Repair PDX is a Portland, Oregon based organization that hosts “repair cafés” – free events that bring together volunteers who like to fix things with people who have broken items that need fixing.
Early in 2013, the idea of starting a repair café in Portland kept coming up in conversations. With so much interest in the concept, bringing people together to explore it further presented a perfect topic for a local Reuse Alliance Oregon Chapter Meeting. With over 30 people in attendance, the foundation for Repair PDX began to form. A group of volunteers coalesced around the project and launched the first Portland repair café in June, 2013. When a line formed of people with their broken fans, vacuums, small appliances, clothing, bikes and jewelry, it became obvious that there was a real need for this service.
Since that first event, Repair PDX has held six other repair cafés, fixing over 170 items. With 85 attendees at the most recent event, the concept has taken off and Repair PDX’s mission to spread repair culture is succeeding. Nearby City of Gresham is researching incorporating repair cafés into its waste management programs.
Cindy Correll, Reuse Alliance Oregon Chapter Coordinator and Repair PDX organizer, said, “We’ve discovered that people have an emotional attachment to their belongings. They don’t want to throw them away. Something magic happens at our events when people gather to share, learn and help each other through repair. We provide positive, fulfilling experiences that reinforce the benefits of reuse in a powerful, personal way. What could be better than that?”