‘Maker Day’ is a hit at the Rosewood Café

Take a look, and see one of the first events held in the Rosewood Initiative’s community space …

Kids and adults try their hand at inventing “things” during “Let’s Make Rosewood”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For several years, the Rosewood Initiative has been bringing together neighbors, businesses, law enforcement, and organizations, to reduce crime and improve the 15-block service area around the intersection of 162nd and Burnside.

One main focus of effort has been centered around building a new community center.

> See “Makeover begins, at Rosewood Community Center”: CLICK HERE.

Rosewood Initiative Director Jenny Glass welcomes folks to their new café, and to the the day’s program.

One of their first events in the Rosewood Café was their “Let’s Make” event, held on June 9.

There, working with one of the kids, was organizer Rob van Nood, a teacher at Opal Charter School, which is inside The Children’s Museum.

“I am a co-founder of an organization called Tinker Camp,” van Nood began. “We’re in our fourth year of putting on this summer camp, along with an organization called PDX Stem.”

Youthful tinkerer Mitchel Klepp and Rob van Nood work with an “art-bot”, made from an electric toothbrush motor and other parts. The device draws on the cardboard.

This day’s activities came together, van Nood told East Portland News, after he and Rosewood Initiative Director Jenny Glass came up with the idea was putting together a “pop-up Maker Space” at the café.

“We’d hope to do it in a month, but it took closer to 70 days to put it together,” van Nood said. “We wanted to see if the community was interested in doing these kinds of activities.”

Matthew Klepp and Mason Klepp build a construction-paper rocket they’ll soon test on the outdoor air-launch pad.

Apparently, demand was strong; folks were coming in to check out the event, even before the doors officially opened.

“We have activities primarily made with cardboard,” van Nood described. “They’re relatively open-ended. It is designing and building with cardboard. We have “art bots”, taking motors and gears to make robots that paint and draw and dance and also duel with each other.”

Another popular station was an air-powered launcher, in the parking lot, for launching “all kinds of things”, to see how they fly.

Experimenters Iris van Nood and Eric van Nood test properties of materials in the vertical wind tunnel.

“Our last station is a vertical wind tunnel, where people can experiment with air, and build things that fit in there, and see how they interact with the airstream.”

Soon, the Rosewood Café was filled with “makers” and “tinkerers”, all inventing things are interacting with the props on hand, and with one another.

“Our goal is to create places that are really kid-friendly, design-and-make places,” van Nood concluded.

It looks as if they succeeded!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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