The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, February 08, 2019, Page Page 10, Image 9

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February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
Bustling “Fix-It Fair” aims to connect, educate
By Kelly La Croix
The Asian Reporter
he Ockley Green Middle School
auditorium was buzzing with the
sounds of conversation, sewing
machine motors, and clanking tools on the
morning of January 26. In one corner of the
room, Chuck Quarterman sat at a table
with an inflatable reindeer yard decora-
tion in front of him.
“My career was [working on] outdoor
power equipment,” explained Chuck as he
stripped the insulation off one of the
decoration’s wires, “so I did everything
from golf course equipment to little string
trimmers. I’ve always been kind of a fix-it
Chuck and many others like him volun-
teer their time with Repair PDX, a grass-
roots organization dedicated to bringing
repair events — also known as Repair
Cafés — to the Portland metropolitan
area. It was one of many features at the
day’s “Fix-It Fair.”
“Fix-It Fairs” are free events held by the
City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and
Sustainability (BPS) that aim to connect
attendees with resources and educate
them about simple ways to save money.
There are currently three fairs held per
year, all of which are hosted by local public
schools. The schools provide the necessary
space to house such a large event, as a
typical fair may feature more than 60
exhibitors and about 24 hourly workshops,
in addition to other services.
Upon entering the middle school,
attendees were greeted at a multilingual
information booth and given the day’s
schedule. Then they perused the exhibi-
tions and signed up for workshops.
In an effort to make the event feel less
formidable, attendees received a brochure
created by BPS that summarized most of
the offerings, which were grouped into
seven categories: weatherization; health
and nutrition; water and energy savings;
money savings; recycling; yard and garden
care; and community resources.
The “Do It Yourself Weatherization”
workshop highlighted ways to keep homes
warm by sealing outlets, windows, and
doors. Health and nutrition booths handed
out information about aging, stress
management, and diabetes prevention.
Water and energy savings exhibitors
featured free faucet attachments to help
conserve water use and offered a workshop
aimed at helping people understand
Portland’s home energy score in order to
make energy-efficient choices.
Booths related to money savings in-
cluded some that distributed material to
first-time homebuyers and an all-day
FREE “FIX-IT FAIRS.” The City of Portland’s
“Fix-It Fairs” connect residents with money-saving,
environmentally friendly resources through free work-
shops and exhibits. The event features a Repair Café
(top photo) as well as information on home and per-
sonal health, food and nutrition, community resources,
recycling, lead testing, utility savings (bottom photo),
and more. (AR Photos/Jan Landis)
workshop focused on financial planning.
Certified master recyclers answered
questions on where and how to recycle
items. Among other exhibitors in the recy-
cling category was Free Geek, an organiza-
tion that takes donated technology and
reuses it to educate its patrons, recycles it
by exchanging computers for performing
community service, and resells it to the
general public.
The booths that centered on yard and
garden care offered brochures on native
plants, composting tips, and giveaways of
vegetable and flower seeds. Popular
workshops included “Intro to Rain
Gardens” and “Building a Backyard
Habitat on a Budget.”
Exhibitors in the community resources
category included the North Portland Tool
Library — one of several libraries in the
area that allows residents to borrow tools
at no cost — and Resourceful PDX, who
created maps that list resale shops,
donation centers, lending libraries, and
Emergency-preparedness organizations
also fell under the community resources
heading. Their displays included litera-
ture on how to prepare for and survive
disasters. A few outlying exhibitors and
workshops did not fall distinctly into a
single category. These included ones that
dealt with “green cleaning” or making
do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning solutions
encompassed both money savings and
health. In addition to all of this, the fair
also featured hourly door prizes, lunch,
on-site professional childcare, and the
aforementioned Repair Café, which also
provided free minor bike tune-ups and
repairs in partnership with Bikes 4
Back in the auditorium, Chuck was
Continued on page 11
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