Could a “Current status” feature be added to the portal, for putting up dynamic notices such as upcoming maintenance, unscheduled outages, etc? Notices would be time-limited (“show until x/y/z hh:mm”) and would be entered only by Helpdesk staff with specific priviledges.
Status is definitely coming, but no time frame yet. In the meantime you might want to checkout what the guys over at TextDrive have done:
In the right nav you’ll see their status pages. Basically they modified the portal templates to use the forums as status pages. They’ve used the modified template for all forums, but you could do it just for one “status” forum with a bit of work. Info on customizing templates is here: