Get your Junk Fixed

by Nim Wunnan

Repair PDX embodies Portland’s spirit of community and supports it’s thriving DIY culture. We invited them to a brunch after meeting Lauren Gross, R-PDX’s main mover and shaker, at Bike Farm where they hold events on occasion. She loves hearing about cool projects and found herself in good company on a Sunday back in October with, in her words, “people doing cool shit and sharing ideas”. And we are that! And so is she.

Terms like up cycling, waste reduction/elimination and building community would fit neatly in the values of Repair PDX, as it does with many locals. People attend Repair Cafes – the name of the fix it events – because they may find a way to get the “stuff they love fixed” and connect. They come with random small appliances, bikes, socks with holes, bits of this and that that go with other bits of this and that. It’s a good model and one alternative to our disposable culture. These events and the people that come, leave Lauren “feeling inspired when there is so much to be depressed about”. The sentiment is surely reciprocated by attendees.

Catching up with her now finds her similarly seeking out projects and venues, people and ideas that fit and “spread repair culture”. She is especially enthusiastic about the Portland airport carpet removal: 14 acres of teal, blue, red and lavender that will soon be replaced by an updated version. That’s a lot of carpet – a rough estimate of 135 tons of material. Recycling may not be a viable option due to the adhesive used but up cycling is a conversation she would like to take part in or facilitate. And she is backed up by a pool of 70 volunteers.

These skill sharing events are fueled by volunteers who bring their various skills and knowledge with them. Lauren has a goal of reaching 1000 volunteers to add more to these events and create a base of people that are accessible for other community happenings. Repair PDX will hold it’s next cafe on May 1st at the Historic Kenton Firehouse from 6-9 pm. Are you in?