Open Collective
Open Collective
Winter Solstice Update
Published on December 21, 2022 by Exeunt

Happy Winter Solstice, friends!

We have a major update forthcoming in our Bulletin #3 (please check out our Bulletin #1 and Bulletin #2 as well!), but we wanted to post a quick reflection here on the occasion of the solstice - and the encouragement of OCF, which has real institutional considerations

PDX Regenerative Tech Commons has been around for about 6 months now. Part of that time has been a period of idea absorption - a conceptual self-audit if you will - including a cosmological deep dive from one of our members, some freewheeling discussions such as one that led us to why the Benedictine order may be the first internet protocol, an inordinate obsession with the phrase "stigmergic medium," and some oversea communications with some of the most important thinkers about peer production, regenerative enterprise and the commons. This exploratory period was made real when we had our first meeting, a well-attended gathering at a beer hall in NW Portland where we met permaculture practitioners, community organizers, open source advocates, blockchain devs, artists, eco-psychologists, and more. Ideas and hopes were shared- and so were resources.

On that last note, it came us no small surprise when one of our new friends offered us access to his large vacant warehouse in SE Portland, a space he wishes to build out into a functional community center for people aligned around values of resilience and regeneration. Being an early addition, members of PRTC were tasked with doing much of the initial coordination work, and the following weeks were a dizzying period of meeting new people & surveying the landscape of orgs informal and formal. There were talks of food sovereignty projects, seed exchanges, material production rigs, screen printing stations, large immersive art installations, and so much more as the physical space became a kind of material egregore for the dreams of a community of makers and thinkers who are at once grimly realistic about what the future might hold & childishly optimistic about what the present could allow.

This space is taking on its own organizational life, and we are lucky to be welcome in its circle - it has super-jumped our coalition building project, while requiring no capital investment from us (at least in the short term). With the early stages of networking and mapping out the territory being our main goal this far, we have had no real need to touch the funds in the Open Collective account. However, as we've gotten a sense of what the community does and does not need - e.g. what infrastructure is already in place in terms of open-design friendly maker space, alternative supply chain & urban permaculture initiatives, etc - we have solidified our vision around exactly how Portland Regenerative Technology Commons can help facilitate resource share among a wide range of aligned community groups in Portland. No spoiler alerts, but it's going to involve a piece of infrastructure that our resource-rich urban community is still lacking - that is, a community-interior alternative finance channel that is not just posture, but can offer a practical option for organizations, small businesses, affinity groups and more. 

Just a quick check in here - expect a minor rebranding and a more thorough statement on these developments as 2023 approaches & we release our Bulletin #3. The greater specificity of this new, more implementation-focused period will allow us to pursue funding more aggressively, especially in the form of grants. The footwork we've done to meet and develop relationships with diverse sectors of the community (shout out City Repair, Elkenmist, the CNC Collective and other good folks at Green Anchors PDX!) means we have the positioning to generate some network effects, and the infrastructure around it for real community autonomy. 

Whither extraction; the generative age is upon is!