Your last chance to attend a free ‘Fix-it Fair’

See what we found at this season’s first Fix-it Fair – and what you can expect to find if you make the trek to this year’s last one – coming up Saturday, February 25 in North Portland …

People come from far and wide to get free information, giveaways – and a free lunch – at Portland’s Fix-it Fairs, like this one, which took place in outer East Portland, a few weeks ago.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A reminder from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) that their last “Fix-it Fair” of the year in North Portland is coming up this weekend prompts us to share our visit to the “season opener”, on November 17, which took place at Ron Russell Middle School, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

“Welcome to our 25th annual series of Fix-it Fairs,” greeted BPS Events and Outreach Coordinator Desiree Williams-Rajee. “At these events, we give resources on how to save money, and live well.”

BPS Residential Outreach Coordinator and Lauren Norris and Events and Outreach Coordinator Desiree Williams-Rajee welcome folks to the East Portland Fix-it Fair.

“It’s a great community resource event,” Williams-Rajee smiled. “It’s great seeing so many people come out and learn new things to make their lives, and the lives of their families, better.”

This year, Williams-Rajee said, a great turnout of volunteers has really helped in presenting quality Fix-it Fairs. “It’s actually been amazing to see the support that we have had.”

Zenger Farms instructor chef Christian Anayas demonstrates how to cook a healthful dish, from the program called “Healthy eating on a budget”.

Mark White, President of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, and Arlene Kimura, President of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, tell about the East Portland Neighborhood Office, and help folks learn how to get more involved in their neighborhoods.

Asked why outer East Portland is hosting only one Fix-it Fair this year, Williams-Rajee replied, “We try to spread it out to all Portland, and we’re trying to share resources.”

The school’s gym was transformed into an exhibition hall where many exhibits by city, county and community service organizations afforded attendees a wealth of information. A walk down the aisles provided folks with information, and one-on-one consulting on topics ranging from weatherization to health and nutrition, water and energy savings, recycling, yard and garden care and community resources.

“Saving Water Makes Cents” is the topic of a class taught by Portland Water Bureau’s Sabrina Litton.

Additionally, free workshops were provided on:

  • Home & personal health;
  • Home repairs & utility savings;
  • Sound money & safe homes; and
  • Having better yards and gardens.

If that weren’t enough, the Fix-it Fair also provided free lead testing, on-site child care, free prizes – and a free lunch.

The “Mayo Lady”, Alli Magee of Bocci’s on 7th Restaurant, cheerfully dresses turkey sandwiches at the end of the free lunch pickup line.

Fix-it Fairs are open to all Portland residents. The last such event of the year is Saturday, February 25, at Jefferson High School, 5210 N. Kerby Avenue.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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