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Spring break offers tulips, trails and tigers, oh my!

Spring break offers tulips, trails and tigers, oh my!

A break from school offers many options, both local and those farther afield from Portland, and a chance to explore and spend time together.

Plan for the whole week or just one day. Sign up for a spring break camp where you can dance, swim or create – or get outside and take a hike.

Local camps

SCRAP PDX offers Camp SCRAP, an art camp centered on themes of creative reuse. This camp is for children who love inventing, making, and bringing their creative ideas to life! Each day there will be a fun mix of staff-led projects and time for free building.

How about a one-day activity? Portland Parks & Recreation offers a large variety of options for sports, arts, dance, swimming, science and camps. Located in your neighborhood, these are offered for kids of all ages.

Find more spring break camps at PDX Parent.

City finds

Locate tigers, among other animals, at the Oregon Zoo. The Zoo offers a spring break day camp too!

Take a stroll at the Portland Japanese Garden or a hike the nearby Hoyt Arboretum Loop trail.

You gotta eat, right? There are many kid-friendly spots around town. Find a new favorite restaurant by asking your kids for ideas or try a new place you’ve been wanting to check off your list.

Find local events for the whole family.

Day trips

The 2018 Wooden Shoe Festival runs from March 23 through April 29 and includes plenty of flowers, colors and activities for the whole family.

Take a trip across the Columbia River and visit Fort Vancouver. This is a popular national park site in the Pacific Northwest, where your family can experience stories from the pioneer era at four unique sites.

Find more local spring break ideas in this article.


Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Master Recycler volunteer, Bonita Davis, shares tips to reduce and reuse during the holiday season.

The holiday season is a time when we do more of everything, including celebrating and shopping. It can also be a time when a lot of waste is created in the process, but that doesn’t have to happen. This season, we can have some fun focusing on reducing and reusing to save money and go easy on the environment.

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


Choose experiences rather than things because something out of the ordinary may be the perfect gift for someone on your list – and alternative gift ideas are often waste-free. Know what your family and friends like and want – and if someone has a gift registry for a special occasion, use it!

Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book, offers coupons through the print edition or mobile app from local businesses and provides gift ideas and savings at your fingertips.

In the long run, durable materials save us money and significantly reduce waste. Items such as plates, utensils, glasses and linens can be new, used, borrowed or rented. Holiday meals may include leftovers. Plan ahead to save containers, like yogurt tubs, or invite guests to bring their own containers to take home extra goodies.

And don’t forget to use your reusable bags and travel mugs when you are taking advantage of holiday festivities and shopping excursions.         


Creative reuse is the name of the game during the holidays. Reusing items and buying used materials can be fun and easy on our pocket. Make SCRAP PDX your first stop for cards, tags, bows, ribbon, gift bags and more.

Collect old maps and the Sunday comics to use as gift wrap. Or use a bandanna or kitchen towel for a no-waste gift.

Return, re-gift, or donate items you know you will not use. It is better to keep them in use with a new owner, rather than cluttering up your space with something you’ll never use. Many people need items during this time of year, so consider donating them instead.    

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 


Maybe holiday goodness means something more

Maybe holiday goodness means something more

Everyone has at least one person on their list that’s nearly impossible to choose a gift for. Perhaps you have a teenager who wants everything, but likes nothing. Maybe a busy mom who is always trying to put a homemade meal on the table. Or an uncle who says he has everything he needs, but you want to give him something fun during the holidays.

Fortunately, you can find a special something for everyone on your list and — bonus! — skip the retail lines to save your sanity, too.

Do something together

Wrap up cookie ingredients and include a coupon for a cookie-making playdate at your place. Make it extra special for a friend by taking care of cleanup, too. For adventure seekers, take a trip downtown together and brave the Portland underground tunnels tour.

Make it!

Portland offers many ways to make it yourself. Try a woodworking class at the ReBuilding Center, or make something special at one of the many do-it-yourself workshops around Portland.

Feed their mind

Who doesn’t love to learn something new? Portland offers nearly endless options for classes, tours, lectures, and much more. Is your uncle a cheese lover? Save him a seat in OMSI's Design Lab where he can learn to make his own cheese. Help those busy parents in the kitchen by giving them a cooking class. And for that impossible-to-please teen? Gift a video production class at Portland Community College.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Meal planning tips for holidays or anytime

Meal planning tips for holidays or anytime

Whether you are planning a holiday gathering, potluck or special dinner, preparing your meals or specific dishes ahead of time allows you to get what you need with less waste. 

Save the Food offers cooks and eaters alike options for food-and-money saving tips. The latest tool is the Guest-imator, a dinner party calculator that estimates how much food you need to keep your guests full and happy. What a concept!

    Visit a local farmers’ market

    There are some farmers’ markets open year-round and even more open for Thanksgiving, so it’s a great time to get back out to the market. The farmers market map allows shoppers to find a market based on the neighborhood and the day they want to shop.

    Choose from a wide variety of seasonal food that tastes fresh and looks beautiful on your plate, including apples, pears, cranberries, winter squash, hazelnuts, walnuts, chard, kale, leeks, beets and potatoes.

    Reduce and reuse at the table

    There are many waste reduction ideas you can incorporate at the table and in the kitchen. By using durable plates, cloth napkins and serve-ware, you can add beauty to the table, save money over time and reuse these items year after year. Invite your guests to bring reusable Tupperware or casserole dishes so they can take home leftovers (or bring your own if you’re a guest so you get dibs on leftovers too!).

    Save the Food offers these top 10 meal planning tips - plus more resources and tools on their interactive website for you and your family to save both food and money.

    1. Don’t start from scratch
    2. Check the refrigerator
    3. Use portion planners
    4. Have kitchen essentials handy
    5. Use building blocks
    6. Think double duty
    7. Schedule a lazy night
    8. Go fresh fruit
    9. Lean on frozen ingredients
    10. Cook and freeze

    Let the new Chinook Book entertain you

    Let the new Chinook Book entertain you

    By Carrie Treadwell from Resourceful PDX partner Chinook Book

    The 18th annual edition of Chinook Book has arrived! As usual, it highlights local, sustainable businesses that thrive in the community by giving back. This year, there are over 600 offers in eight categories. The Chinook Book team spends time thinking about businesses and their industries and the approach and criteria with which they appear in the book.

    This book is designed to be lived.

    Ready for a night out on the town? Use the many Dining and Entertainment offers available. A meal at neighborhood restaurants, like Pollo Norte, OP Wurst or Ex Novo Brewing. Dancing at 80’s Video Dance Attack or karaoke at Voicebox. A play at Artists Repertory Theatre or Portland Center Stage. A movie at Northwest Film Center or The Academy Theater.

    Resourceful PDX shares community resources with the newly updated map (page 14 in the print edition). There are many places to go for used art supplies, building materials and clothing. Look for coupons and tips for bike shops, consignment and thrift stores, hardware stores, and bike and car sharing opportunities. Visit the new DIY Bar as well!


    Check out all the community coupons online. The print edition includes information and resources on how to connect with local businesses that are in line with resourceful living. The app continues to improve to offer even more personalized navigation and provides savings at your fingertips.

    Find savings by using both the print book and mobile app, available at local retailers and through school and nonprofit fundraisers.

    Find local alternatives to back to school shopping and spending

    Find local alternatives to back to school shopping and spending

    The back to school shopping season accounts for about 50 percent of annual school-related spending and impacts approximately one-quarter of U.S. households.

    While clothing and school supplies dominate back to school lists, the highest average spending is for computers and hardware. Here’s a breakdown of spending per family in each category:

    ·         Computers & hardware $307

    ·         Clothing & accessories $284

    ·         Electronic gadgets $254

    ·         School supplies $104

    Getting kids ready to go back to school may include more stuff, more hassle and more stress. But there are plenty of things you can do to save time and money. Local resources abound for getting what you need to go back to school.

    SCRAP offers supplies to create DIY one-of-a-kind items for school, like pencil bags from fabric, zippers and found objects, or to customize last year’s backpacks by adding sew-on patches or letters. They have paper of all colors and sizes, binders, markers, pens, colored pencils, plus so much more.

    Free Geek has repurposed electronics of all kinds at the new-and-improved Free Geek Store. It makes its computer systems the focal point of the space and you can also donate old computers and electronic equipment.

    Title Wave Used Book Store includes a wide selection of books and other materials at deep discounts. Share your used books with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren. The Children’s Book Bank needs gently used books to pass onto children in Portland who might not otherwise have books of their own at home.

    Interested in diving into more about back to school spending? There’s a survey about insights on spending and shopping trends.

    Check out past posts about kids in school - and use the Resourceful PDX map to locate more resources near you.


    DIY Bar: Where people come to get their craft on

    DIY Bar: Where people come to get their craft on

    By Alicia Polacok, Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

    Brothers Adam and Jason Gorske opened DIY Bar in April 2017 as a long-held dream come true. It is a gathering place to work on individual crafts from their project menu while enjoying beer, cider or wine.

    I visited on a Friday evening with three friends to get the story of this business from the brothers – and try my hand at a craft.

    Coming from a close family, Adam and Jason always thought they would work together in some capacity. When they both found themselves in Portland in 2015, the dream started to take shape into a business. One where their respective skills and interests came into play - reusing, tinkering and mastering a sense of accomplishment.

    For DIY Bar, it involved reusing old materials to repurpose into something new and building things based on their home improvement project experiences. Adam explained that salvage materials from the ReBuilding Center and Salvage Works were used to create the facade of the host stand, shelving for project supplies and the inside of the bar.

    A place for crafty (and not so crafty) people

    The idea for DIY Bar was inspired by paint and sip places, where you can enjoy a beverage while painting with step-by-step instructions and take home something unique.

    Adam and Jason have done the work for you to find the projects, gather the tools and materials needed to make beautiful and functional crafts. To maintain consistency, the project materials are new, while the tools are reused by guests.

    Adam said, “The future may include collaboration with other organizations and an interest in featuring local artists to do more intensive and in-depth projects.”

    The most popular item on the 16-project menu is the rustic nail and string art. There are templates to choose from, or staff will help you create something one-of-a kind. During my visit – my three friends all chose string art projects. Because I put myself in the not-so-crafty category, I was daunted, so chose a leather beer koozie project instead. I love koozies (and beer) so why not try to make my own?!

    With detailed step-by-step instructions in hand, and my questions answered by staff, I completed my koozie. There was still time for a drink and to mingle with others in the space. The friendly atmosphere encouraged people to see what others were making and celebrate their finished works of art.

    The evening my friends and I were there, the place was full, and it turned out about one-third of the customers were from out of town. Tourists. Coming to experience a bit of Portland while visiting the city.

    Feeling inspired? Check out the DIY Bar frequently asked questions to learn more before booking a space.


    Top 10 waste-free gift ideas create more memories

    Top 10 waste-free gift ideas create more memories

    The holidays provide moments for meaningful gift ideas that show love and appreciation for those in your life - and ways to create more memories instead of more stuff.

    Alicia Polacok from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, shared examples from this Top 10 Waste-Free Gifts on the KATU Afternoon Live TV show. She also told viewers about the Portland Winter Curbsider, in mailboxes now and full of more good ideas and holiday related information. 



    1. Classes or lessons

    2. Activities or adventures together

    3. Virtual downloads (music, movies, games)


    4. Memberships or tickets

    5. Get-away experiences (babysitter, restaurant, hotel)


    6. Service-oriented businesses (house cleaning, organizer)

    7.  Gift cards for pampering (massage, nails)

    8. Your time! (helping with home project or teaching a skill)

    9. Local handmade gifts (crafts, food, drinks)

    10. Vintage or secondhand finds

    Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

    Need even more ideas? The Center for a New American Dream has you covered. Check out the many ways to Simplify the Holidays with the More Fun Less Stuff Catalog and this year’s calendar to get six weeks of daily inspirations and practical tips for simplifying your holiday season.

    Alternative gift ideas for kids bring more joy (and less stuff!)

    Alternative gift ideas for kids bring more joy (and less stuff!)

    Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a gift that fits just right, especially for kids, check out these fresh ideas for something that’s one-of-a-kind and maybe even enjoy it together this holiday season!

    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 experience gifts can be a tough sell to little kids, you can help make it fun in the moment too.

    Try creating a countdown calendar and mark off the days until they get to go to the event or destination. Or print out photos from similar past experiences, and wrap them up, to help them imagine the experience and create excitement.

    Inviting friends can make it even more fun, if that’s an option for the type of experience you’re giving. And helping kids choose experience gifts for others can also help them appreciate this kind of gift giving. Starting this tradition with them now can create memories that will last long beyond the holiday season.

    Here are some more non-toy gift ideas for kids (borrowed from Nourishing Minimalism's Non-Toy Gift Guide):

    • Classes: Music, dance, riding, drawing – classes are a great way to encourage children in their interests and let them know that you pay attention to them and what they enjoy.
    • Activities: Mini golf, bowling, skating rink. These are so much fun! And a big part of the fun is going together. Children love spending time with the adults in their lives; they want to see you enjoying your time as well as enjoying them.
    • Recipe and ingredients: Cooking brings people together. Baking something special or cooking dinner is an ideal time to spend together and learn life skills. Print out a recipe, purchase all the ingredients and set a date for cooking together. Bonus: PDX Parent has a profile of Portland chefs cooking with their kids – recipes included!
    • Arts and crafts supplies: If your craft box is running low, stock up a little on things you need. Add in something fun the kids haven't used before. A gift of arts and crafts supplies often brings on the imagination, and kids can't wait to get to work. Bonus: Set up a crafting date, take time out of your own schedule and make crafts together! Keep a basket of craft supplies and get out a book for inspiration.
    • Coupons: An envelope of coupons that they can "spend" at any time: I'll do one chore -- no questions asked; movie and popcorn night, you pick the movie!; 1:1 game of cards or basketball (whatever the child's interest is in); sit and read a book with me; stay up 1/2 hour past bedtime.
    • Restaurant gift card: Dinner, ice cream, coffee, cupcake – whatever suits their fancy! Give them the freedom of inviting whomever they wish: it may be mom or dad; it may be a grandparent, aunt or even teacher they would like to spend more time with.
    • Dress-up clothes: Gently used clothing offers hours of play.
    • Books: Get books from the library or pick up a used copy at one of Portland’s many bookstores. Be sure to pass the books on when you are done, so they don't clutter up your home.

    Photo credit: Oregon Zoo

    Find gift ideas for other hard-to-buy-for people in your life in our resourceful holiday series. #holiday

    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.