(Photos: Melinda Musser)
The non-profit, all-volunteer Bike Farm celebrated its opening day at its new location yesterday. Then this morning, volunteers awoke to news that an overnight fire destroyed all their tools and caused significant damage throughout their space at 1810 NE 1st Avenue.
Bike Farm board member Momoko Saunders said the cause of the fire was grease-filled rags that spontaneously combusted overnight. “It’s pretty intense,” she told us via telephone a few minutes ago, as she surveyed the damage. “It burnt the entire nine-foot workbench. There’s just one 2×4 left.” It addition to the workbench, the fire melted and destroyed all their workstands and tools. Fortunately, the side of the shop with a selection of used and new parts and accessories didn’t burn.
“It’s the morale that’s the biggest loss.”
— Momoko Saunders, Bike Farm board member
This is a major blow for an all-volunteer organization that had just put the final polish on a major move from a tiny, 760-square-foot shop to a brand new 4,500 square foot space. They moved into the space on Saturday and yesterday was their first official day of business.
Asked how the community can support them, Saunders says thankfully insurance will cover the losses, so while donations are more than welcome, showing support for the Bike Farm might be the best way to help. “It’s the morale that’s the biggest loss,” she said, “We were so excited. This is all volunteer and our success depends on people being excited about what we’re doing… We all pushed ourselves so hard to get to this point… We were just nearly finished.”
Here are two more shots of the damage…
Saunders says she would love to see the community stop by and support the shop and offer encouragement to get back on their feet. “Come in and say hello and hang out with us. Use the shop and make it feel good again and get rid of this negative haze that’s hanging over it now. We need support from the community to tell us we can keep on going and that Portland needs the Bike Farm.”
The only thing left to complete the Bike Farm’s big move was a grand opening celebration set for next Saturday, August 24th. Now that event is going to be a benefit party. Bike Farm’s neighbors, the Community Cycling Center, have already offered to loan them tools, but Saunders says it’s still too soon to know when they’ll be able to open again.
If you’d like to donate to Bike Farm, you can do so online. Or, if you’d like to volunteer or offer other help, contact Momoko Saunders at email@example.com or call (971) 533-7428.