Money-saving ‘Fix-it Fair’ comes to Parkrose in January ’09

Read this and see what you missed at the “Fix-it Fair” in Lents – and discover all of the money-saving, health-improving, safety-enhancing topics to be covered at the January 10 event at Parkrose High School …

Kyle Barton with Energy Trust of Oregon gives Fix-it Fair attendee Ed Sharick a free energy-saving light bulb and tells him, “Our mission is to help people save money on their energy bill.”

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Once again this year, the streets around Lent Elementary School were packed with cars, as neighbors flocked in to attend the City of Portland’s Fix-it Fair a couple of weeks ago.

“This event, at the Lent School, is our first Fix-it Fair of the ’08-’09 season,” said Jill Kolek, the Training and Outreach Manager at City of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development.

We marveled aloud that that the event has taken place for more than two decades. “Portlanders love the Fix-it Fair; this is our 22nd season of producing them,” she agreed.

Welcoming guests to the Lents Fix-it Fair are organizer Jill Kolek, Desiree Williams-Rajee, and Derek Smith – all from Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development.

Exhibitors show attendees how to save money, be safer and “greener” at the annual Fix-it Fair events.

Money-saving resource connection
The point of the Fix-it Fair, Kolek said, “is to get people connected to all kinds of available resources to help them conserve natural resources like energy and water, and to do ecologically-friendly repairs and upgrades to their homes.”

In addition to helping citizens “be green”, it helps people save money, especially in energy costs. “At this event, people can learn to save a little money by connecting with local food sources, and save a lot of money by learning how to becoming a homeowner instead of paying rent.”

This toy dinosaur looks friendly – but it’s covered with lead paint, explains Perry Cabot, who is with the City’s Lead Poisoning Prevention team, during the free seminar he presents at Fix-it Fair events.

Super safety seminars
Kolek noted that community safety is featured at this year’s Fix-it Fair. “People can meet with crime prevention specialists, learn about identity theft prevention, and learn how to be prepared for major emergencies.”

We always enjoy playing with Portland General Electric’s “Shocking City” exhibit that teaches electrical safety, and we sat in on a seminar that demonstrated how to take steps to protect a family from the dangers of lead poisoning in both air and water.

Ian Fabik and his son, Roland really enjoyed their Burgerville Tillamook Cheeseburgers while attending the Lents fair.

Free samples, classes, and lunch
All of the 45 exhibitors provided one-on-one help in the area of their expertise, and many of them gave free samples to those who visited their booths.

Throughout the day, free classes provided timely information taught by experts on a wide variety of topics. Most of these sessions gave printed handouts to help participants get the most of their learning session.

Coming to Parkrose on January 10
And it’s not too late to attend one of these fairs. “We’re excited to be bringing the Fix-it Fair to Parkrose High School,” Kolek told us. “It’s our first time at the high school.”

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 10, at Parkrose High School, 12003 NE Shaver Street (just west of NE 122nd Avenue).

Parkrose Fix-it Fair Class Listing

“Exactly what topics are presented?” is the question we’re most commonly asked. Kolek responded with the list of classes planned for the January 10 event:

Utility Bill Savings

  • Furnace Basics – Improve the efficiency of your furnace by learning about operation and maintenance, thermostat types, and ducts. Presented at 9 a.m. by Multnomah County Weatherization.
  • Saving Water Makes Cents – Learn simple home repairs and modifications to conserve water and reduce sewer and water bills. Receive a free water conservation kit. Presented at 9 a.m. and at noon by the City of Portland Water Bureau.
  • Home Weatherization – Keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer by learning how to install effective weatherization materials with basic tools. Presented at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. by Community Energy Project.
  • Water Heaters 101 – Get hands-on experience with a step-by-step demonstration of gas and electric water heaters. Presented at 10 a.m. by City of Portland Bureau of Development Services.
  • Cutting Your Energy Bill – Seven easy steps for lowering electric and gas bills. Presented at 11 a.m. by the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development.
  • Snooping Out Air Leaks – Focusing on air and heat movement, professional methods for identifying and measuring air leaks, and solutions for your home. Presented at 11 a.m. by Multnomah County Weatherization.

Home and Personal Health

  • How to Create an EcoSafe Home – A room by room audit of ways to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, with effective alternatives. Presented at 9 a.m. by Oregon Center for Environmental Health.
  • Green Remodel – See how Portlanders conserve resources, save energy, and reduce their “carbon footprint”. Attendees receive a Green Home Remodel Guide. Presented at 10 a.m. by the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development.
  • Principles of a Healthy Home – Creating a healthier home environment adds to your family’s health and well-being. Presented at 11 a.m. by Multnomah County Environmental Health.
  • Got Mold? – What is mold? Can it make you sick? How do you remove it? How do you prevent it? Presented at noon by Multnomah County Environmental Health.
  • Green Cleaners – Save money and protect your family and the environment by using safe, simple ingredients to clean your home. Presented at noon by Metro.
  • Lead Poisoning Prevention – Protect yourself and your family from lead poisoning. Presented at noon by Community Energy Project.
  • Stress Less – Learn about the effects of stress on your body, and how proper nutrition and other techniques can help you lower stress in your life. Presented at noon by Everyday Wellness Clinic.
  • Lead-Safe Home Projects – Accessible and easily applicable Lead Safe Work Practices for the layperson. Receive a free lead-safe project kit, and be pre-qualified to borrow a HEPA vacuum from the Community Energy Project. Presented at 1 p.m. by Community Energy Project.
  • All Season Cycling – Learn tips to stay dry, comfortable, and safe while riding all year round. Also includes a demo of flat-tire repair. Presented at 1 p.m. by the City of Portland Office of Transportation.

Your Home, Your Money

  • Downspout Disconnection 101 – A hands-on demonstration of how to disconnect your downspouts, including tools, materials and safety standards. Presented at 9 a.m. by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
  • Emergency Preparedness – Protect lives and property in the event of a natural- or human-caused disaster. Presented at 10 a.m. by the City of Portland Office of Emergency Management.
  • Financing Your Home Fixes – Discuss popular financing tools and learn common terms for financing home improvement projects. Presented at 10 a.m. by the Portland Development Commission.
  • Identity Theft – Stop identity theft before it occurs, and be prepared if it does. Presented at 10 a.m. by the Identity Theft Awareness Group.
  • Improving & Repairing Your Credit – Repair damaged credit and raise your credit score to get the best terms and rates on loans and related offers. Presented at 11 a.m. by the Portland Development Commission.
  • Homebuying 101 – Learn what you need to buy a home. Discuss the home-buying process and learn helpful tips and resources. Presented at noon by the Portland Development Commission.
  • Emergencies: Beyond 72 Hours – Prepare yourself and your family for beyond the first three days after an emergency. Presented at 1 p.m. by the City of Portland Office of Emergency Management.
  • Create a Budget That Works – Learn the best ways to budget, save money, and reduce debt. Presented at 1 p.m. by Mirra Consulting.
  • Crime Prevention – Solutions to crime and livability issues. Presented at 1 p.m. by the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Team.
  • Hiring a Contractor – Understand contract details, how to avoid fraud and scams, and get valuable tips. Presented at 1 p.m. by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

Yard & Garden

  • General Tree Care – Thorough pruning results in trees that thrive. See examples of healthy trees and pruning techniques. Presented at 9 a.m. by City of Portland Parks and Recreation.
  • Grow Your Own Vegetables! – Learn which plants grow best in the Pacific Northwest, when to plant, and how plentiful the bounty will be. Presented at 9 a.m. by City of Portland Parks and Recreation, Community Gardens.
  • Introduction to Naturescaping – Naturalize your yard with naturescaping and help keep it healthy. Presented at 9 a.m. by East Multnomah Soil and Water.
  • Weeds – Discuss why some weeds are unwanted or invasive, and learn how to control them in your yard. Presented at 10 a.m. by East Multnomah Soil and Water.
  • Introduction to Rain Gardens – Manage stormwater from disconnected downspouts. Assess a site for suitability, chose appropriate plants and more. Presented at 11 a.m. by East Multnomah Soil and Water.
  • Vegetable Gardening for the Northwest Climate – Plant a successful vegetable garden with easy tips for soil preparation, planting calendars, planting methods, and water conservation strategies. Presented at 11 a.m. by Oregon Food Bank.
  • Converting Lawn to Garden – Reduce your lawn mowing chores and grow chemical-free vegetables instead! Learn how to convert your lawn – or weed patch – into raised garden beds. Presented at noon by Metro.
  • Composting Made Easy – It’s easy and inexpensive to improve garden soil by composting your food and garden waste. Learn how to set up and maintain a compost system or worm bin. Presented at 1 p.m. by Metro.

The 22nd Annual Fix-It Fair season is presented by The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development and supported by the following sponsors: Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, Portland Development Commission, and Portland General Electric.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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