Viewing entries tagged
repair cafe

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Did you know you can find repair shops all over the Portland region through an online database?

Portland Repair Finder is dedicated to helping more people fix more things. The organization makes tools, knowledge and resources easier to find, and helps tell the stories behind repair work. They believe that repairing things is good for the local economy, community and environment, and it is empowering and fun.

The creator of this online tool is Joel Newman. He started the website in 2017 to become a comprehensive access point for repair of all kinds around Portland. His background is in art and design - and bicycle repair.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

He said over the next year they will be revising the search and filtering features, as well as growing the database of repair shops and resources. The ability to search the site by item as well as by mode of repair– whether that's a needed tool for a DIY fix, expert advice or professional repair– is key to showing people the range of options available, and getting more people involved.

One of the cool things about repair work is its ability to add life to a favorite item or keepsake. If you get a favorite pair of jeans or shoes mended or restore a piece of furniture or jewelry that has been in your family for generations, it’s much more unique and memorable than buying something new.

Give the gift of repair

With the holidays upon us, now’s a good time to find alternative gift ideas. Look at who you plan to buy for this year. Would they benefit from a gift certificate from a jeweler, cobbler or for a gadget? Could a family heirloom be repaired, old photos be restored or a favorite outfit brought back to life through alteration? There are 200 businesses included on the Repair Finder.

And don’t forget about free repair events in the region. Both Repair Cafés and Repair Fairs take place around the Portland region throughout the year. Think of these events as an ongoing way to get small repairs made to keep your possessions in circulation and in use. The Resourceful PDX event calendar lists all the repair events taking place, along with other community events.


Get moving on the way to school

Get moving on the way to school

Options is the name of the game as you shift back into the school routine. How you get to and from school, after-school activities, sporting events, and play dates – all of these are times to consider alternatives and, as a bonus, offer ways to spend more time with family and friends.


Connect and collaborate with other parents on a carpool for the kids to reduce pollution and traffic congestion while saving time and money. Use this free online tool to find carpool companions. Or talk to friends and neighbors to share in the day-to-day schedule and make the most of your time.

Walk or bike

Promote exercise (and get some yourself) and quality time with your kids by walking or biking with your kids to school. Find maps to school, information and events through Safe Routes to School or sign up for their newsletter.

Bike shops all over Portland offer repair services and classes, and can help outfit you for the weather. Or come to a Repair Café to learn how to get minor things repaired for free.

In whatever ways your family chooses to get back to school, incorporating thoughtful actions that are good for you and the community help provide lasting effects as the seasons change and the new school year becomes routine again.

Visit our other recent posts to find more tips and ideas about kids in school.

Threading connections through repair

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

Oregon takes steps toward more reuse

Cindy Correll, Reuse Alliance Oregon chair and Resourceful PDX partner, shares an update on reuse and repair in Oregon.

Reuse Alliance has a vision of making reuse a mainstream part of people’s lives and as common as recycling currently is in our culture.

The Oregon Legislature recently passed two new laws that involve reuse and repair. Senate Bill 245 and Senate Bill 263 set goals and make funding available to develop programs to increase the practice of reuse and repair.

This creates exciting opportunities to increase the public’s awareness of and participation in the practice of reuse and repair.

The new laws support implementation of Materials Management in Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework for Action. While earlier versions of this plan focused mostly on recycling efforts and managing waste, the 2050 plan addresses the full life cycle of materials (from raw materials, to manufacturing, purchasing and use, to disposal). It establishes a foundation for our state to use fewer raw materials and to get the most out of the resources we do consume. Reuse and repair play a big role in maximizing the useful life of the manufactured goods that are part of our daily lives.

Highlights from SB 263 addressing reuse and repair include:

  • Waste prevention and reuse education programs in elementary and secondary schools.
  • Funding or infrastructure support to promote and sustain reuse, repair, leasing or sharing efforts.
  • Technical assistance to promote and sustain reuse, repair or leasing of materials or other sharing efforts to reduce waste.

SB 245 will make grants available to government agencies, nonprofits and businesses that want to implement programs in support of the reuse and repair goals outlined in Oregon’s 2050 plan.

With grant funds becoming available early next year, it will take some time before we begin to see results from this important new legislation. Over the next few years, expect to see new, innovative programs that give you more options for reusing and repairing your belongings.

Resourceful PDX gives Portland residents tools and ideas for reducing waste

Get involved with reuse and repair now by tapping into what exists in the community already. Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items and salvage building materials.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, how-to classes and online tutorials can help you improve your sewing, bike or home repair skills quickly. There are also community resources, such as Repair PDX and local repair shops, that can fix anything from clothing and shoes, to furniture, tools, electronics, appliances and more.

As you’re repairing, reusing, borrowing and sharing, remember that you’re blazing the trail for others to follow. Keep up the good work!

Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge announces 2015 winners

Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge announces 2015 winners

Whether it's a neighborhood garden, a community swap, or a tool lending library, the Center for a New American Dream knows that your block, street, or neighborhood has an exciting project just waiting to come to life. That's why the Center for a New American Dream launched the first-ever Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge in 2013.

One of the 2015 winners includes a project from our neighbors up in Seattle. The project will create a free tool library in the Capitol Hill neighborhood with a workshop space, classes, and fixer’s collective to help build community and reduce consumerism. Read all about the five winners – and think about how you can get involved for the next round of grants.

Portland already has four tool libraries, available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. In fact, they often partner with Repair PDX to host repair café events in their space, so residents can get items fixed for free.

Drop Resourceful PDX a line to ask questions or share what’s going on in your community and neighborhood. 

Get your broken goods fixed in East Portland on August 14

Get your broken goods fixed in East Portland on August 14

The first Repair Café in East Portland is taking place on Thursday, August 14, 2014, 6 – 9 p.m. at The Rosewood Initiative at 16126 SE Stark St. 

The Rosewood Initiative is a neighborhood space where you learn useful skills and connect with others. It’s the perfect place to host a Repair Café!

Repair Cafés are free events that bring volunteers who like to fix things together with people who have broken items that need fixing. Volunteer fixers work alongside attendees so there is an opportunity to learn how to fix your own items. 

Bring broken items for volunteers to help fix – for free! There will be Spanish and Russian speakers on hand to assist with translations.

This event is in partnership with Repair PDX, City of Gresham and City of Portland, bringing together residents from East County for the first time. The Rosewood Initiative is unique because it includes about 5,000 people in both Gresham and Portland.

“We're excited to bring neighbors and volunteers to Rosewood for the Repair Café for the first time,” said Jenny Glass, Executive Director. “Many of our neighbors don't have the space or resources to work on projects, so this is a great opportunity to empower folks to fix broken items, save things from being thrown into the landfill and build community!”

The Rosewood Initiative wants to reach residents in the Rosewood neighborhood – to connect and support neighbors and promote a sense of community. They do this by connecting people who live and work there, supporting skills and leadership opportunities to empower community members and promoting the neighborhood to others to build and strengthen community ties.

Volunteers at the Repair Café will be providing FREE:

  • Bike repair
  • Small appliance repair
  • Small engine repair
  • Sewing
  • Electronics repair

Look for Green Spots at Sunday Parkways in North Portland on June 22

Look for Green Spots at Sunday Parkways in North Portland on June 22

Sunday Parkways takes place this weekend in North Portland, with Green Spots popping up along the route to show sustainable community features that nurture healthy, connected neighborhoods.

The list of Green Spots include:

  • June Key Delta Community Center (N Ainsworth Ave and Albina Ave)
  • Harper’s Playground at Arbor Lodge Park (N Delaware Ave and Bryant St)
  • North Portland Tool Library at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (Green Spot is at N Delaware Ave and Schofi­eld St; Tool Library is one block east at N Brandon Ave)
  • New Columbia at McCoy Park (N Trenton Ave and Fiske Ave)
  • Transportation Safety (N Willamette Blvd and Rosa Parks Way)

Be Resourceful is partnering with Green Spot at the North Portland Tool Library at the Historic Kenton Firehouse near Kenton Park. At the Green Spot, Sunday Parkways attendees can learn how to borrow tools from the tool library, get help repairing broken items at Repair Cafés, and share favorite community resources on the Be Resourceful map.

The Kenton Firehouse itself also has shared space available to rent for gatherings of many sizes, and also hosts community events. The space offers a variety of ways to extend the life of the things that you need, meet neighbors and learn about the sharing community.

North Portland Sunday Parkways is Sunday, June 22, 2014, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The route takes you on a tour along the scenic Willamette Boulevard, and then you can glide towards Peninsula, Arbor Lodge, Kenton, Columbia Annex and McCoy parks to enjoy an array of activities, food, music, vendors and fun.

Mercy Corps hosts free Repair Café on June 12

Mercy Corps hosts free Repair Café on June 12

Mercy Corps hosts first west side Repair Café on Thursday, June 12 from 6 until 9 p.m. 

As Repair Cafés gain popularity, community organizations like Mercy Corps have been reaching out to Repair PDX to co-host these events and increase both organizations’ ability to help Portlanders live resourcefully. Hosting a Repair Café supports Mercy Corps’ mission to build productive and sustainable communities, here in Portland and around the world.

Mercy Corps employees will be volunteering with other Repair Café “fixers” to help attendees troubleshoot and repair broken items, so there will be plenty of talented fixers on hand.

This event will include:

  • Clothing
  • Small appliances
  • Electronics
  • Bikes

Mercy Corps is excited to host a community event that brings people together for a common purpose of sharing local knowledge and technical skills to reduce waste! Grab that broken kitchen appliance or pile of clothes to be mended and head to Repair Café!

Repair PDX organizes Repair Cafés and partners with community organizations to bring these events to Portland neighborhoods. In May, North Portland Tool Library hosted a café where 40 different items got fixed. Over the last year, there have been 11 Repair Cafés and over 300 items repaired!

Bring your broken items for volunteers to help fix – for free! 

Repair Café Thursday, June 12
6-9 p.m.
Mercy Corps Portland headquarters
45 SW Ankeny St.

Bring broken items to Repair Café for “fixing” and fun on May 1

Bring broken items to Repair Café for “fixing” and fun on May 1

North Portland Tool Library is hosting the next Repair Café on Thursday, May 1 from 69 p.m. at the Kenton Firehouse at 8105 N Brandon Ave.

This event is the start of a new partnership between Repair PDX and North Portland Tool Library, where the tool library will host quarterly Repair Cafés at their space in North Portland.

North Portland Tool Library is a resource dedicated to building community and fostering sustainability by providing residents with tools AND the power to use them. Community members may borrow from the extensive collection of tools, free of charge. The tools in the library will also be available at the Repair Café.

Repair Cafés are free events where “fixers” volunteers who like to fix things come together with people who have broken items that need repair. Fixers work alongside attendees, so there is an opportunity to learn how to fix items. Repair Cafés are organized by Repair PDX and have been taking place around Portland since May 2013. Read more in our previous post on Portland’s repair movement.

Bring broken home and garden items for volunteers to help fix – for free! This event will include:

  • Bike repair
  • Garment and fabric mending
  • Small appliance repair
  • Lawnmower and small engine repair
  • Speaker repair

The last repair event brought nearly 90 people to Northeast Portland to fix 99 items. The items ranged from lawnmowers, bikes and clothes to a circular saw, waffle iron, lamps and more. That equals 305 pounds of materials saved for reuse! Bring your broken items to the next event and see how fun fixing can be.

Repair PDX is building the repair movement in Portland

Repair PDX is building the repair movement in Portland

Repair PDX is a local, grassroots organization that hosts Repair Cafés in the Portland metro area. 

Repair Cafés are free events that bring volunteers who like to fix things together with people who have items that need fixing. 

How do they work?

Repair PDX coordinates with local businesses, community markets, churches or tool libraries to host events. Repair PDX maintains a list of volunteer “fixers” who offer their time and skills to repair items at each event. 

Typical repair items include small appliances, electronics, bikes, toys, jewelry and garments. Each Repair Café event is unique based on the venue and the volunteers present. Expert volunteers are on hand to not only fix items, but to teach participants how to fix their own items as well.

What to bring?

  • Broken items and any replacement parts you think you might need 
  • Curiosity, patience and a do-it-yourself attitude

Of course, there is no guarantee people will walk out with a workable item. The volunteer events may not be staffed with those who have the right skills, it may take some time to research and find repair parts, or it may just not be feasible to repair some items. 

Why do we need Repair Cafés?

Buying durable goods and clothing, and repairing them when they become worn or damaged, not only saves you money, but is better for the environment. Did you know that 35 percent of the total carbon emissions in Multnomah County come from the mining, making, moving, using and tossing of the stuff we use every day?

Learn more about Repair PDX in The Atlantic’s recent article about the Portland repair movement, or come to the next Repair Café on Thursday, March 20 at Bike Farm.