By Kirk Boxleitner
If you’re not ready to let go of an item that’s seen better days — whether it’s a piece of clothing that needs mending, an appliance that no longer …
By Kirk Boxleitner
If you’re not ready to let go of an item that’s seen better days — whether it’s a piece of clothing that needs mending, an appliance that no longer works, or a keepsake that could use a touch-up — JeffCo Repair is offering a series of regional community events, once a month from winter through the spring, to help get your possessions back into proper shape.
Whether you’ve got a bicycle with a squeaky wheel, or even a resume that could use a review from someone else, these repair events are free community gatherings where individuals can bring their broken belongings to be repaired by local volunteers with a variety of skills.
According to outreach coordinator Mandi Johnson, the repair events’ crews of volunteers can rewire floor lamps and figure out why the suction on your vacuum cleaner has stopped.
Perhaps as importantly, Johnson sees such events as not only sparing goods from landfills, but also contributing to the sharing of practical repair know-how among local community members.
“The community had its first repair cafe in 2020, before COVID shut it down,” Johnson said. “But then we got a public participation grant from the state Department of Ecology in late 2021.”
This enabled the JeffCo Repair events, sponsored by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, to start in earnest in 2022, with the support of Local 2020’s Beyond Waste action group.
The Repair events have diverted just short of 2,018 pounds of materials from the waste stream, repaired 372 items for Jefferson County residents, and averaged an 80.5 percent success rate in repairing items brought to them.
Johnson estimated the repair crews have expanded from slightly more than 10 to now nearly 30 volunteers. She invited more prospective fixers and tinkerers to take part, by emailing her at email@example.com.
“We all learn by doing, but what I’ve learned is, a lot of repairs are very simple, or at least not nearly as difficult or complicated as one might think,” Johnson said. “Our folks can show those who stop by our events how to do certain repair work for themselves. Attendees gain not only relatively quick repairs, but also an informed sense of empowerment.”
JeffCo Repair asks attendees to limit themselves to two repair items per person. One must remain present during the repairs, and organizers request that you clean all items beforehand. If your item needs a part, JeffCo Repair requests that you bring the part, along with any manuals or extra components you might need to repair the item.
You must sign a waiver, holding the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and its volunteers blameless for any potential damage to your property, and JeffCo Repair cannot guarantee that any item can be repaired, nor that attempting to repair it won’t break it further.
If your repair lies outside of the scope of the on-site fixers, they may still be able to recommend temporary solutions, or area professionals who could provide the services needed.
Restricted items include those that are grimy, dirty, hazardous, leaking fluids, emitting noxious or excessive odors, and microwaves or anything that cannot be easily carried, from major appliances to motor vehicles.
The next repair event is at the Brinnon Community Center, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, followed by an event at the Quimper Grange in Port Townsend, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.
Later repair events are scheduled for the Quilcene Community Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, and the Jefferson County Public Library in Port Hadlock-Irondale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 25.
“Everyone has stuff, so everyone has stuff that they need repaired,” Johnson said. “These repair events not only allow you to save money and save the environment, but also save things that have sentimental value. If something has value to you, why not try to hold onto it a little bit longer?”