Local team
Portland has a thriving local Free Software scene and is home to over a half dozen active Debian developers. There are several active LUGs in the area, including the venerable PLUG, and the Ubuntu Oregon Loco. Portland State University also has strong ties to Debian, and runs much of the infrastructure for their engineering college on Ubuntu.
- Are you willing to help finish tasks from DebConfN-1, such as the final report and sponsor bags?
- Are any local team members linked (professionally/financially/personaly) with any of the organisations who will provide services (e.g. venue/food/accommodation) to DebConf? (Any links can be good or bad, but they should be stated publicly.)
Not as far as we know. Many of us have attended other events at the venue, some have organized other events at the venue, and many of us know people at Portland State University (especially a few in the CS department who have been active in free software).
 List of organizers
The current active volunteer organizers are:
- Steve Langasek (Debian Developer, attended DebConf 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
- Patty Langasek (Attended DebConf 4 and 6. Volunteered and helped Front Desk and Day Trip coordination on 7 and 10 and volunteered for 12)
- Note: No developers were permanently lost in either DebConf 7 or DebConf 10. Was also declared The Most Responsible Adult at DebConf 10.
- Allison Randal (Debian Maintainer, attended DebConf 11)
- Chase Douglas
- Tony Mancill (Debian Developer, attended DebConf 10)
- Kees Cook (Debian Developer, attended DebConf 8)
- Jonathan McDowell (Debian Developer, Debian Keyring Maintainer, attended DebConf 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Organized accommodations for DC7 and DC9)
- Nathan Williams (Ubuntu Oregon bigwig)
- Benjamin Kerensa (Ubuntu Oregon bigwig)
- Gerald Turner
Portland is home to a vibrant free software/open source community, additional volunteers will be drawn from:
- Portland Linux/Unix Group
- Ubuntu Oregon LoCo
- Free Geek
- Portland Perl Mongers
- Portland Python User Group
- PDX Git Together
- PDX Weekly Hackathon
- And More...
 Choice of cityPortland, Oregon has a population of approximately 600,000, with just over 2 million people in the Portland metropolitan area. A (humorous) taste of local culture may be found in episodes of "Portlandia". Historical weather and precipitation trends are very favorable for this time of year, sunny with highs around 25C/80F and lows around 14C/58F, so strolling through town should be quite pleasant during the day and night. Logistically it should be a straightforward location for hosting a DebConf:
- Portland is a city with a large tech industry; sourcing electronics should be no problem.
- Portland International Airport has direct flights from Amsterdam and Tokyo on Delta, and Portland is a 1 hour flight away from Seattle (SEA) and a 2 hour flight away from San Francisco (SFO), both of which have connections to many more international destinations in Europe and Asia. The Portland Airport also offers free wi-fi access to all guests and was ranked the top airport for business travelers in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler magazine for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.
- The city is well-connected with affordable public transportation, including a handicap-accessible light rail system that connects the airport directly with downtown (a 38-minute trip that costs $2.50 ). There's an abundance of mobile applications that help plan your route so you can travel like a pro. Additional resources on accessibility are available.
- Since SPI is a US non-profit 501(c)(3) it will be easy to run local payments directly through them.
- How friendly is your country towards foreigners?
As attendees of DebConf 10 in New York will tell you, the US is very friendly to foreigners. And further, you'll find most people in Portland fiercely proud of their diversity and welcoming to visitors.
Portland, OR also has no sales tax.
For beer drinkers, Portland is home to 38 distinct local breweries earning it the nickname "Beervana".
- Visas: Which/how many countries' citizens require getting a visa? How hard (bureaucratic, probable) is it to get it?
The same visa requirements apply to Portland as applied to DebConf 10. For DebConf10, Some people expressed concern about US immigration presuming the authority to seize laptops on entry. Not only was this not an issue in practice at DebConf10, the 9th Circuit Court recently rejected this interpretation of the US Constitution. This means that laptop seizures should not be even a theoretical issue for anyone entering the US through Seattle, Portland, or any airport in California.
- Are there any import regulations, which might affect DebConf? (e.g. a limit to number of notebooks / DVDs / other media you can bring in; hard regulations for money transfers; etc.)
Most of those things should be OK to bring in unlimited amounts for personal use. There are amounts allowed for duty-free gifts, plus regulations on typical things like alcohol/tobacco/fruits/vegetables/dairy/meats.
- Language: Do most people talk English? How hard is it for a foreigner to find their way around?
English is spoken everywhere. Spanish is also widely spoken, and most public signage is bilingual English/Spanish. Other less common minority languages in Portland include Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. French and Italian are used mostly for pickup lines in bars.
- Smoking: What are the local regulations about smoking?
Smoking is prohibited on public transportation and indoors in all restaurants, pubs, and bars in the state of Oregon. Restaurants, pubs, and bars may permit smoking in outdoor seating areas.
Smoking is prohibited in some areas of the Portland State University campus: all university buildings, balconies, patios, awnings, overhead walk ways, covered walk ways between buildings (which covers main entrance to the Smith auditorium), stairwells, vehicles, parking garages and any other enclosed areas, and within 7 meters of any doorway or marked air intake. One section of the campus, the Urban Plaza, is an entirely tobacco free area (this section is *not* adjacent to the auditoriums, hacklabs, or sleeping quarters). In between buildings there are random ashtrays, with only a few clearly marked no smoking areas.
Official PSU policy.
 Conference Facilities
Our venue is the Portland State University conference facility, located at 1825 SW Broadway, Portland OR 97201.
- How much does it cost to rent these facilities?
The facility offers multiple different rooms and configurations, ranging from conference room seating for 15 up to auditorium seating for 600. General pricing is listed in the online pricing page and room descriptions.
Our target package is USD 7200/week, which includes:
- One main plenary room with capacity for 200. This room has removable partitions that convert it into two talk rooms during sessions, one @ 98 places, one @ 70 places.
- One additional talk room @ 48 places.
- Two hacklabs, one @ 90 places and one @ 52 places, for a combined capacity of 142, plus access to balcony seating (without power) overlooking the park.
If attendance is higher than expected, we will have the option of reserving more or larger rooms closer to the date of the event (subject to availability).
Hacklabs and talk rooms would all be located in the same building. Sponsored accomodations in The Ondine and The Broadway are < 250m away by foot. Paid accomodation options in the area include the University Place Hotel, 800m from the venue by foot. The university campus is in the heart of Portland, so there are numerous dining options available, including on-campus dining service that can accommodate large groups.
The building has limited hours; a 24-hour hacklab might be negotiable with additional costs for security. There is also common space in the residence hall that might serve as a night hacklab.
- ~-Can smaller auditoriums be merged into a bigger one?-~
Yes. Recommended rental package includes assumption that the auditoriums will be merged for the plenary opening and closing sessions.
- Are tables/chairs fixed, or can we arrange them to fit more people/give more room to the people that we need?
All furniture is movable and can be adjusted as needed, however fire codes will most likely prohibit exceeding the stated capacities of the rooms.
- Is the venue ready for handicapped people? Note: Keep in mind that it's not only motion-handicapped - Is the area safe for people with any kind of handicap? (There are sight and hearing-impaired people, too.) Bonus: What people is it not good for?
Having the conference venue at a public university in the United States ensures compliance with ADA. Speakers will need to be made aware of concerns of vision or hearing-impaired attendees to ensure their presentations will accommodate them as well.
- Access to all areas with ramps and/or elevators? (Note: carrying somebody over some steps is not usually an acceptable option.)
The university buildings have many ramp and wheelchair accessible entrances. Classrooms and auditoriums will also have appropriate spaces for wheelchair access in accordance with the ADA.
- Are there people with experience handling handicapped people, who checked that?
Yes. Our contact for the accommodations portion of the venue was able to adequately describe ADA-accessible areas, ongoing improvements and results of inspections. Handicapped areas are clearly labeled, and staff is trained to assist when necessary. Patty was present for the conversation regarding handicapped accommodations.
- How much are the meals per person per day?
Base price for three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) at the conference is $20/person/day. It may be possible to negotiate a better rate. The cafeteria is open to attendees who are not staying in sponsored housing. Catered coffee service is available in the venue for an additional fee if we want to consider this.
- Is the eating place near the talks place / the hacklabs?
The above meal price is for the cafeteria in The Ondine (residence hall), which is two blocks from the venue. The layout of the city also ensures plenty of restaurants, food carts, and dining facilities are within an easy walking range.
- What kind of food would be served?
- In what fashion? (service to the table, limited buffet, open buffet, etc.)
- Would food for vegetarian / vegan / lactose-intolerant / gluten-sensitive / religious (of any denomination) people be available?
Portland has one of the highest rates of food allergies, and as such, is very sensitive to dietary requests and restrictions and a wide variety of restaurant and food cart options. Cafeteria dining would want to know about dietary restrictions in advance in order to prepare appropriate quantities of food.
- How much meals do we need to order to get those kind of "special" meals?
- Will it cost extra to get those special meals?
TBD, but probably not.
 Network connectivity
- Is the area already wired with regular network infrastructure? (much preferrably: 100Mbps or 1Gbps switched)
Network connectivity is considered a basic living essential in Portland. You'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere in the city that ISN'T wired or wireless.
PSU campus not only has wireless that covers all the buildings, it also covers the parks adjacent to the student union.
- How much does it cost and how difficult is it to get a big internet connection? (10/20 Mbits at least)
PSU has a large network infrastructure with a big pipe.
- How much work does it imply to cover the area with wireless links?
The PSU campus is already fully covered by Wifi.
- If we use someone else's infrastructure, how easy / flexible can that be handled, regarding routing / firewall / ip-range / public access / other stuff?
Any identified needs can be addressed if we have sufficient lead time. The PSU network has been sufficiently robust for prior conferences.
- Do we have restrictions on allowed ports?
Likely port 25 is blocked.
- Are we traffic-shaped? Or can we set a traffic shaper if we need so?
Likely there is no shaping used nor available.
- Would it be possible to set up the network before Debcamp? (a day or two, earlier would be nicer, in order to handle problems gracefully. Additional weeks for wireless.)
Yes, the campus wireless and network are already up.
 Special rooms
Both for server and video rooms:
- General conditions for the rooms
Small office-sized, close to proposed meeting rooms and about half the size. The room can be locked with access to limited persons.
- Have they/do they need air conditioning?
Air conditioning is common in all public buildings in Portland. All considered venues have environmental controls, which will be handled by the building maintainers.
- What electrical load can they handle?
Venue has been used for Linux conferences recently and is confident in their ability to handle streaming video as well as personal video and server equipment. They will have staff on hand to help our video team and speakers with necessary video and audio controls, and have assured us they are used to requests of streaming video for the conferences they've hosted in the past and were able to easily accommodate those requests.
Rooms are USD 28/person/night (assumes two people to a room). Rooms include either a private bathroom, or (for most rooms in The Ondine) a shared bathroom en suite with another double room (so, maximum 4 people per shared bathroom). Rooms in The Broadway also include a kitchenette, and rooms in The Ondine with a shared bathroom include a shared kitchenette.
The Broadway also has one of the largest eco-roofs in the city of Portland. We will try to arrange a [tour] of this as part of DebConf.
- Is the place where people are going to sleep near the conference facilities?
[The Ondine]: 1912 SW 6th Ave Portland, OR 97201 [The Broadway]: 625 SW Jackson St, Portland, OR 97201 Sponsored accomodations would be located < 250m from the conference venue. There will be an ample number of hotels in the area for non-sponsored accommodations, and we will request rooms be reserved with conference discounts.
- Is it able to handle a varying number from 200 to 500 people?
Room for up to 250 people in The Ondine. Additional capacity for 270 people in The Broadway at a higher rate of USD 33/person/night.
- Is it able to handle non-native speaking people? (i.e. do the people at the sleeping facilities speak English?)
The native language in Portland, OR is English. Spanish is also a common language and an interpreter can usually be found easily.
- Will there be a need of a "Debconf" info-desk, or would the local (hotel or such) people be able to handle that themselves? (See InfoDesk for details on duties)
For general conference information, yes, there will need to be a Debconf info-desk to help attendees. For room registration and conference concerns, however, the university will handle key allocations and registrations.
- Will it be possible for couples to stay in their own rooms?
- How many room keys would be available?
Each attendee will have their own room key.
- Are there other hotels around?
Yes. A benefit to hosting in downtown Portland is the number of hotels near the waterfront that would be in easy walking distance to Portland State University's campus.
- Are there rooms ready for handicapped people? How many?
There are designated handicapped-accessible rooms in the residence halls. Numbers TBD, but expected to be sufficient for our requirements.
 Fun and Free time
Downtown Portland is littered with pubs, breweries, pizza places, food carts and cafes everywhere.
This is a short list of possibilities. If Portland is chosen for the DebConf location, many more suggestions will be made.
- What would be a possible Day Trip?
One very possible day-trip plan would be a short bus ride out to the Columbia River Gorge to visit the Columbia River Vista House for a taste of Oregon history and settlement, then ride along the Scenic Highway to Multnomah Falls for light hiking or just enjoying the waterfalls. If feasible, there would still be time for another short bus ride to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood for more hiking or just lodge dwelling before returning to downtown Portland.
- Is the proposed location ready to receive people with disabilities?
Handicap accessibility will be taken into account when the final day trip itinerary is chosen. Handicap accessibility is addressed in the majority of public spaces thanks in large part to previous United States legislation.
- How expensive would that be?
Expenses would include transportation to and from the day trip area and food. The parks won't have admission, though some areas might (The Oregon Aquarium at the coast, for example). Wineries and breweries might charge for large group tours. Once the team decides on an appropriate trip, we can determine costs.
 Local Sponsors
- Do you have a list of prospective sponsors that might be interested in helping the conference? (By providing venues, money, hardware, connectivity, etc.)
Among local sponsors we'll approach are Free Geek, Puppet Labs, Intel, Oregon State University, OSDL, and the City of Portland. We have Portland State University faculty sponsorship for the event, which makes us eligible for a discounted rate for university facilities.
- Have you spoken to these organisations yet, to find out if they might sponsor, and what conditions and deadlines they have? (Note that many large organisations which provide funding for events need to be approached a long time in advance.)
We have only approached a couple of the prospective sponsors, and have the blessing of Portland State University for hosting.
- Do you have promises/pledges from any of these sponsors already?
- When (and why) would be the best time to host DebConf at your location?
Mid-to-late August is when the university is emptiest. We will need to be done with the conference and cleared out by Labor Day (1 Sept 2014). Ideally, we would host sometime between 10 Aug 2014 to 30 Aug 2014. Earlier in the summer is possible too, but would require planning earlier to ensure availability.
Weather during this time is beautiful, hovering between 75-80F/21-25C, with low humidity.
- What is your backup plan if your preferred venue isn't available at that time?
Our university contact informs us their summer of 2014 is currently clear in that time frame. As long as the bid process concludes before the end of March 2013, this venue will be available and can be reserved.
- Is there a provisional reservation in place for a particular date? When does the provisional reservation expire?
Until the 2014 bid is decided, we will not place a reservation for the venue.