well as to meet members of the Stumptown Syndicate.

This month, we’ll be at the Green Dragon (928 SE 9th Ave) from 4-6pm on Friday, August 23rd. Come join us!

Calagator link.

OSCON is next week and we’ll be there! (volunteers needed)

We’ll be at O’Reilly’s OSCON next week. Not only are we running a booth in the non-profit pavilion of the expo hall, but we’re also giving a tutorial called Community-Driven Event Planning. So, please stop by and say hi!

The Expo hall is open during the following times:

  • Tuesday, 7/17: 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Opening Reception)
  • Wednesday, 7/18: 10:00am 4:30pm, 5:40pm – 7:00pm (Booth Crawl)
  • Thursday, 7/19: 10:00am – 5:00pm

If you don’t already have a ticket for OSCON, use the code OS13FOS for a 20% discount, or register for an Expo hall pass (free with code PDXEXPO).

Also, we’re looking for a few volunteers to help staff our booth. If you’re interested in helping for an hour or two, let us know.

Reflecting on Five Years of Open Source Bridge

While Stumptown Syndicate is younger than Open Source Bridge, our annual open source technology conference, many of the same people have been involved in both efforts from their beginnings. As we celebrate our fifth Open Source Bridge, we reflect upon what we have learned so far.

Creating inclusive spaces enables attendees to focus on what matters.

When we feel welcome and safe, we create space to have all sorts of conversations that we wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. We’re able to talk about technology as well as culture and how the two are interrelated. We have the energy to focus on the things that brought us to Open Source Bridge, like wanting to learn a new programming language, or finding out about tools and techniques that will help us do our jobs.

Inclusion is in the details: food, t-shirts, social activities, and more.

The details matter. Over the last 5 years, in response to attendee feedback, we’ve learned that the following ensures everyone feels welcome and is able to participate:

  • enacting a comprehensive Code of Conduct
  • providing food everyone can eat
  • hosting social events where the focus is not on alcohol
  • creating areas of respite away from high-energy social interaction
  • providing event t-shirts in a full range of fits and sizes

And we’re constantly learning and applying more by listening to our community.

Positive change in our community is carried forward.

What we do enables others to go out and use these tools in their own communities, events, and workspaces. Open Source Bridge attendees take what they’ve learned from our event, and they apply this knowledge elsewhere. Our efforts help minorities and allies make the case for the things they need in order to participate everywhere.

The end result is that a more diverse set of people are able to join and contribute, and even people who contributed before have a better experience. We’re still learning and improving, but this is the practice that matters to us, and we’re excited to continue in the future.

We end every conference with a wrap-up and feedback session, where we solicit feedback that shapes future conferences. If you have thoughts on our five years of Open Source Bridge, please share them in the comments!