Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 30, 2012.


A phone app and website giving a tour of Portland history through interviews, art and photos.

Here we go again! Back in December, we ran a Kickstarter campaign for Know Your City: Portland's Social History App. While we didn't reach our goal, we've since received funding from Oregon Arts Commission, Travel Portland and the Regional Arts & Culture Council....and we need your help to raise the difference. Let's do this!!! 

Know Your City: Portland's Social History App will feature stories about people and places vital to the city's cultural heritage. Portland has been home to many ethnic groups and cultures — including Native American, African American, Chinese, Japanese, Greeks and Jews, among others. Because of urban development, some of these communities have little physical remnants of their neighborhoods. Consequently, many visiting Portland for the first time — and even those that have lived here many years — are unaware of the city's history. Know Your City will bring these stories to the surface through oral history, mapping and smart phone technology, as well as a corresponding Website. 

The initial version of the project will feature 15-20 sites, such as:
    •    Goldenwest Hotel
    •    Oregon Jewish Museum
    •    Skidmore Fountain
    •    SW Stark (Portland’s gay history)
    •    Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
    •    Street Roots
    •    Huber’s Restaurant
    •    Cast Iron District
    •    Union Station
    •    more!

Each site will have photos and text, along with short audio clips with selected guest experts who will speak to the cultural significance of each place.

We have already raised $6,500 in foundation support...all we need is the remaining $3,000 in individual donations and we can make this free to everyone! Check out our great rewards to the right; more information on tour guides and other incentives follows. Thanks for supporting our work to broaden knowledge of Portland — past, present and future!

Carye Bye is author of Hidden Portland, a small-run artist guidebook that has sold more than 1,000 copies in its first year. An expert on museums and collections in Portland, she has led tours by foot and bicycle for more than 10 years. More info here.

Michael Munk is author of The Portland Red Guide and has published widely in the Oregon Historical QuarterlyPacific Northwest QuarterlyThe Portland Alliance and The Oregonian, which listed him among Portland's "local literary luminaries." More info here. 

Art for the Millions pamphlet
Art for the Millions is a 28-page guided tour of Portland public works projects of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federally-funded program that provided relief to millions of idle workers during the height of the Great Depression. More info here.

Northwest Passage book
Northwest Passage
 is an 88-page book and audio CD highlighting the history of Portland’s burgeoning independent music scene. More info here.

Oregon History Comics
Oregon History Comics
 is a box set of 10 comics telling little-known stories from our state's history. 
From women’s suffrage in Oregon to the tragic Vanport Flood to the legendary all-ages venue, the X-Ray Café, this box set presents oft-dry histories in an exciting and accessible format — through bold illustrations from some of Portland’s best and brightest comics illustrators. More info here.

Know Your City is a project by the Dill Pickle Club, in collaboration with:
App Designer & Developer: Matt Blair
Kickstarter Video Production: James Wilson
Kickstarter Video Music: Copy
Audio Producer: Elias Foley
Project Illustrator: Kate Bingaman-Burt
Project design and promotion: Julianna Johnson and Kate Giambrone


  • There will be two primary ways to access Know Your City: 1. A cross-platform mobile app for iOS and Android (and maybe a few other platforms) that will be as close to a native app as possible. 2. An HTML5/Javascript website designed for mobile browsers, which will use features such as geolocation where available. (This will also work on desktop browsers.)

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  • We're committed to both open source and open data, and will advocate for all the experts that participate in the project to share their work. The goal would be some kind of Creative Commons license. Some interviewees and/or participating organizations may have reservations about sharing, and we will do our best to encourage them to be open with their materials.

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  • The information we gather will be stored in a geo-queryable database (probably GeoCouch) and it will be available through an API, which will also serve both the phone app and the mobile website. Our goal will be to make it easily available for re-use.

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  • We didn't mention specific technologies in the main project description for two reasons: 1. We are aiming for a general audience. 2. We haven't made any final decisions about specific frameworks or tools. This project has been through a number of iterations over the past year. About six months ago, we decided to postpone any detailed technical specification and design until we actually know we're going to be able to do the project. Mobile tech just moves too fast to choose specific technologies 9+ months before we start implementation. HP's dithering over WebOS and Adobe's recent announcement about Flash on mobile [] are two great examples of that. If I had to choose today, it might be PhoneGap, paired with CouchDB to provide the API. But it could be Titanium or Sencha Touch, or a framework I haven't heard of, or one that hasn't been announced yet. We also have some opportunities for collaboration in mind.

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  • We will look for opportunities to collaborate and build this project in ways that benefit Portland as well as other cities and projects around the world. That may be data management scripts, that may be glue code or bug fixes, or adding a module to a framework, or sharing details and documentation about configuration of existing open source frameworks and libraries. We don't know yet. But we are committed to building this out in an open and collaborative way, and sharing the work we do under standard open licenses that clearly allow for re-use. I prefer the MIT license and Creative Commons Attributions licenses myself, but we'll have to choose licenses that are compatible with the technologies we integrate and the experts and organizations who participate.

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pledged of $3,000 goal
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    48 backers

    Make the app free to everyone! Get advance access to the project before it is released to the general public; Know Your City sticker + your name in the credits.

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    15 backers

    Get everything at the $10 level + Know Your City button + copy of Art For the Millions pamphlet.

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    9 backers Limited (6 left of 15)

    Get a jar of artisan made pickles + invite to launch event (FOR LOCALS ONLY — MUST PICK UP FROM OUR DOWNTOWN OFFICE).

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    11 backers

    Get everything above + invite to launch event + copy of Northwest Passage book.

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    Get everything at the $50 level + a box set of Oregon History Comics, signed by editor Sarah Mirk.

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    Get everything at the $50 level + a tour of Portland with Hidden Portland author Carye Bye.

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    Get everything at the $50 level + a rare tour of Portland with Portland Red Guide author Mike Munk.

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    Get everything at the $50 level + an original drawing (appox 8.5” x 5.5”) by Kate Bingaman-Burt.

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    Get everything at the $50 level + a private tour with the project team, getting an exclusive preview before the project goes live.

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Funding period

- (31 days)