UPDATED: Town Meeting member and Frambors moderator Kathy Vassar said Frambors is down and not working as of 6 p.m. Moderators are working on a fix or alternatives. Framingham Patch will update.
Editor's Note: We were saddened to hear of Steve's death Monday night. The following is a statement released by the moderators of Frambors:
It is with heartfelt sadness and shock that we announce the death of Steve Orr, the owner and founder of the frambors email list. Steve died unexpectedly of heart failure yesterday evening at the age of 58. Right now the family would appreciate respect for their privacy as they deal with the shock of their loss. We will pass on information about funeral arrangements as the information becomes available.
Steve devoted much of his free time to promoting accountability and transparency in local government, and frambors was the primary vehicle for doing so. In his own words, "Why do we need these lists? This is a crucial question. This system of mailing lists is designed to be a great big flashlight to shed light on what's happening in Town government and in our community. Framingham government didn't used to be as good as it is today. As a matter of fact, some of the events that transpired were regrettable. I've only been here since '95 so I never saw how bad or good it was. But the point is that people tend to do better when everyone is better informed. [it] has been a vital source of community information, advice and recommendations on a wide variety of topics. You'll soon learn to appreciate the wide range of knowledge in our community."
To promote accountability, he insisted that everyone sign their real name to every post. Just compare the posts here to the comments on local media articles, and you will know how critical that accountability was to creating civil discourse.
Steve dedicated an enormous amount of time to maintaining frambors and making it a better list. He managed all the technical details, and did some pretty nifty coding to minimize spam. He networked with owners and advocates for local issue forums. Whether you agreed with him or not, he was always exhorting people to provide better information. There was a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to make this frambors happen and to improve the quality of the list. As moderators, we have the deepest appreciation for Steve's ongoing support and technical support.
In addition, Steve was a long-term Conservation Commissioner and Town Meeting member from Precinct 1. He was dedicated and diligent in his service to the Town, and his services to the town of Framingham will be enormously missed.
For now, we hope people will take a some time to honor and remember Steve.
After all, we wouldn't be here talking with one another without him.
For the time being, we will attempt to keep the list operational, but we don't expect this to be an indefinite situation. At a later time, we can discuss list logistics. Certainly, finding a way to keep frambors alive is one way to honor Steve. However, for now, let us focus on the man who made the conversation possible.
Linda Dunbrack and Kathy Vassar