Annual event offers an array of items to people in need

Photo Credit: TIDINGS FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Victoria Etchemendy started Circulation Day more than 20 years ago, and said the Unity Center had its largest turnout ever last year. In the 20-plus years since Rev. Victoria Etchemendy started “Circulation Day” at the West Linn-based Unity Center, she has been struck by one particular observation: People only take what they need.

It could be a free-for-all, a chance for greed to overcome gratitude. But attendees at this annual “fall harvest” seem to always follow the spirit of giving and receiving that that Unity Center emphasizes.

“It’s the ultimate form of recycling,” Etchemendy said.

Circulation Day is set to return to West Linn this Saturday, and Etchemendy hopes to build on what she called “the biggest turnout we’ve had” back in 2013. Come Saturday morning, the Unity Center parking lot will be filled with an array of donated items — from furniture to clothes, toys, books and household items — all available free of charge.

“It’s been a very successful event,” Etchemendy said. “People go away with treasures they can use and need ... it’s important for people to know that it’s open to everybody to donate, and open to everybody to take things away.”

This year, Clackamas County volunteers will lend a hand in the event, and the Unity Center will work to engage as many organizations as possible to spread the word.

“We work with local agencies, foster families, food banks, the Canby Women’s Shelter ... we’re getting as many people as possible,” Etchemendy said.

In the beginning, when the Unity Center was still in Lake Oswego, Circulation Day was held on the lower level of the Lakewood Center. Later, it moved to the corner of Third Street and A Avenue, before finally arriving at its current West Linn location.

Each year, Etchemendy’s passion for helping others is invigorated when she meets new people and hears their stories. There were the foster mothers who found tables full of baby clothes; the woman from South Africa who was looking for items to ship back home to her family; the man who was starting a new job and found a whole wardrobe’s worth of suits; the family from Arizona searching for much-needed winter coats.

“Sometimes we think West Linn is wealthy, that people aren’t in need — and they are,” Etchemendy said. “For us, it’s learning how to not keep things that are no longer useful to us. When you realize it could be useful to someone else, when you have one too many skillets or whatever it may be, it’s the ultimate in recycling.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things we do, to send people home with something they can use and be grateful for.”

Donations for Circulation Day can be dropped off at 20255 Willamette Drive today, from 4 to 7 p.m.; tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m.

Circulation Day will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Unity Center.

For more information, contact the Unity Center at 503-697-9765, or visit

Contact Patrick Malee at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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