City partners with Lake Oswego Sustainability Network to host a free event on Saturday

REVIEW FILE PHOTO: PATRICK MALEE - Carol Bryck hems pants at a recent repair fair in West Linn. On Saturday, volunteers will help Lake Oswego residents fix and mend everything from clothing and toys to bicycles and small appliances. There's a growing notion in the United States and across the globe that when something breaks, you just replace it.

Busy work schedules and family lives have left many people feeling like there's just not enough time in the day to get everything done, and that time crunch has led to the slow disappearance of tinkerers, repair wizards and "Mr and Ms. Fix-Its."

But on Saturday, the City and the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network (LOSN) will do what they can to stop that trend. The community's first repair fair is scheduled from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center (505 G Ave.), and plenty of tinkerers and repair wizards are expected to be on hand.

From bikes and small appliances to electronic toys and clothing, the repair fair is a great opportunity to give a second life to broken household items, says LOSN volunteer and steering committee member Dorothy Atwood. And it's free.

"I feel like at the community level, giving people actionable things is a great way to (get them involved in the sustainability movement)," Atwood says. "We had been noodling around on it within the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network, and then it showed up as one of the specific actions that would be worthwhile in the Lake Oswego Climate Action Plan."

Whether it's an old pair of jeans that need to be hemmed, a microwave that gave out or the old bike gathering dust in the garage, there's a long list of items that can be fixed at the repair fair, Atwood says.

The concept is by no means a new one. The City of Portland has hosted several repair fairs since as early as 2013, and others have taken place throughout Clackamas County in recent years. Atwood hopes the repair fair helps Lake Oswegans get into the mindset that instead of merely replacing broken items, there's an option that both saves money and cuts down on waste.

As a professional sustainability consultant, she says she's excited to see the City take another step in its commitment to offering residents new options for decreasing their environmental impact. The repair fair will also be collecting Styrofoam to recycle, she adds.

"It's a free event, and that's a great price," Atwood says. "It's an opportunity to get things repaired, and we hope to expand it in the future to providing skills to repair things yourself.

"One of our ideas (for the future) is that we'd love to help the high schools host a repair fair where volunteer adult repairers have a high school mentee working side-by-side to learn some of these skills," she says. "It's a win-win for the community. It preserves resources for kids and grandkids, and it also gives that loved item, be it clothing or an appliance, a second life."

Items accepted at the repair fair include jewelry, small household appliances, all sorts of clothing, electronic toys and bicycles. Residents can bring multiple items to be worked on simultaneously, but time is limited, Atwood says, so bring those items that really need tending to.

"It's a great event to bring kids to," the LOSN says. "What kid doesn't like seeing a vacuum taken apart?"

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-636-1281 ext. 302 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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