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A maker space for everyone

A maker space for everyone

Have you wanted to find a place to work on DIY projects, take classes, rent event space, share tools and store extra stuff? 

There’s a place for you in Portland. It’s the Global Homestead Community Garage.

Garage Director, Philip Krain, maintains this community facility where business and individual members share Garage tools, project and event space, as well as knowledge. In addition, The Garage maintains a curated Library of Things, which includes tools and outdoor adventure equipment. It is located at 416 Southeast Oak Street in Portland’s Central Eastside.

We help people grow big ideas using shared resources. Our goal is to create a sharing economy hub for those within the greater community, and provide skills development, which makes sustainable living fun. We provide regular classes on wood and metal working and our strategic partners host workshops on aquaponics, energy, permaculture design, repair and more.
— Philip Krain, Garage Director

Anyone is invited to be part of this membership-driven community. The Garage has users that range from a single day to 24/7 access. There are also work trade opportunities to fit within various budgets and interests. The wood, metal and jewelry shops are their most established facilities, but they also have an assortment of pop-up shops for bikes, skis, crafting, candle making and more. Fabricators, designers, DIY-ers, crafty teachers, parents and kiddos all have a co-working, movie, class and party place at The Garage.

If you're involved in a mission-based organization or interested in volunteering, strategic partnerships and collaborations are why The Garage exists. Contact Global Homestead Community Garage to learn more.

Love your stuff

Love your stuff

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with Portland local resources to find ways to be resourceful and get more out of your stuff.

Borrow your way to more love

Do you love cooking?

Portland has many options for you to borrow kitchen tools to try them without purchasing new items. Expand your kitchen knowledge or take a food workshop at a kitchen share. NorthNortheast and Southeast Portland residents can connect with each other and find a new gadget to love.

Already thinking about giving your garden or home some love?

For those with home, yard or garden projects, locate the tool lending library based on where you live. The Green Lents Community Tool Library in East PortlandNorthNortheast or Southeast all offer residents low-to-no-cost options. Find home improvement project ideas from previous blog posts.

Or are you ready for a little space?

Clear your closet with Swap Positive, your go-to for multiple swap events throughout the year, including those for families. Share clothes and accessories you don’t love so much anymore with folks who might enjoy something different.

Keep what you love

Ready to repurpose a favorite chair or locate a well-loved heirloom?

Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items, salvage building materials and more. 

Do you have favorite items you have loved so much they need a fix?

Repair PDX offers residents free fixes for bikes, small appliances, clothing and more. Monthly repair cafes bring volunteers who love to fix stuff together with those who have broken items that need fixing.  

Find more ideas to create more love and less waste at New Dream. #morelovelesswaste

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

There are many benefits to becoming a more thoughtful consumer: buying less, cutting clutter and reducing waste, to name a few. As we begin a new year, consider making a small change that can help you live more resourcefully. Make it easier to adopt the change by choosing one new habit per month, or make a change to an established habit. Who knows, maybe something small will turn into even bigger changes (and benefits!) for you.

Watch Alicia on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares these tips with host Tra’Renee.


1.       Borrow rather than buy to cut clutter

Take advantage of the resources that Portland offers! The online map connects residents to free or low-cost options for living more resourcefully.

The map categories are repair/resale/swap shops, donation centers and lending libraries.

Portland has:

·         4 tool libraries

·         3 kitchen shares

·         3 swap and play spaces

·         1 toy library

Borrow these types of items and more  

·         Home and yard tools, power tools, table saws

·         Juicers, mixers, bread makers, canning equipment

·         Toys, games, clothes, books

These community organizations also need support! You can become a member based on the area of the city where you live and volunteer your time or donate your unused items.

The Library of Things (which lends baking equipment, board games and even karaoke machines to members) is available in Hillsboro and is coming soon to Beaverton too, through the county library system.

2.       Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car or day bag, bike bag or purse. Include reusable bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for quick stops or on-the-go items.

After you use something from your kit, replace it as soon as you get home so your kit is always with you, ready for anything. Having an on-the-go kit is especially good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

3.       Resolve to redeem in 2018

As of  January 1, 2018, many more kinds of containers now carry a 10-cent deposit. These include bottles and cans for tea, coffee, fruit juice, coconut water, hard cider and kombucha. Beer, soft drinks and water containers continue to require a deposit.

By recycling these containers at a bottle redemption center, the materials are separated and turned into a clean, reliable supply of high-grade recyclable material. The materials are all processed in in the U.S., and for plastic containers, 100 percent of them are recycled in Oregon.

Of course, you can still recycle at the curb – aluminum and plastic go in the recycling cart, and glass goes separately in your other bin. But by redeeming your own containers, you get more money back in your pocket.

Find a BottleDrop Oregon Redemption Center near you!

Resourceful PDX in the news!

Resourceful PDX in the news!

The new map feature on the Resourceful PDX website, and some of the community partners listed on the map, have made news this week.

The Portland Tribune article "Want to borrow a tool, get some fix-it help, or share your stuff?" features several resources listed on our new map. 

In Portland, dozens of these free or low-cost resources — kitchen shares, toy swaps, tool libraries, bike fix-it-yourself shops and more — are just around the corner, for the taking. To some, they may seem like a secret society, not necessarily easy to find unless you already know someone who participates.

But now, the city has issued an easy-to-use map of 30 to 40 of these resources — a one-stop hub for sustainable living at the neighborhood level — on its Resourceful PDX program site.
— Jennifer Anderson, The Portland Tribune

KGW Channel 8 also featured Resourceful PDX and some of our community partners on their evening news.

The Resourceful PDX map includes community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials.

The resources featured in the news pieces this week are PDX Time Bank, Repair PDX, Kitchen Share, Woodlawn Swap n Play and Know Thy Food Cooperative.

Do you have a community resource to add to the map? Share more resources with us!

To nominate a community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organization for inclusion in this map, send us a message with relevant details about the organization, such as: name, location, website and contact information, plus a brief description of why it would make a good addition to the Resourceful PDX Map.

Digging into summer projects with borrowed tools

Digging into summer projects with borrowed tools

When Robert Bowles learned that two friends were opening a tool-lending library in Northeast Portland, he liked the idea so much he became a volunteer on the spot.

“The Northeast Portland Tool Library is a great community resource,” said Robert. “It empowers people to complete dream projects and save money by not having to buy tools for one-time use, like a table saw. Thanks to the tool library, people improve their surroundings while reducing the resources necessary to do it.”

Robert is passionate about fixing broken things. He enjoys helping people find the right tools for a job and hearing stories about projects the tool library helped make possible. “My favorite stories are from people who really stretched themselves and took on something they didn’t think they could do.”

He is also a Master Recycler volunteer who has since joined the board of the Northeast Portland Tool Library and continues to give back to the community. “Doing small things to make our neighborhood a better place makes it better for all of us.”

Aushti and Parfait Bassale

Aushti and Parfait Bassale

Concordia resident and local musician Parfait Bassale is a Northeast Portland Tool Library member who has completed some home and yard projects with tools he borrowed. He’s completed many yard improvements, like building planters, and finished a painting project.

Parfait, and his son Aushti, typically stop by the tool library on Saturdays. He’s been a member for three years and has gotten to know other Northeast residents and neighbors through the tool library. “It is wonderful to see familiar faces one week after the next and hear about the progress they are making on their projects.”

One dream project on Parfait’s list is a building an outdoor veranda in his backyard. “It would be a fun project and one that I’ll be tapping the tool library volunteer staff to help me with. Is Robert available?”

Do you have home projects to complete? Need some inspiration? Tool libraries are available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. Become a member of one near you!

Find more stories about borrowing in Portland. #sharingcommunity

Read past articles about Portland’s tool libraries. #tool library

Building community with a love of food

Building community with a love of food

What do Kitchen Share Northeast and the Northeast Portland Tool Library have in common? They are both partners in the new Leaven Community center, merging sustainability, livability and a whole lot more.

Kitchen Share is a network of kitchen tool libraries that offers equipment, skills, traditions and food to borrow and share with their members. They offer dehydrators, canning equipment, ice cream makers, juicers, mixers, bread makers, durable dishes and more.

Kitchen Share builds community through the sharing of skills and food. One Portland resident and community volunteer, Gabbi Haber, got involved with Kitchen Share Northeast because of her love of food and cooking.

“Food is such a powerful way to connect with people, and when we cook and eat together, we not only form social connections, but also learn from each other's techniques, histories and life stories. I first started volunteering with Kitchen Commons, a nonprofit founded by my friend and Kitchen Share Northeast co-founder Jocelyn. I helped organize a community tamale sale and a community tomato canning day which was fun, but I wanted to go beyond community events and address some of the infrastructure obstacles to preserving, cooking for large groups, or just being adventurous in the kitchen.”

According to Gabbi, Kitchen Share Northeast:

  • Saves money, by offering tools so you don't need to buy them yourself, and by providing preserving equipment so members can take advantage of seasonal bounty.
  • Connects people with new ways of cooking, whether it's exploring how to use a new tool or making something from scratch you've never made before (like pasta or yogurt!).
  • Encourages people to cook at home by making new resources available.
  • Helps people gather their communities around them, by providing free dishware and cooking and serving tools for big events (like weddings, fundraisers and birthday parties).
  • Gives items a second chance and reduces waste since members can donate unwanted or unneeded tools and equipment instead of throwing away.

Gabbi’s involvement with Kitchen Share Northeast includes teaching workshops and building connections with other community groups.

“It's so much fun to be surrounded by people who are excited about making food, and ready to learn new ways to enjoy food. We are all constantly learning and have something to teach each other. A pretty great Saturday morning is when everyone is standing around with flour on their hands and tomato sauce on their noses, chatting away with people they just met an hour ago.”

Aside from teaching workshops, she enjoys collaborating with the Neighborhood Gleaners. They're an all-volunteer organization that collects leftover food from the Hollywood Farmers Market and distributes it to low-income seniors at the Hollywood Senior Center. Every year they host a Thanksgiving dinner for seniors and anyone else who wants to come, and borrow dishes and tools from Kitchen Share Northeast in order to do it.

“It makes me happy to know that this thing I helped create is making it easier for other volunteer organizations to build community and make people's lives better. It's very satisfying to give back to the community, and it's a great way to make new friends. At the end of the day you know that you've done your part to make your little patch of the world a little better for you and your neighbors."

Are you interested in sharing your kitchen knowledge? Or ready to take a food workshop? Join Kitchen Share Northeast or Southeast!

Find more stories about borrowing in Portland. #sharingcommunity

Cash in time dollars through PDX Time Bank

Cash in time dollars through PDX Time Bank

By guest blogger Nicole Willson, PDX Time Bank volunteer

Everyone has things they are good at and things they need help with - as well as things they don’t know how to do or don’t have time to do. That's what the PDX Time Bank is all about - allowing Portlanders to do the things they love in exchange for help doing the things they don’t know how to do, want to do, or have time to do. 

How a time bank works

A time bank is a community of people who share services in exchange for a complementary currency called time dollars. Each time bank member earns time dollars by using their skills and talents to help a neighbor in their community.

For example, you could earn a time dollar for walking someone’s dog and then use that time dollar to get a haircut or have someone bake you a cake. This allows time bank members to do what they enjoy in exchange for what they need, including tasks they may not want or be able to perform.

The amount of time dollars you earn is proportionate to the amount of time you spend on a task and everyone’s time is equally valuable. Someone who provides legal services gets the same amount of time dollars as someone who does a different service, such as babysitting. Having a zero balance is the ultimate goal of a time bank, unlike with a conventional bank. 

Since its revival in June 2014, the PDX Time Bank has grown to 125 members living in various parts of Portland. The skills offered by members include gardening, crafts and cooking. Time bankers are encouraged to give as well as receive since both create reciprocity and help build supportive networks within the community.

Time banking helps get things fixed

Time bank members can get items fixed, as well as provide volunteer hours to sustainability-related organizations like The City Repair Project and Repair PDX

When time bank members have a broken item they don’t know how to fix, they can request help through the time bank. That’s what time bank member Amanda Perl did when she needed someone to repair a broken slat on her futon bed. When she contacted the store where she purchased the futon, all they could do is sell her an entirely new bed frame for $180 so they recommended she get it fixed instead.

After posting her request, Amanda heard back from a time banker who asked for details about what was needed, including the dimensions of the slats. This time banker bought $2.67 worth of supplies at The ReBuilding Center and checked out a drill from the Northeast Portland Tool Library. The time banker then went to Amanda’s house and worked with her to remove the broken slat, drill holes in the new board and put it into place. Shortly after this project, Amanda was able to earn back the time dollars she paid for the repair by giving tai chi lessons.

I am delighted to no longer have a sagging bed! I paid the time banker for her time both in preparing for the repair and at my house, 2 time dollars, and reimbursed her $2.67 for the cost of the board. It was a very satisfying experience.
— Amanda Perl, PDX time banker

A few months after getting this repair, Amanda provided a service to fellow time banker, Cindy Hines, by fixing a broken strap on a pair of sandals. Cindy was also happy with her time banking experience.

She did a professional looking job, so the sandals look as good as new. I’ve been wearing them ever since.
— Cindy Hines, PDX time banker

There are gatherings and potlucks for members and those who are interested in learning more. Visit PDX Time Bank to learn about membership or join the Facebook group to see activities.

PDX Toy Library offers your family the benefits of sharing

PDX Toy Library offers your family the benefits of sharing

Alicia Polacok, from Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, kicked off the New Year with a visit to the PDX Toy Library where she talked with founder Cat Davila about this labor of love.

PDX Toy Library is an all-volunteer community-based nonprofit organization that recognizes play as an integral part of a child’s development. High quality toys and equipment are available for borrowing to assist with the physical and educational development of children ages birth to 8.

Cat sees the library as a way to build community too, by hosting and participating in many family events that bring people together to learn, collaborate and socialize. Borrowing from the Toy Library is a great opportunity for children to explore ideas about ownership, responsibility to others, and the benefits of sharing.

She was aware of the tool and kitchen libraries in Portland, and this idea really synthesized a lot of her passions and just felt like is was exactly the thing to do, even without experience in the nonprofit or library sectors.

The idea struck me one afternoon as I was playing games with my 2 year old daughter, and wishing I could trade all of ours for some new ones somewhere. It suddenly seemed impossible that there wasn’t already something like this in Portland.

I spent a lot of time learning about Toy Libraries in other parts of the world and crafting our model of service, and learning how to form a nonprofit, and searching for a space for the library. And now it is real! I’m very pleased with what we’re able to offer now, and excited to see what the future brings.
— founder Cat Davila

How does it work?

Membership is open to the public and active members use the toys and space. While most members are currently families, Cat's own work background is in Early Childhood Education, so she would like to see more teachers and caregivers utilize the library. Volunteers are integral in the library, which is currently open three times a week for a few hours. Cat has hosted events in the space and plans to shift the focus for more game and play time when the library is open.

The collection continually grows with donations accepted and cataloged frequently. Members check out different toys and games each week, up to three different toys or games each time you visit.

Currently the fee structure offers three month memberships for $30 or six months for $50. Gift certificates are available if you’re looking for an alternative idea for a birthday or holiday celebration.

Why join a toy library?

It saves money: Toys cost a lot so joining the Toy Library is likely to be less per year than you may spend on new items.

It saves space: Toys take up a lot of space and storage so the Toy Library allows you and your kids to use things when you really want them and provides a way to get them out of your house the rest of the time.

It allows for toy test drives: Toys engage kids at different times and at different levels. Checking things out from the Toy Library gives you a good idea of what engages children the most. And since kids grow fast, it means having developmentally appropriate toys available to test.

Bonus: Keep things fresh (and give your kids something “new”) by checking out different items every couple of weeks! Browse the toy catalog online to see if borrowing toys may work for you and your family.

Where is it?

PDX Toy Library is located in the Sunnyside Community House (formerly Sunnyside Methodist Church) at 3520 SE Yamhill St.

All Portland residents are welcome to join!


Green Lents builds community through borrowing and sharing

Green Lents builds community through borrowing and sharing

Are you a resident of one of these Portland neighborhoods: Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Pleasant Valley, Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Brentwood-Darlington or Montavilla? Do you know of the many reasons to visit Green Lents, the organization that supports community-led projects like the free Community Tool Library?

Green Lents Community Tool Library contributes to community livability in this diverse area of the city by providing free tools and resources to residents in and around the Lents neighborhood in outer Southeast and East Portland.

The Community Tool Library functions like a book library, except that you check out tools or other project materials instead of books. They also have a seed library, where you can borrow seeds, grow food and then return seeds back to the library for others to use. Since its founding in 2012, there are over 500 members who check out tools for a one-week rental for free, with the option of renewal. It is open two days a week and is volunteer run.

One volunteer, Renee Orlick, started as a user of the Community Tool Library. When she moved to Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood in 2013, she was able to borrow a tall ladder from the library to harvest the fruit trees she had throughout her yard. Around this time, Renee started volunteering and has since joined the organization’s board. Her main goal is to make the library as functional as possible including checking tool donations into the system so members can use them.

The community based nonprofit, Green Lents, offers even more for residents. There are two fellows, April Jamison and Izzy Armenta, who work with the organization as volunteer engagement coordinators for all four of their projects. April works on Community Tool Library, Malden Court Community Orchard and Pollinator Habitat, while Izzy works on Livable Lents.

Since education, skill building and sharing all promote a thriving, sustainable community, April and Izzy want to combine these into actions to share with neighbors, build community and grow knowledge.

They have ideas, like offering a summer DIY workshop series with the tool library, and are already conducting a survey with Livable Lents so they can hear from residents about their visions and needs for the community.

"What I like best about this organization is that it's a community asset that has been built by the community, for all of our neighbors. The dedication to sharing and growing strong together is really inspiring," said April.  

The organization looks for volunteers and those in the community who are interested in participating from the ground up, with ideas to grow within the established network. One such idea is about volunteers themselves. “Green Lents, like so many nonprofit organizations, rely on volunteers so we have defined a commitment where members can volunteer for two-to-four hours a month for six months. It’s working and we would like to see the involvement continue,” said April.

Visit the free Community Tool Library to borrow what you need and get involved with Green Lents to share ways to make a difference in your neighborhood.

Portland residents can access tool libraries around the city, based on where you live. Check out the North, Northeast or Southeast resources to learn more.

Pay it forward in Portland with Rooster

Pay it forward in Portland with Rooster

Rooster is a community of neighbors who share free resources together. It’s about borrowing things you need – and about making connections in your own community.

How it works

Become a member of the online community, then:

  • Ask for whatever you need: Give, get, lend, borrow, share, help or get together with like-minded locals.
  • Help whenever you can: See what neighbors need or have to offer, and help them make it happen.

One rule: Everything’s free, in the spirit of generosity and paying it forward.

How it started (with a Thanksgiving potluck)

When husband and wife Gil and Tali moved into their home in Palo Alto, California, they had few relationships with people in their area, and almost none that could be considered substantial friendships. Simple tasks like borrowing a drill to hang their shelf unit or finding a person who could help them set up their bike rack became frustrating, and they ended up buying tools they weren’t going to use in the long term and paying for professional services that could have easily been achieved with the help of a friendly neighbor.

Rather than spending Thanksgiving alone, they decided to reach out and find other individuals to share a holiday meal together. Over the weekend, Gil coded a mailing list and named it Rooster, with the thought of a rooster in your backyard, calling out to your neighbors. They invited several friends to join and also invite their own friends. The first thing they posted was an invitation to a Thanksgiving potluck, where eight Rooster members they hadn’t met before showed up and had a wonderful time celebrating the holiday and getting acquainted.

Soon enough the mailing list took a life of its own, as Rooster members began borrowing bikes, baseball bats and baby cribs, handing down used baby clothes and furniture and meeting one another to go jogging, fix a bike chain or have a language exchange. There are now 10,000 families who are part of the Rooster movement.

“Kindness amongst strangers is contagious,” says Tali. “By helping a neighbor on Rooster, you’re not only helping a single person, but inspiring a chain reaction of participation, giving and kindness throughout Rooster. You might also discover you’ve made some new friends along the way, as we’ve seen happen so many times before, by simply being there to lend a hand, rely on one another and smile while we do so.”

Rooster is now in Portland

Community-positive organizations all over Portland have joined in kicking off Portland’s pay it forward community on Rooster and are calling all sharing-minded individuals to join in. Learn more about the local organizations and how you can get involved in giving, sharing, helping and reusing as a way of life. Join Portland Rooster.