Repairs of all kinds done for free

Don't toss it, fix it. That's the idea behind Repair Cafe, a movement that started in the Netherlands and has now made its way to Gresham.

Repair Cafe is a free event that connects people who like to fix things with people who need something fixed, whether it's a ripped seam or a broken lawnmower.

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED: CITY OF GRESHAM - James Valdez, right, repairs a lamp at a Repair Cafe event in Portland. The cafe will be held in Gresham Aug. 17.The concept behind Repair Cafe is when we fix things instead of throwing them away, we reduce the load on our landfills and lower carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the need for more manufacturing.

East County's first Repair Cafe will be from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Rosewood Initiative, 16126 S.E. Stark St.

According the the Repair Cafe Foundation's website at, people throw away too much, "even things with almost nothing wrong and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair.”

The trouble is that people are out of the habit of fixing things.

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED: CITY OF GRESHAM - Volunteers at Repair Cafe, this one held in Portland, give their time to help with sewing and other repairs.“We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair,” the site states. “The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost.”

But plenty of people still have those skills and they not only can help people make repairs, they also teach those skills to those they help.

Shaunna Sutcliffe, residential and schools program coordinator for the city's Recycling and Solid Waste program, said the city has partnered with the city of Portland and Repair PDX and the Rosewood Initiative to put on the Repair Cafe.

Repairs will be offered for sewing as well as projects for bike, small appliance, small engine and electronics repair.

“It's all about neighbors helping neighbors and we will teach as well as fix,” she said.

More volunteers are still needed, especially in electronic repair, small engine and bike repair.

The Repair Cafe is free and open to the public and translators in Russian and Spanish will be on hand, Sutcliffe said.

“We are good about picking neighborhoods where people need to save money,” she said. “If they can't afford to buy a new lawn mower or a new pair of paints, they can get it fixed for free.”

To volunteer, learn more or help organize a Repair Cafe in your neighborhood, contact Sutcliffe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-618-2694.

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