While not formally affiliated with the Burning Man Project (the nonprofit responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Nevada), Precipitation Northwest does share a common community with them. The annual Burning Man event began in 1986 as an experiment in temporary community and remains dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance. It is not a festival; instead of booking entertainment acts or inviting corporate sponsorship the event is a “decommodified space” where everything that happens is created by the participants themselves. This includes art, workshops, music and much more.
Inspired by the art and community at Burning Man, a group of Portland “burners” (or attendees of the Burning Man event) organized Portland’s first ever regional event in the spring of 2004. In 2005, SOAK LLC was specifically created to have the legal and financial responsibility to produce the annual SOAK event. After 10 years of operations, local burner leadership, SOAK event Producers, SOAK LLC, and the Regional Contacts decided to dissolve SOAK LLC and transfer ownership of the SOAK event and assets to a to-be-created nonprofit organization. There were many reasons this decision was made, but ultimately it was determined that the time and effort for ongoing management of SOAK and BurnOut, and the community’s increasing desire for year-round activities outside of these two signature events, would be better served under a nonprofit model.
Precipitation Northwest was incorporated as an Oregon nonprofit in February 2016 under the direction of a five-member Board of Directors who were nominated by the community and selected by committee. Once SOAK LLC dissolves, Precipitation Northwest will be the umbrella organization that will be responsible (legally and financially) for not only housing and managing SOAK and BurnOut, but also for things like the lease for the Burner Barn. As a new, independent organization, we look forward to building off the foundations of the burner community and expand our programs and activities to align with our mission.