‘Fix-it Fairs’ return to outer East Portland

If you missed the well-attended Parkrose fair, read about it here. And, see where in Powellhurst-Gilbert the last ‘Portland Fix-it Fair’ will be held on January 23 …

Welcoming visitors to the first Portland Fix-it Fair of the season are Rebecca Benitez and Kathryn Hartinger.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Again this year, the Portland Fix-it Fair, put on by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS), scheduled two stops in outer East Portland as it caravanned around the city.

The first one, held on November 21, was at Parkrose High School. But, if you missed it, they’ve planned to hold another one in outer East Portland. To learn more, read on …

BPS Sustainability Outreach Coordinator Bill Beamer spends a moment during the Parkrose fair with BPS Residential Recycling Outreach Coordinator Alicia Polacok.

We’re having a great time at our first event of the season here in Parkrose,” said BPS Outreach Coordinator Bill Beamer, as he looked around the Parkrose High School atrium, which was filled with 60 exhibitors.

“This is the 29th season,” Beamer told East Portland News. “These are free day-long events where neighbors come to learn simple and effective ways to save money and stay healthy at home, this winter and beyond.”

Some 60 exhibitors give advice, and some provide product samples, to Fix-it Fair visitors.

Asked to describe what goes on at a Fix-It Fair, Beamer replied, “There are special features, exhibits, and workshops, from dozens of community partners. We bring in experts who provide concise workshops on topics ranging from water and energy savings to unique community resources.”
New this year, Beamer commented, is a “Financing College” workshop aimed at youth, and mind-body-spirit classes that help to lower stress.

Workshop presenter and author Jacki Gethner gives tips on how to be more relaxed in today’s fast-paced society.

In this class, Multnomah County Weatherization Inspectors Jaycob Padron and Jack Baikov tell how to save money and stay warm during the winter months.

At a Portland Fix-it Fair, you’ll find the exhibitors area open throughout the day, as well as hourly workshops – as many as 30 of them – on such topics as:

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


In the Repair Café, volunteers of Repair PDX struggle to fix a burned-out “hover-board” – but are successful in restoring lamps and toasters to working order.

Additionally, Repair PDX volunteers hold what they call a Repair Café, doing their best to fix small electrical appliances, like toasters and lamps, as well as toys and articles of clothing. Keep in mind that while they do their best, they can’t guarantee a complete repair.

Other useful and fun features include:

  • Free lead blood testing
  • Free giveaways
  • Hourly door prizes
  • Free professional childcare
  • Free minor bike tune-ups and flat tire repair for students and families
  • Free lunch – yes, a FREE lunch!


Parkrose Broncos volunteers Erin Appel, Melanie Nguyen and Mayra Cervantes serve a free lunch at the fair.

“The best part of the Fix-it Fair for me? Well actually, there are two things that come to mind,” Beamer said. “First, I love working with the schools, students, and the school community; it’s a wonderful thing. More than 40 Parkrose Bronco student volunteers helped us set up the fair.

“And, secondarily, it’s also connecting with our community,” Beamer continued. “It’s seeing how we are being able to offer services and information to them, which they find relevant. It’s something that they’ll come out on a Saturday to enjoy, experience, and from which they will benefit.”

Representing the East Portland Neighborhood Office and the East Portland Action Plan at the fair is volunteer Arlene Kimura.

Come to the Powellhurst-Gilbert Fix-it Fair

  • Portland Fix-it Fair
  • January 23, 2016
  • From 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (free lunch around noon)
  • Ron Russell Middle School
    3955 SE 112th Avenue, 97266

If you have a specific question, contact Beamer at william.beamer@portlandoregon.gov.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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