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Have extra new or used water bottles? Homeless Portlanders need them

Posted by on April 13th, 2020 at 4:00 pm

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortlanD)

We’re nearly a month into this virus outbreak and we’re still learning about the many different ways it impacts our community. Especially people who were more vulnerable going into it.

Today I heard from Portlander Mia Matusow. She’s a volunteer with Blanchet House, a local nonprofit that has served millions of free meals and provided other essential services to our homeless neighbors since 1952.

Mia said access to water is harder than ever for people who live outside. That’s because they usually depend on public water sources like Benson Bubblers and drinking fountains and faucets inside parks. But those have been closed to stop the virus from spreading. Cafes and coffee shops that people might have received water from are also closed.


People who no longer have access to these water sources and who don’t have a stable place where they can and use running water must now store and carry more water than usual. But many of them don’t have water bottles. That means they’re not drinking enough.

“Members of the homeless population are facing serious dehydration,” Mia says.

She reached out to BikePortland because she thought there might be bike-related businesses or event promoters who may have many extra bottles lying around.

With dozens of major bike events cancelled in the past month (official racing season has been postponed through May 31st), could their be boxes of bottles gathering dust out there? Beyond surplus bottles made for events that won’t ever happen, Mia says gently used bottles are needed as well.

If you can help, get in touch with Mia at bluelinemia [at] live [dot] com. You can also drop them off at Blanchet House directly at 310 NW Glisan St. Their phone number is (503) 241-4340 and their email is

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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Toby KeithGranpaChris IDavid HampstenX Recent comment authors
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Alan 1.0

I’d like to hear more from the health department about that ban, particularly in view of CDC’s FAQ:,causes%20COVID%2D19.

“The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”


Are there reliable indications from people who study this that Benson Bubblers are a means of transmitting a virus? (Without touching them which is totally optional).

Should ‘out of an abundance of caution’ join ‘thoughts and prayers’ in the memory hole? Corona virus kills people but so does thirst. Given the choice of a BB vs a used water bottle I’m probably going to be in that long line.

David Hampsten

For my gently used plastic water bottle, how do I get rid of the green or yellow scum at the bottom of it before I donate it?