Rosewood hosts ‘Repair Café’

Discover why the City of Gresham held this successful event in outer East Portland, and where you can visit another Repair Café on October 7 …

This Repair Café, held in the Centennial neighborhood, fixes things for people residing both in Portland and in Gresham.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Across the area, the Repair Café organization has held free fix-it events, at which volunteers attempt to repair all kinds of small appliances, tools, and clothing.

The Repair Café held on August 10 at Rosewood wasn’t presented by the Portland-based organization, Repair PDX, but instead, was sponsored by the City of Gresham.

City of Gresham Recycling and Solid Waste Division event coordinator Shawna Sutcliffe-Shadle remarked that Rosewood was the perfect spot for the event.

“I work for the City of Gresham in the Recycling and Solid Waste Division, and we partner with the coalition of Gresham neighborhood associations to hold about four events each year,” said event coordinator Shawna Sutcliffe-Shadle.

“We like to hold one Repair Café on Gresham’s west side at least once a year, and Rosewood wanted to host one.  They have a really great location here in outer East Portland, very near the city line,” she told East Portland News. “A Repair Café is an amazing place, where things get fixed; for example, someone brought in an old-school commercial countertop kitchen mixer worth $1,000 or more, and one of our repairers got it fixed!”

Volunteer “fixer” Chris Hansen begins a repair on a desk lamp.

Sometimes the items fixed are of sentimental importance; others are practical things people use every day, and can’t afford to have professionally replaced, the coordinator observed. “Having it fixed here, instead of being thrown out and added to the waste stream, means they can keep it and get a lot more use of it.”

All of their 20 or so “fixers” present that evening were volunteers, Sutcliffe-Shadle pointed out. “Some of them repair things as a job, for pay. But when they come here and do it for free, they know they’re giving back to the community, and they can actually have a conversation with the person for whom they’re fixing it.”

At her sewing machine, Sarah Rabeda mends an article of clothing.

Everyone who brings in an item – we ask that folks also bring in any parts, buttons, matching thread, power cords, batteries, connecting cables, remote controls, instructions manuals, they might have – has an opportunity to have their item repaired, free of charge.

“We don’t make any promises or guarantees; but our fixers do the very best they can,” Sutcliffe-Shadle said.

She asked that we let readers know that they’ll be hosting another Repair Café on October 7, in Gresham – as part of the Mt. Hood Community Conservation Fair. It’s from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Mt. Hood Community College, Vista Dining Hall, 26000 SE Stark Street.

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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