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tool library

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!

Warm the holidays with these community gift ideas

Warm the holidays with these community gift ideas

December is the season of creative giving and good times spent with friends and family. Remember, Portland is full of community resources —and resourceful ways — to give and make meaningful moments.


Make memories

Give a fun outing to ZooLights for kiddos who already have a full toy box.

Families with kids may like a membership to the zoo, OMSI, children’s museum, or tickets to a play, movie or a sports event. While gifts of experience can be a tough sell to little kids, you can help make it fun in the moment too.



Help dad clean the gutters with an extension ladder borrowed from a tool library.

Tool libraries are available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. Become a member of a tool library near you! Gift a family member or neighbor time — yours! — to help with a house project.


Fix it

Repair a favorite old lamp for mom at a repair café.

Repair PDX hosts monthly free repair events that bring volunteers who like to fix things together with people who have broken items that need fixing. Help spread repair culture through the repair movement!


Try resale

Find a gently used party dress!

Portland has a thriving reuse and thrift shop market for not only clothing, but also household goods, electronics, furniture, art supplies and building materials.

Check out the Resourceful PDX map for lending libraries, donation centers, resale, repair and swap shops.

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

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.

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. 

Portland Community ToolBank lends tools to charitable organizations

Portland Community ToolBank lends tools to charitable organizations

Resourceful PDX partner Alicia Polacok from Bureau of Planning and Sustainability recently visited the Portland Community ToolBank to learn more about this new community resource in Portland.

Are you part of a community organization, nonprofit group or neighborhood association? Do you need tools for projects or events? The Portland Community ToolBank is here for you!

According to Executive Director Zoya Kumar, the Portland ToolBank serves charitable organizations with high quality and a large of volume of tools to build, preserve, beautify, clean and restore the community. They currently have 92 different types of tools and maintain over 6,000 total tools in their 10,000 square foot facility in NE Portland.

The Portland Community ToolBank is a not-for-profit tool lending program that serves nonprofits by placing all kinds of tools (ladders, drills, saws, hoes, shovels and more) in the hands of the volunteers who are painting schools, building ramps for injured veterans, repairing seniors’ roofs, landscaping public spaces, and more. They are guaranteeing that every volunteer is equipped with the tools they need to get the job done.

The Portland ToolBank officially opened in late April 2015 and has been partnering with groups in the greater Portland/Vancouver area to get projects done. It acts as an affiliate and is part of the national network based in Atlanta.

While organizations need to register to become a member agency at no charge, there are small fees associated with borrowing tools for any size of community projects – small, medium or large. There is even a tool borrowing credit for those organizations interested in becoming a member this summer.

Here are some of the types of organizations that can benefit from the Portland Community ToolBank:

  • Tax exempt organizations

  • Schools and PTAs/PTOs

  • Neighborhood associations

  • Faith-based groups

  • Civic organizations

  • Government agencies

  • Veterans groups

Are you a Portland resident interested in borrowing tools for your own projects? Find out more about the four local tool libraries, available to residents in East, North, Northeast and Southeast Portland.

Contact Zoya Kumar at if you are interested in additional information, tours, or volunteer information.

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.