Apart from the many technical details involved in getting this network, uh, working, there is some non-trivial social and maybe even legal infrastructure to build. The more people we have involved, the better it will work for everybody. Also, the more tall buildings and elevated places we can get involved, the better. So we need tech support volunteers to help get nodes online, but we also need education / outreach / recruitment / public relations people: in a word, activists.
I think it's a good idea for us, as individuals anyway, to form some working relationships with existing organizations.
Stephouse is a local wireless ISP that we should at least be aware of. They offer residential and business service via 2.4Ghz links throughout the city.
The Personal Telco Project has been around since 2000, and has hundreds of public-access wifi nodes scattered around Portland. They've stuck around through the rise and fall of MetroFi , an ill-fated commercial mesh start-up. Many of their members have similar long-standing aspirations for building a city-wide mesh, and they have a lot of experience and connections that can be helpful to this project. Consider attending one of their Wednesday-evening meetings.