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Bike Farm, a vital oasis in our community, is drying up and needs our help

Posted by on April 30th, 2020 at 9:11 am

An oasis for many riders in our community.
(Photos: Eric Thornburg/No Lens Cap)

Bike Farm in northeast Portland is based on a simple tenet: be open to everyone regardless of what they look like, what they believe, or how how much money they have. That’s why it’s been such a difficult blow to the organization and the people they serve to have been closed for over a month due to coronavirus concerns.

If you’re lucky enough to have a repair stand and tools at home (and the skills to use them), or if you can confidently stride into your local bike shop and get the service you need, you might not understand the value of a place like Bike Farm. This nonprofit, volunteer-run cooperative is a welcoming place full of used parts, tools anyone can use, and people eager to help you use them. They demystify bike repair and create self-reliant riders who are the backbone of our resilient transportation system.

Leaders of Bike Farm made the decision to close on March 13th, 10 days before Governor Kate Brown issued the “Stay Home” order. The plan was to re-open two weeks later, but ongoing virus fears have kept their doors locked. With no source of income during these warmer spring days when they usually get swamped with volunteers and customers, the outlook for them to keep up with rent and other operational expenses gets more ominous with each passing week.

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“The longer we are closed during this season, the greater the threat is to remaining solvent as a non-profit,” reads a statement from Bike Farm. “We are at risk of shutting down.”

Volunteer Alison Percifield remains hopeful they can re-open soon.

To keep their essential service alive and well, Bike Farm has turned to the community for help. Their online relief fund has raised nearly $5,000 in the past week. That’s about one month of the organization’s operational expenses and they hope to raise three months worth ($15,000) to make it through this rough patch.

“We really appreciate the support of the Portland bike community who’ve come out to contribute,” volunteer Alison Percifield shared with us this morning. “We’re inspired to push forward though and be back running in some capacity in the near future!”

If you’re able to help, consider making a donation or becoming a member. You can learn more at the Bike Farm COVID-19 Relief Fund site or at BikeFarm.org.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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David SawchakBill WaltersMomoko SaundersSir Lancealotgtrain Recent comment authors
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Dan Tochen
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Dan Tochen

Donated, thanks for posting about Bike Farm!

gtrain
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gtrain

Thank you all for the support!

Sir Lancealot
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Sir Lancealot

Hopefully they have applied for the SBA Paycheck ProtectionProgram

Momoko Saunders
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Since we are an all volunteer organization and have zero payroll, the PPP program would give us zero dollars. We had applied to the SBA Disaster Loan to try for the 10k grant, but they changed the rules to only offer 1k per employee. We are also applying for other grants but most funding is being reserved for job security. Which makes a lot of sense but doesn’t help our rare breed of all volunteer.

Bill Walters
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Bill Walters

I volunteer over at Bikes for Humanity mostly as a sort of “bike archeologist” who identifies potentially collectible bits donated to B4H, and manages selling them to help finance its programs. I would be happy to do the same for Bike Farm if no one else is filling that role. (Bike Farm folks, drop me a line.)

I worked in typical retail bike shops from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, which exposed me to many of the current collectable trends: old-school BMX, 90s upscale MTB, peak Japanese, classic Campy, etc. Most of what people collect is not well suited for barrier-free transportation bikes anyway, so it often just sits around as a by-product of conversion.

Bill Walters
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Bill Walters

BTW, I’m reachable at http://billwalters.info.

David Sawchak
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Thanks, Bill! I’m pasting your post into an email to the group list and copying you on it. There has been an interest expressed in this, and a couple of volunteers heading it up already, but they may welcome additional assistance.

With no hierarchy, or consistent shop presence (unlike B4H), it’s a challenge! Several of us have an ‘eye’ for certain types of parts, but few have the resources or willpower to actually administer online sales.