I’m in Portland (Hi Alex!) and have attended the MoT meetup several times. It’s free-form and held at a bar (everyone pays their own way).
There’s lots of big, tech oriented meetups. Probably the two closest competitors are the Software QA UG and the Rose City Software Quality Engineers. They’ve got 533 and 373 members on Meetup (compare to the 126 that the MoT group has).
I go to the SQAUG one regularly, which is monthly, has a social half hour with pizza provided by a local recruiting firm, a speaker present, and then some folks go to a bar afterwards (this last bit appears to have stopped happening with the current officers and location change). This group probably averages around 20 folks.
I’ve only gone to RCSQE a few times, and they seemed to have fizzled out, but a similar format of pizza followed by a speaker. There were maybe a dozen folks at the two I went to.
There are definitely other tech oriented Meetups in Portland that draw large numbers. On any given night, you can likely find at least 3 groups meeting. Some of these are large (e.g. NewTechPDX has 7108 members on Meetup, requires RSVPs, and has waitlists for almost all of their monthly talks, even with a $10 to $25 admission fee).
I like the MoT and have generally been going to this group since I want to see it grow (I missed the last one as I was out of town), but drawbacks for me are:
- location - while I really like that Oregon Public House is not-for-profit and whatnot, it’s a bit remote. Most of larger Meetups happen in downtown locations, closer to where many tech folks work.
- content - I understand the need for free form discussion/networking, but there’s not a large enough critical mass to make this really valuable. With it being the same 3 or 4 of us each time, there’s really not a ton of value.
- numbers - I realize this is exactly the issue you’re trying to address, but when there’s easily 3 or 4 other meetups on a given night, with at least one or two having significant attendance, speakers, etc, it’s hard to ask others to come to MoT.