INSIDE:

NEWS/STORIES/ARTICLES
Book Reviews
Columns/Opinion/Cartoon
Films
International
National

NW/Local
Recipes
Special A.C.E. Stories

Sports
Online Paper (PDF)

CLASSIFIED SECTION
Bids & Public Notices

NW Job Market

NW RESOURCE GUIDE

Consulates
Organizations
Scholarships
Special Sections

Asian Reporter Info

About Us

Advertising Info.

Contact Us
Subscription Info. & Back Issues

 

 

ASIA LINKS
Currency Exchange

Time Zones
More Asian Links

Copyright © 1990 - 2019
AR Home

 


Where EAST meets the Northwest

 

 

FREE "FIX-IT FAIRS." The City of Portland’s "Fix-It Fairs" connect residents with money-saving, environmentally friendly resources through free workshops and exhibits. The event features a Repair Café as well as information on home and personal health, food and nutrition, community resources, recycling, lead testing, utility savings, and more. The last "Fix-It Fair" of the season is scheduled for Saturday, February 23 from 9:30am to 2:30pm at Floyd Light Middle School, located at 10800 S.E. Washington Street in Portland. (AR Photos/Jan Landis)

A volunteer fixes a small appliance as part of the Repair Café at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

An exhibitor with the Multnomah County Weatherization Program is seen at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

A young attendee watches a volunteer bike technician repair a broken bicycle at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

An exhibitor interacts with an attendee at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

A volunteer fixes a small appliance as part of the Repair Café at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

An exhibitor with the Portland Water Bureau is seen at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

 

A volunteer fixes a paper shredder as part of the Repair Café at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

An exhibitor with the Multnomah County Vector Control program is seen at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

 

A volunteer fixes a reindeer decoration as part of the Repair Café at the recent "Fix-It Fair." (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #04 (February 18, 2019), pages 10 & 11.

Bustling "Fix-It Fair" aims to connect, educate

By Kelly La Croix
The Asian Reporter

The Ockley Green Middle School auditorium was buzzing with the sounds of conversation, sewing machine motors, and clanking tools on the morning of January 26. In one corner of the room, Chuck Quarterman sat at a table with an inflatable reindeer yard decoration in front of him.

"My career was [working on] outdoor power equipment," explained Chuck as he stripped the insulation off one of the decoration’s wires, "so I did everything from golf course equipment to little string trimmers. I’ve always been kind of a fix-it guy."

Chuck and many others like him volunteer their time with Repair PDX, a grassroots organization dedicated to bringing repair events — also known as Repair Cafés — to the Portland metropolitan area. It was one of many features at the day’s "Fix-It Fair."

"Fix-It Fairs" are free events held by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) that aim to connect attendees with resources and educate them about simple ways to save money. There are currently three fairs held per year, all of which are hosted by local public schools. The schools provide the necessary space to house such a large event, as a typical fair may feature more than 60 exhibitors and about 24 hourly workshops, in addition to other services.

Upon entering the middle school, attendees were greeted at a multilingual information booth and given the day’s schedule. Then they perused the exhibitions and signed up for workshops.

In an effort to make the event feel less formidable, attendees received a brochure created by BPS that summarized most of the offerings, which were grouped into seven categories: weatherization; health and nutrition; water and energy savings; money savings; recycling; yard and garden care; and community resources.

The "Do It Yourself Weatherization" workshop highlighted ways to keep homes warm by sealing outlets, windows, and doors. Health and nutrition booths handed out information about aging, stress management, and diabetes prevention. Water and energy savings exhibitors featured free faucet attachments to help conserve water use and offered a workshop aimed at helping people understand Portland’s home energy score in order to make energy-efficient choices.

Booths related to money savings included some that distributed material to first-time homebuyers and an all-day workshop focused on financial planning. Certified master recyclers answered questions on where and how to recycle items. Among other exhibitors in the recycling category was Free Geek, an organization that takes donated technology and reuses it to educate its patrons, recycles it by exchanging computers for performing community service, and resells it to the general public.

The booths that centered on yard and garden care offered brochures on native plants, composting tips, and giveaways of vegetable and flower seeds. Popular workshops included "Intro to Rain Gardens" and "Building a Backyard Habitat on a Budget."

Exhibitors in the community resources category included the North Portland Tool Library — one of several libraries in the area that allows residents to borrow tools at no cost — and Resourceful PDX, who created maps that list resale shops, donation centers, lending libraries, and more.

Emergency-preparedness organizations also fell under the community resources heading. Their displays included literature on how to prepare for and survive disasters. A few outlying exhibitors and workshops did not fall distinctly into a single category. These included ones that dealt with "green cleaning" or making do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning solutions using safe ingredients, which encompassed both money savings and health. In addition to all of this, the fair also featured hourly door prizes, lunch, on-site professional childcare, and the aforementioned Repair Café, which also provided free minor bike tune-ups and repairs in partnership with Bikes 4 Humanity.

Back in the auditorium, Chuck was getting ready to inflate the reindeer as the woman who brought it in to be fixed sat smiling. He relayed that he had soldered the wire once, but it had broken, so he soldered it a second time.

Chuck punctuated his explanation with good-humored humility, "I’m going to try again. We’ll see how much damage I do."

Repair PDX requires the item’s owner to be present while the item is being fixed. Cindy Correll, a volunteer who helped organize the day’s Repair PDX, said that is partially because they may need to ask questions about how the owner would like their item repaired, but — importantly — also because it encourages the owners to be involved.

"Our volunteers are willing to help teach somebody how to fix something themselves if they are interested in doing that," Correll said. "Sometimes it gives them the confidence to try a repair on their own."

When asked about the importance of the work they’re doing, Correll not only highlighted that it can empower people, but that because it extracts fewer resources, it has a smaller impact on the natural world. In alignment with the intent of the "Fix-It Fairs," they also provide a powerful resource and a simple way to save money.

The last "Fix-It Fair" of the season is scheduled for Saturday, February 23 from 9:30am to 2:30pm at Floyd Light Middle School, located at 10800 S.E. Washington Street in Portland. To learn more, call (503) 823-9710, e-mail <fixitfair@portlandoregon.gov>, or visit <www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/fif>.

* * *

Read the current issue of The Asian Reporter in its entirety!
Go to <www.asianreporter.com/completepaper.htm>!