‘Fix-it Fair’ returns in February

If you missed the first fair, back in November, here’s why you should mark February 29 on your calendar – to make sure you to attend this one …

At the first “Portland Fix-it Fair” of the season, held in outer East Portland, people come to learn how to be safer, live healthier, and save money – from volunteers associated with more than 60 organizations.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

While these have now caught on in other cities, Portland is considered the originator of the “Fix-It Fair”, which it started decades ago. The Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) has kept the tradition going, providing three free “Fix-It Fairs” here each season.

The first of the “Fix-It Fairs” this year was held in outer East Portland at Parkrose High School on November 23, and East Portland News was there. The last one is coming up on February 29 in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

The Multnomah County “Weatherization Program” staff – Jack Baikov, Gary Walsworth, Andrey Tkachenko and Jose Flores – spend a moment with “Fix-it Fair” coordinator Wing Grabowski.

“It’s true. For longer than three decades, we’ve been presenting these community resource fairs,” agreed the organizer for BPS, Wing Grabowski, at the Parkrose fair last year.

“Our City government is uniquely positioned to put on a resource fair like this; we do it because it’s important to reduce barriers, and create easy access to a wide variety of community resources all in one place,” Grabowski told East Portland News.

Foster-Powell neighbor June Reyes learns, learns more about Free Geek services from the organization’s Technology Education Coordinator, Tom Gilmore.

It’s not only governmental agencies exhibiting and offering classes at the fair, he pointed out. “Although BES coordinates and promotes these fairs, we have upwards of 80 individual community groups, non-City government programs, nonprofit organizations, and a few individual folks who are provided a lively venue to promote the good things they do in our neighborhoods.”

Community Energy Project Community Educator Tristan Haberstich, of their Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, brings in some of the cleaning supplies they hand to attendees of the “Lead Poisoning Reduction Workshop” she presents at this “Fix-it Fair”.

At both the exhibit tables, and in informative workshops and classes, attendees can learn about:

  • Food and nutrition
  • Gardening and growing your own food
  • Neighborhood and community resources
  • Recycling
  • Safe and healthy home
  • Transportation
  • Water and energy savings
  • Weatherizing your home
  • Yard care and composting

After driving in from The Dalles to help out at the Repair Café, volunteer Alex Lowe sets about fixing a desk lamp.

Another unique feature is the “Repair Café”, where people can bring small appliances or an article of clothing, to be repaired for free, by a Repair PDX volunteer. “These dedicated volunteers so their best, but of course cannot guarantee a complete repair,” Grabowski pointed out.

Serving some of the 600 free lunches given out at the Parkrose fair are Jessica McCammon and Dan Bergstrom from Bocci’s on 7th.

What else is free at “Fix-It Fairs”? They provide free lead blood testing, vendor giveaways, door prizes, professional childcare, and minor bike tune-ups and flat tire repair for students and families. And yes, there is a free lunch, too, served at noon.

“We couldn’t do this without all of the great volunteers who come to spend the day meeting people in the community,” observed Grabowski. “And today, our awesome volunteers from Parkrose High, and Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (Parkrose SUN) really step up and help.”

Students and families get a free bike tune-up and minor repairs at during this “Fix-it Fair”.

The Fix-It Fair returns on February 29
From 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Saturday, February 29, is your last chance this year to attend to attend a Portland “Fix-It Fair”.

Remember, it’s all free to attend, and you’ll learn simple and effective ways to save money, connect with community resources, and get information from more than 60 exhibitors. You can attend hourly workshops, and get great giveaways, too.

To learn more, CLICK HERE. Their season concludes on February 29th at Floyd Light Middle School, 10800 SE Washington Street, 97216.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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