I was beginning to lose hope in terms of my portfolio project, but suddenly everything brightened up a bit. We figured out a way to have the students use Google Sites for the portfolio by making their sites private and only allowing specific users to see and/or collaborate by invitation. This will allow the teachers and myself access, but not the general public. Once the students graduate, they can choose to make their site public or to keep it private.
We have also double checked with the student logins to ensure that we will not run up against any filtering issues when the students start to make and maintain their sites. So far, no problems!
We had a great planning session two weeks ago where we came up with specifics for portfolio contents and a timeline and general idea of a due date. I plan to focus on this project with these two classes, and then next year, I can roll it out to more.