Repair Café

repair-cafe-longOne of Portland’s coolest groups of people got together, again – the Repair Café.

This event was held at Bike Farm, a fantastic nonprofit staffed by volunteers who teach people how to repair their own bikes. Such a Portland thing to do! For Repair Café purposes, this venue was amazing. First of all – bike stands! A plethora of tools for repairing bikes, including parts available for purchase. And, bike repair volunteers! If that’s not enough fun in one place, the Bike Farm space has beaucoup electrical outlets, perfect for our seamstresses and appliance / small motor volunteers. For those of us taking names and giving out repair tickets at the door, we had a large counter space.

Check out these numbers: 85 people came through with stacks of sewing, appliances (it was a big night for KitchenAid mixers), bikes, lawnmowers, and knives for sharpening. There were 20 volunteers, all busy, all working hard. And it was soooo much fun! Some nights are magical, and last Thursday was one of those nights. People were happy. Maybe because spring is imminent. Maybe because they left with sharp knives from 1 Sharptool.

If you haven’s tried out Repair Café yet, it’s time. The next event is April 5th at the Convention Center where we will be partnering and sewing with Abby’s Closet. Have you heard of Abby’s Closet of West Linn? These are the folks that collect and distribute prom gowns. Check it out:

‘The mission of Abby’s Closet is to inspire confidence and respect in high school women by providing free formal gowns for prom and other memorable events”

People come to the Repair Café (and Bike Farm, and Abby’s Closet) for many reasons: to save money, to keep goods out of the landfill, to repair things, and to give back to the community. Personally, I’m a keep-it-out-of-the-landfill gal. Do we need more stuff, or could we make the stuff we have last longer? Let’s make it last longer. And along these lines, here’s my obligatory anti-plastic pitch. Most plastic is made to be disposable, but it’s not biodegradable, and is a terrible recyclable. Oh, and it’s bad for your health, perhaps the most important point. If you are interested in decreasing your plastic use, here’s a great site for non-plastic everyday goods: tiffins, food containers, toothbrushes, you name it. As a bonus, the website info section is a great resource for learning more about plastics. In particular, the quick guide to plastic by numbers (1, 4, 7, etc.) has good facts about health impact and recyclability of the various plastic levels. If you feel like shopping, I can personally recommend the Abeego food wraps (goodbye Saran Wrap!), and the bulk food bags. Using an old pillowcase for bulk food works, but – let’s face it – it’s a bit dorky.

Come see us at the Repair Café! Bring your broken toy, your ripped jeans, meet some cool folks. Be prepared for a happy crowd. Heck, it’s so much fun, you might want to volunteer with us next time!