The big day has arrived!

Moments ago, we retired the old Pacif­ic NW Por­tal, which has been online in its cur­rent incar­na­tion for over half a decade, and replaced it with Ver­sion 5.0, code­named New­port. (Pacif­ic NW Por­tal releas­es are named after cities and towns on the Ore­gon coast. The last major release was Sea­side).

Yaquina Bay Bridge
The Yaquina Bay Bridge is New­port’s most rec­og­niz­able land­mark. It first opened in Sep­tem­ber 1936 and cost more than $1 mil­lion ($16+ mil­lion in today’s dol­lars) to build. It con­sists of steel arch­es and rein­forced con­crete. (Pho­to by Trout, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license).

New­port is ded­i­cat­ed to the mem­o­ry of found­ing NPI board mem­ber Lynn Allen, who was a great men­tor and kind friend to me and the rest of our staff for many years. We lost Lynn to can­cer almost exact­ly ten months ago and miss her still.

I actu­al­ly first became acquaint­ed with Lynn a few days after Pacif­ic NW Por­tal ini­tial­ly launched on Jan­u­ary 31st, 2005. From the begin­ning, she was incred­i­bly sup­port­ive of the project, and it became one of her favorite things.

Lynn Allen
Found­ing NPI board mem­ber Lynn Allen (Pho­to: Lin­coln Potter)

On Feb­ru­ary 5th, 2005, only a few days after Pacif­ic NW Por­tal was first unveiled, Lynn sent a short note to NPI’s staff offer­ing her con­grat­u­la­tions. “Even a few days lat­er, the buzz around your site has been tremen­dous and right­ly so,” she wrote. “What a great idea to fur­ther the knit­ting togeth­er of pro­gres­sives from the entire region.”

A few months lat­er, at Dai­ly Kos, she expound­ed on those sentiments.

There’s some­thing won­der­ful hap­pen­ing in the Pacif­ic North­west and par­tic­u­lar­ly in “blue” Wash­ing­ton State.

Because we have a Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor and a (just bare­ly) Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leg­is­la­ture, we are able to show the coun­try what good gov­ern­ment real­ly means. We have strong activist envi­ron­men­tal and wom­en’s and social jus­tice groups. We have a robust pro­gres­sive grass­roots. We have a his­to­ry of being prac­ti­cal and real.

Now, just this year, we are grow­ing a strong lib­er­al blo­gos­phere that is help­ing tie all this togeth­er across three states and Pacif­ic NW Por­tal is key to this. Just as Dai­ly Kos and Talk­ing­PointsMemo and oth­ers nation­al sites have become a nation­al spokescen­ter for the lib­er­al blo­gos­phere, so too is Pacif­ic NW Por­tal doing that for our region. It is a very impor­tant cen­tral infor­ma­tion clear­ing­house and allows the rest of the pro­gres­sive blogs to have an echo cham­ber that ampli­fies what we are able to report and focus­es the grass­roots on the crit­i­cal issues of the day, the week, the year.

As a pro­gres­sive region, we are becom­ing a mod­el for the rest of the coun­try and Pacif­ic NW Por­tal can become a mod­el for oth­er region­al blo­gos­pheres as well.

Pacif­ic NW Por­tal is now near­ly sev­en years old (its birth­day is only a month and a week away). It has aged great­ly since its last major release — Ver­sion 4.0, or “Sea­side”, in May of 2006 — despite receiv­ing minor updates in the inter­ven­ing years. And that’s because the Web is a fast-chang­ing medi­um. Five years might as well be five decades… the Inter­net seems to have its own time.

But as of tonight, Sea­side is his­to­ry. It has been super­seded at last.

I want to stress that we did not devel­op its suc­ces­sor (New­port) in a vac­u­um. Pacif­ic NW Por­tal 5 is a site built for the 2012 web, not the 2007 web. It uses the HTML5 doc­type, WebM video for­mat, and, in many places, takes advan­tage of CSS3… while still man­ag­ing to be back­wards-com­pat­i­ble enough so it does­n’t look like a mess in old­er browsers. It was also test­ed on smart­phones and tablets in addi­tion to desk­top oper­at­ing systems.

In 2012, we will be fol­low­ing Mozil­la’s exam­ple and adopt­ing a rapid release cycle for Pacif­ic NW Por­tal. While we don’t plan to raise the ver­sion num­ber by an entire inte­ger every six weeks (we don’t see that as nec­es­sary), we do plan to release updates and improve­ments incre­men­tal­ly, just as Mozil­la now does with Fire­fox. So you can rest assured that more updates will be forth­com­ing on a reg­u­lar basis. Think of New­port as a begin­ning, not an end.

We cor­dial­ly invite you to explore the all-new Pacif­ic NW Por­tal 5 and share with us your com­ments, ques­tions, and sug­ges­tions.

Mer­ry Christ­mas and Hap­py Hanukkah!

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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