Monday, March 27, 2023
March 27, 2023

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Repair Clark County volunteers to tinker til it ticks at in-person, remote sessions

By , Columbian staff writer

A loose sweater string or a sly, ever-growing tear. A clock that lost its tick, leading someone to forget it was there.

Items in need of a fix could easily be thrown into a litter bin, keeping a to-do list from featuring another annoying task. However, this can be difficult to do for those who are hesitant to add to landfills. And some items are sentimental.

Fortunately, a local service dedicated to restoring damaged appliances, electronics, jewelry, decor and clothing is returning in the new year.

Columbia Springs, an environmental education nonprofit, announced its “jam packed” Repair Clark County schedule, which will roll out in a hybrid format. Manager Terra Heilman encouraged community members to bring in their broken items for fixing at no cost, whether it requires tinkering with stereo wires or sharpening dull knives.

“We believe repair is full circle stewardship and we’re thrilled to offer this free service to the community,” said Kat Cory, Columbia Springs executive director.

Odd months will feature in-person fixing sessions while even months will be remote.

The first in-person event will be at noon Jan. 21 at the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave. Subsequent events will cycle through multiple partner locations scattered throughout the county.

As a general rule, all items must be small enough for one person to carry, but there is no limit to how many items a person can bring. Volunteers will not repair microwave ovens, gasoline-powered equipment, or holiday string lights.

Owners will receive a barcode for items that were dropped off during remote months or require more time to be fixed. The status of these repairs can be found on Columbia Springs’ website.

Every year, more than 100 people are reunited with belongings – some of which hold enormous sentimental value, Heilman said. Repurposing the items, as opposed to recycling them or throwing them in the garbage, brings joy to owners and conservationists alike.

The Washington State Department of Ecology provides a grant to the organization’s waste reduction program to keep it active. Still, Repair Clark County is completely volunteer-based, and Columbia Springs is always seeking more assistance, Heilman said.

Those without experience can join.

Columbia Springs will offer a free training at 6 p.m. Jan. 11 in Vancouver City Hall’s Aspen Room, 415 W. Sixth St. Those who are averse to touching tools or are afraid of worsening an item’s damage can help with event management.

To learn more about Repair Clark County’s schedule, drop-off locations and to view acceptable items for repair, visit