The evolution of a local community connections and communications venue took another leap forward on August 1st.
By Laura Swanson
The iconic “BBQ” list – a uniquely North County way to “get your message out”, be it an event announcement, wanted/for sale or free items, for rent/lease, lost and found, general interest or political, messages have flowed into the now over 1,100 email addresses for nearly a decade. But that came to an end, on July 31st as subscribers received this message, “Be it known to you that this day is the final day of operation of the old BBQ email platform – July 31, 2015. Starting tomorrow – August 1, 2015 — there will be no BBQ messages sent to your email inbox in the present fashion.” And a new beginning, the BBQ announcements and information will now be available on a new web-based format at www.northcoastbbq.com.
The BBQ has humble beginnings from an attempt in the early 1990’s to establish a local currency “North Coast Notes”, which ended up being traded mainly at Mother Nature’s Grocery and CARTM, that developed into a trade directory and then a calendar of events. Managed by various individuals over the years, the “BBQ” was coined by Chuck McLaughlin as Barbara McLaughlin became one of the main managers. “Barbecue” was a nickname for McLaughlin at job in Cannon Beach, as there were two Barbaras on staff. Chuck took over the day-to-day operations of the BBQ about a decade ago as Barbara’s involvement with other community activities increased. “I can do this for you,” said Chuck. “It’s an important community communication device. We have lots of subscribers that are older people that don’t get out much, and we keep them connected.” Chuck continued, “We made changes, adding categories and tweaking it as we went along. It just took on a life of it’s own, growing mainly by word of mouth.” Barbara added, “At first it was slow growth, but over the past couple years, it’s been exponential growth.”
BBQ subscribers were notified of the coming change in mid-July, and the planned transition to happen September 1st. “The intial test of the new platform went so well, we decided to go ahead and launch, transition on August 1st,” explained Tim Garvin, “The Tech Toolman”. Garvin approached McLaughlin earlier this year about ideas to streamline the posting and maintenance required by the email based service. “I saw what Chuck was doing, posting hundreds of times per day to multiple lists,” said Garvin. “I wanted to find a simple way for him and easy for the readers to access information,” he added. The new web-based BBQ can be found at www.northcoastbbq.com and is a password-protected “private” website. Send a message to email@example.com to request the password and to post messages, following the established protocol just as before. “With the new website, postings are organized by topic area as well as available on the main page as they are posted. And now all Chuck does is forward the message to the website that is set up like blog.”
“Out of the blue Tim volunteered, donated his time,” said McLaughlin. “He’s been magnificent and patient.” He continued, “At some point, I’m going to bow out, and the BBQ needed to be in a form that made it easy for someone else to take over.” Garvin moved to the area about a year ago, after working for Best Buy’s “Geek Squad”. “I’ve been a computer nerd my entire life,” commented Garvin. “I love teaching people about computers and helping them utlize this valuable tool. Right away, I became aware of the BBQ and the important role it serves in the community as a needed resource and I wanted to see it continue. And now, it’s streamlined for Chuck. What used to require hundreds of emails/postings, can now be done in one step. And it’s easy to add adminstrators.”
The BBQ has always been and will remain a free service. “Over the years, people have always asked about donations and such,” said Barbara. “And we’ll take donations, and then give them to worthy local nonprofits, such as Fulcrum Community Resources.” The transition has gone very smoothly and feedback has been very positive.” BBQ users are encouraged to contact Tim with any technical issues at NorthCoastBBQHelp@Gmail.com. For access to the website or to post, send your request to Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Tim’s business services, contact him at 503-400-6670 or email@example.com. “There are so many positives about the change, from being able to review posts by category to just receiving a summary of the BBQ posts, instead of being flooded with BBQ emails, once everyone tried it, I’m sure they’ll like it,” said Barbara. “And now the BBQ will be able to go to new frontiers and a succession plan is in place to ensure it’s continued life and longevity,” concluded Chuck.