‘Live’ Portland Fix-it Fair returns to Parkrose

VIDEO TOUR INCLUDED | It’s amazing how many families came to this in-person outer East Portland event. Discover why it’s so popular …

Parkrose High’s atrium is again filled with tables at which visitors “shop for free knowledge” they can get from experts.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic closed down public events, the Portland Fix-it Fair was back with some 40 exhibitors and instructors, set up inside Parkrose High School (PHS) on March 4, for this uniquely Portland service fair that’s been around since 1986.

Here are video highlights of this Portland Fix-it Fair:

The event’s Exhibit Hall was set up in the PHS main atrium – a place where visitors could talk to representatives from dozens of community groups and programs that help families move toward living more safely, saving money, and staying healthy.

-2 Directing visitors to classes is Fix-it Fair organizer, Wing Grabowski.

“The best thing for me about this year’s event was being back in person,” expressed the event’s organizer, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Community Engagement Coordinator Wing Grabowski after the event was over.

“Attendees this year really do get a lot of resources and support form all of the incredible community groups and public agencies where here exhibiting and teaching classes,” Grabowski assured East Portland News.

In the Exhibit Hall and the classrooms, attendees were provided information on a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Utility bills and home comfort
  • Financial wellness
  • Personal health
  • Community safety and involvement
  • Transportation options and tips
  • Repair, borrow, share – and reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Environment, gardening, and yard care


In a smaller atrium in a classroom pod, the Repair Café attracted a hundred people who brought their small appliance, bicycle, or cloth item to be repaired by volunteers.

Fixing garments in the Repair Café area is volunteer seamstress Lauren Zimmermann, who says, “This is my first time volunteering here, and I’m loving it!

Going from hosting “online fairs” to a live-in-person fair has been, as Grabowski described in one word, “Riveting!” He pointed out that the online series of workshops they started during the pandemic had been a success: “We will still continue online workshops, in tandem with in-person events,” he assured.

-4 Workshops were held all day in PHS classrooms – this one, part of 14 workshops called “Build Your Credit for Success”,  provided the opportunity to learn directly from subject-matter experts, and knowledgeable community members.

“But, there is something special about connecting with experts and neighbors in person workshops,” Grabowski emphasized. “The live Fix-It Fairs are so bustling and fun – plus, add in all the giveaways, raffle and food – and t’s something you can’t reproduce online!”

-5 Yes, there is a free lunch at this fair! Folks line up for veggie burritos.

“It’s a great day,” Grabowski said. “You can tell that attendees leave with a greater peace of mind, and that is what it is all about, for me.”

Although this season is now over for Fix-it Fairs, you’ll find links to past recorded YouTube workshop presentations, and signup information, on their official webpage: CLICK HERE to open it.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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