Winter ‘Fix-it Fair’ breaks 20-year attendance records

If you missed the event, see why so many people
came to this year’s event, held in Lents …

Jill Kolek of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development, with Fix-it Fair staff members Wing Brabowski, Genevieve Joplin, Yvonne Garcia, and Ishah Ahumada. All, here, are welcoming folks to the fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
After 20 years of City of Portland sponsored “Fix-it Fairs”, one might think folks in East Portland might have tired, a bit, of the familiar event.

Not so, says the event’s organizer, from the City of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development, Jill Kolek. “We have had a record number of visitors. We’ll see more than 800 participants today at our 21st annual Fix-it Fair. Our daycare room has filled up several times today.”

Parking was tight around Lent School on SE 97th Avenue, between SE Harold Street and SE Holgate Boulevard on January 12 – another testiment to the Fair’s success.

“The Fix-it Fair is important,” Kolek says, “because it makes great community resources available to all these folks.”

In addition to the 45 vendor booths set up in the school’s gym, two dozen classes about efficient water use, energy efficiency, the dangers of lead in the home, remodeling, gardening, recycling, and other topics are presented throughout the day.

“The whole idea,” adds Kolek, is to help direct neighbors to community resources that help them both conserve the environment – and also their money.”

Fix-it Fair photo album

Caron Kepic, Madine Lutes, Jimi Johnson talk with Rex Hollingsworth (Rex Heating & Air Conditioning) and Dave Lutes, at the Multnomah County Weatherization Program table. Hollingsworth is holding a cracked furnace heat-exchanger which allows carbon monoxide to leak into the airflow of the furnace. “It’s both inefficient and dangerous,” Hollingsworth says.

Caran Goodall, Master Recycler, at the “Remodel It Green” table, speaking with visitor James Graham. Graham commented, “The exhibits and information are really good. I’m glad I came.”

Nancy Weber, on behalf of the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, leads a seminar called “How to avoid mistakes when hiring a contractor”. How many mistakes can there be? Quite a few, it turns out. Weber handed out a thick booklet illustrating many disastrous outcomes.

Burgerville employees coming from all four outer East Portland restaurants are fixing some of the 1,000 cheeseburgers they’re handing out  – for free – at the Fix-it Fair. Jerry Otto, manager of the Burgerville at SE 122 Avenue & SE Stark Street explains, “Company-wide, we’re all about sustainability – helping the environment and giving back to our community.”

The 21st Annual Fix-It Fair season was sponsored by The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development, as well as by Burgerville, Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, Portland Development Commission, and The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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