Threading connections through repair


“It touches my heart when people bring in sentimental items handed down in their families,” said Marie Coreil. “Like the woman who recently brought in a quilt made by her mother. While I sewed a new rip, she shared stories that brought back fond memories of my own mother.”

Marie loves sewing and is delighted to be a volunteer sewer with Repair PDX, where she helps people continue using items they cherish, like a favorite purse or pair of jeans.

As a Master Recycler volunteer and retiree, Marie uses her free time to give back to the community and support causes that she cares about. “I can use my time to support initiatives that depend on volunteerism to succeed.”

“Through my time as a Master Recycler, I learned about Repair PDX and began volunteering at the repair café events as a mender because I have always loved sewing. Later I learned about the Southeast Portland Tool Library and began volunteering there as well. Most recently, I joined the PDX Time Bank, which is a great resource for Portlanders to help each other that could be more widely used.”

Repair PDX provides free repair services to community members who bring in items they might otherwise throw away. From small appliances, to bike maintenance and mending services, Repair PDX not only offers participants a chance to fix things, it creates a space for connection and community.

“Many people would like to keep using their material possessions, but lack the skills or resources to maintain them or fix them when they break. Repair PDX addresses this need by holding repair events in different neighborhoods where people can take their things to be fixed – free of charge. It enables people to continue using things that might otherwise end up being thrown away.”

Repair PDX offers an excellent model for community involvement that is already being duplicated in other parts of the Portland metro region and across the country. Many people have skills they enjoy sharing and all it takes is a little of their time and some coordination to put it all together.

Marie encourages retirees to get involved in some kind of volunteer activity – something they enjoy doing anyway so they can experience the intangible rewards of giving back to the community.

“Another benefit for me personally is I have made new friends through Repair PDX. Two of the regular menders also live in the Sellwood neighborhood and we have become friends. I have also gotten to know people through overlapping circles of Portland’s sustainability activities.”

Do you consider yourself a tinkerer? Are you interested in repair? Join Marie and other volunteer fixers to help spread repair culture through the repair movement! Check out our events calendar for upcoming repair or related events.

Find more stories about repairing in Portland. #sharingcommunity