All Previous News

Posted: November 6, 2013
Filed under: Awards, Events, News

Thank you for voting us the #1 local nonprofit using technology in outstanding ways as part of PDXTech4Good’s Thanks4Good event! We were excited to learn more about other top-nominated organizations including App Camp For Girls, Autism Service Dogs of America, Street Roots, and Aloha Community Library Association at their November 6th information session and awards ceremony. While PDXTech4Good initially planned to give all funds raised to Free Geek, we announced we’re going to share portions of the donations with the #2 and #3 spots, Autism Service Dogs of America and App Camp for Girls. There’s still time for you to donate to these three amazing local organizations.


Food, Drink, Friends, Art and a Great Cause (Hint: It’s Free Geek)

Posted: September 6, 2013
Filed under: Donate, Events, News

sienna-morris-Doctor-StrangePlan on stopping by 5136 NE Garfield Ave Thursday 9/26 between 4:30 and 9pm for an Alberta Street Last Thursday event unlike any other. Oregon First will host Portland Giveback, an art show benefiting Free Geek. Sienna Morris, the originator of Numberism (using numbers to create drawings) is generously donating 50% of all proceeds from art sales to Free Geek! Sienna’s intricate work uses numbers and equations to make up the subjects of her artwork. We’re currently displaying one of her pieces behind the Donor Desk, and have been wowed by the positive responses of visitors.


Oregon First has also solicited wonderful partners for food and beverages including The Great Escape, Rail Side Brewing, and ArborWork Vineyards. Other sponsors include Bear Printing, Cascade Radon, IMPAC Mortgage, and Speedy Septic. We’d also love the opportunity to feature your business on our website, social media and at the event. Please consider becoming a matching donations sponsor at a level that works for you. To request more information or offer your support please write to info (at) freegeek (dot) org or give us a call at 503-232-9350 (x111).


Thank you for another excellent Volunteer Appreciation BBQ & Town Hall Meeting!

Posted: August 19, 2013
Filed under: Events, News

Thank_you_pinned_noteThank you to everyone who came out the Town Hall Meeting & 2013 Volunteer Appreciation BBQ! Without the dedication, time and skills of our wonderful volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to have anywhere near the same impact providing access to computers and education while diverting e-waste from landfills.


We also wouldn’t have been able to offer such an amazing event without the generous support of the many local businesses who provided goods to make the BBQ happen: Better World Club, Bridgeport Brewing Company, Common Ground Wellness Center, Dave’s Killer Bread, Everyday Music, Fit Right Northwest, Full Sail Brewing, Gales Meadow Farm, Gathering Together Farm, Grand Central Baking Company, KEEN, Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Lucky Labrador Brewery, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Northwest Children’s Theater, Pacific Pie Company, Portland Children’s Museum, Portland Taiko, and Voodoo Doughnut.


Win prizes valued over $250 in the Free Geek Tshirt Design Contest

Posted: July 3, 2013
Filed under: Events, News

Free Geek is pleased to announce our Summer 2013 T-Shirt Design Contest! This competition is open to the public including volunteers, donors, and Free Geek aficionados.


Entrants must submit their design, along with a signed Design Submission Terms and Conditions by 11:59pm, July 13, 2013 for a chance to win prizes valued at over $250 including: (1) $100 gift certificate to the Free Geek Thrift Store; (1) $100 Threadless gift certificate; (2) t-shirts with the winning design; (1) hoodie with the winning design. Your awesomeness will also be immortalized on new Free Geek t-shirts and hoodies!


Ready to submit your prize-winning design!? Check out the contest rules, then download our logo and submission guidelines.


This Week @ Free Geek (June 25th edition)

Posted: June 27, 2013
Filed under: News

What is This Week @ Free Geek?

This Week @ Free Geek provides short weekly updates and opportunities for input on the goings-on around Free Geek valuable for Free Geek volunteers, donors and thrift store shoppers. We aim to provide timely updates, news, stories about our volunteers and various Free Geek programs. Soon, you’ll be able to find This Week @ Free Geek online every week. If you’d prefer to get weekly updates in your inbox, sign up here. If you’ve got an idea for an update, please send it our way: thisweek (at) freegeek (dot) org!

Subscribe now to get short weekly
updates sent directly to you

You could win $250 in prizes in the Free Geek t-shirt contest

Do you have an awesome idea for a new Free Geek t-shirt? We’re accepting contest submissions between now and July 13, 2013 for original, creative t-shirts that highlight Free Geek. Find out more about how to enter your prize-winning design.


Wanted: Office Support Interns

Interested in developing office skills and learning more about what Free Geek does? Gain skills scheduling volunteers, answering phones, and handling paperwork by becoming a Front Desk Intern. Learn more about the position and apply today!


Question of Week

What news would you like to see in This Week @ Free Geek? Send your answers to thisweek (at) freegeek (dot) org

Subscribe now to get short weekly
updates sent directly to you

Blaine Deatherage-Newsom, You’re Awesome!

Posted: June 26, 2013
Filed under: Events, News, Star Volunteer

One of the best volunteers in the world!Can you believe that 10 years ago today (June 26th) a young man –who just about everyone who has volunteered at Free Geek will recognize– first showed up and said “I’m ready to volunteer at Free Geek!”? Blaine Deatherage-Newsom has been an amazing Build Instructor, supporter and friend to so many who have passed through the halls of Free Geek. Everyone comments on his patience, positive attitude and amazing approach to life. He has donated well over 4,000 hours of his time to Free Geek, helping everyone learn the ins and outs of building well over a thousand computers. In honor of his amazing service, we’re celebrating our first-ever Blaineversary!


Blaine says, “You know, I realized I’ve been here a long time when I saw that I was teaching more than a few new builders how to work on their first computer…who weren’t even born when I started at Free Geek.”


We’d love for you to share a comment on our Facebook Page or send an email to blaineversary (at) freegeek (dot) org with your favorite Blaine stories, thoughts and pictures.


Blaine, you are a rockstar, we love and appreciate you and look forward to our next ten years together!



Special opportunity to go straight into the laptop build program

Posted: June 14, 2013
Filed under: News

Introducing: Laptop Prebuild


Want to volunteer with Free Geek? Need a computer? Join the Free Geek Laptop Department for summer sessions of Laptop Prebuild, a new program designed to prepare volunteers to join the Laptop Build program. Earn points towards a free Desktop computer while gaining new skills.


Get an introduction to the ins and outs of laptop hardware, troubleshooting and repair. Topics include hardware identification, disassembly/assembly strategies, POST troubleshooting, and an introduction to Linux. Students will participate in four one-day sessions, although some may “test out” prior to completion of the four weeks..


Thursdays July 11th-August 1st, 2-5:30pm


Volunteers must be 16 or older, or volunteering with an adult. An orientation tour is required, and a Free Geek Linux command line class is strongly recommended.


Email with any questions. To pick up an application, swing by the Free Geek front desk, or email Lynnae.


Two Burgervilles Supporting Free Geek Wednesday 3/20

Posted: March 18, 2013
Filed under: Events, News

Consider visiting either the Burgerville at 16211 SE Division St or 1122 SE Hawthorne Blvd between 5 and 8pm on Wednesday the 20th to help support Free Geek. They’re both donating 10% of their proceeds from this evening to Free Geek.


Two Portland Non-Profits Set to Complete Major Computer Project

Posted: March 5, 2013
Filed under: News, Press Releases



Contacts: Jill Walters, Executive Director, Portland YouthBuilders; 503-286-9350 ext 241


Darren Heiber, Director of Public Services, Free Geek; 503-232-9350 ext 111


Two Portland Non-Profits Set to Complete Major Computer Project

200 Refurbished Computers Being Donated to Portland Public Schools


Portland, Oregon – March 5, 2013 Free Geek and Portland YouthBuilders (PYB) announced today that they are near completion of a project to refurbish 200 desktop computers donated by the City of Portland that are being distributed to various Portland public schools.


Through the City of Portland, 200 computers are being donated to Free Geek, who will train volunteers to test the machines and prepare them for refurbishment by students enrolled in Portland YouthBuilders’ Youth Media Program. As a licensed Microsoft Windows refurbisher, PYB will install RAM and hard drives on the Dell Optiplex 960 systems. “Since 2008, the City has been sending its used computers to Free Geek for precisely this type of collaboration: getting quality machines into the hands of students and non-profit organizations,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman who created the program.


To date, more than 140 computers have been refurbished and placed in schools across PPS including 35 at West Sylvan Middle School. “I had the joy of watching an entire class working with no technical difficulties, no frozen screens. Pure heaven for all,” said Susan Scanlon, West Sylvan library assistant and technology coordinator. “Portland Public Schools has over 85 schools, many with obsolete equipment in their computer labs,” added Tony Magliano, deputy chief operating officer for the school district. “This donation will inject new life into technology labs at nine schools. We are truly grateful to Free Geek and Portland YouthBuilders for this contribution to student learning.”


For Portland YouthBuilder students, all of whom are also AmeriCorps members, “the refurbishment effort represents PYB’s focus on vocational training and service to the community. We are delighted to be able to give our young people the opportunity to support Portland schools in a very tangible way,” said PYB’s Executive Director Jill Walters.


Darren Heiber, Free Geek’s Director of Public Services, said he is, “overjoyed to experience this collaboration with Portland YouthBuilders, impacting so many students in the Portland area. Not only do we provide greater access to environmentally-responsible refurbished technology in the PPS classrooms, students in the Portland YouthBuilders’ Youth Media program also get to strengthen their computer refurbishment skills.”


About Portland YouthBuilders
Based in the Lents Neighborhood of outer southeast Portland, PYB ( supports 200 low income young men and women each year between 17 and 24 who have dropped out of high school but are committed to changing their lives. PYB offers a multi-year program of education, vocational training, leadership development, community service, and long term support. Students earn high school diplomas or GED while acquiring the skills, values, and experience necessary to become responsible community members and lead self-sufficient lives. As AmeriCorps Members, each PYB student completes 450 hours of community service and earns an Education Award of $1,468. PYB is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission as a diploma-granting high school, and is an approved pre-apprenticeship program by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. The program is funded 28% through a Federal award of $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor – ETA for the YouthBuild Program Initiative. PYB is financed in part with funds provided through Worksystems, Inc. from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Portland Development Commission. Portland YouthBuilders is an equal opportunity employer and an equal opportunity program. Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities are available upon request. TTY1-800-735-2900


About Free Geek
FREE GEEK ( is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that recycles technology and provides access to computers, the Internet, education and job skills in exchange for community service. We accept donations from the public of most electronic equipment, ranging from computers and printers to stereos, tablets, smartphones, iPods and other mp3 players. Free Geek benefits from a dedicated group of 500 to 600 active volunteers each month. Our volunteers evaluate, test and disassemble various components, which are either ethically recycled to reclaim useful materials or incorporated into refurbished systems loaded with Free and Open Source Software. There are multiple ways volunteers can receive a free computer in exchange for their community service. Many opt for the 24 hour adoption program, others learn to refurbish computers through the build program, and K-12 Portland students are able to volunteer for 24 hours in their communities to earn a free computer via the Plug Into Portland program. We also offer a variety of free classes, open to the public, on a range of topics from building job skills and navigating the Internet, to the use of free and open source software and programming skills. Computer hardware that does not go to Free Geek’s volunteers is granted out to schools, nonprofits and other community change organizations through our Hardware Grants program or sold online and in our thrift store to members of the wider community.


Live Music, Video Games, $3 Drafts and More to Support Free Geek 2/21

Posted: February 19, 2013
Filed under: Events, News

Join us for a Free Geek all-ages party Thursday 2/21 7-10pm at Ford Food & Drink and enjoy special guests The Doubleclicks, a geek sister duo from Portland (who happen to have written the Cards Against Humanity theme song). After their set, enter the video game tournament on the big screen with a Free Geek Thrift Store gift certificate grand prize. Don’t forget to bring some cash for the laptop raffle. Thanks to Lompoc Brewing, we’re able to offer $3 pints of Rye IPA and Fool’s Golden Ale with a portion of proceeds going to Free Geek. $5 recommended donation, but more is always appreciated ;)


We have tons of beautiful posters created by Caitlin Hansen Design & Illustration at the Free Geek front desk. Please come by to pick up one, ten or twenty for yourself or to share them around your neighborhood.


Pacific Pie Company to Donate a Portion of Proceeds 2/12 to Free Geek

Posted: February 7, 2013
Filed under: Events

Pacifc Pie Company logoTuesday 2/12 Pacific Pie Company (1520 SE 7th Ave) will donate a portion of the proceeds from all sales to Free Geek! They make tasty, tasty sweet and savory pies, so definitely consider eating a lighter diet than usual two or three days before the 12th to prepare your stomach for their amazingness. Please tell your friends, families and anyone you see on the street to visit Pacific Pie Company this Tuesday so you can help Free Geek fulfill our mission.


Free Geek Volunteer Holi-Distro Party

Posted: December 4, 2012
Filed under: News

Disco BallVolunteers are invited to join us Tuesday 12/04/12 from 6pm to 9pm at Free Geek to celebrate the winter holidays and Free Geek’s release of Xubuntu 12.04 at our HoliDistro party! DISCO rhymes with DISTRO so we’re gonna dress up in 70’s gear and play that funky music…come ready to groove!


We will have a fabulous taco bar and ask participants to bring side dishes or desserts to compliment. There will also be a white elephant gift exchange, so start looking for that silly something sitting around your house to regift. You will also have a chance to play around with the new Free Geek-flavored version of Xubuntu 12.04, soon to be found on all our outgoing systems.


This is just one way we want to say a big “thank you” for all your hard work volunteers! You r̶o̶c̶k̶ disco!


Followup from Free Geek Town Hall Meeting

Posted: October 17, 2012
Filed under: Events, News

Thank you to all of our volunteers who attended the Town Hall Meeting Saturday, September 22. We appreciate your feedback and are striving to implement many of the changes you have recommended. If you would like to see more about the Town Hall Meeting, and various ways you can keep in touch with Free Geek, please visit our page devoted to the event.


For those who were planning on attending the presentation on similar organizations this Saturday (10/20), please note we have pushed the presentation back one week to the 27th. More information can be found in the Free Geek lobby.


Why Reuse is Better Than Recycling

Posted: April 14, 2012
Filed under: Media Coverage, News

Free Geek is one of many reuse non-profits in the Portland area.  Unlike recycling, which can be very costly and energy-intensive, reusing items is an excellent way to help save our environment and precious dollars.  Learn more about how we’re diverting materials from landfills in this informative Oregonian article.

How is Linux Made?

Posted: April 14, 2012
Filed under: News

Did you realize that you often come into contact with Linux on a daily basis? Many of our phones, cars, planes and websites are powered by Linux. The amazing thing is that Linux is built collaboratively by people with an amazing range of computer savvy. Interested to know how this process works? Check out this three-minute explanation…and maybe you can help Linux become a better operating system!

Free Geek Spanish Build Program

Posted: April 10, 2012
Filed under: Media Coverage, News

We were recently featured on Univision for our Spanish Build program. Check out the coverage below (en Español, of course):


Get Your Own Pink Free Geek T-shirt

Posted: March 2, 2012
Filed under: Media Coverage, News

Did you happen to catch the Free Geek t-shirt sighting on Portlandia recently?  If you’re jealous and want to share your Portland pride, we can’t think of a better way than picking up your own women’s pink Free Geek t-shirt from our Thrift Store or online if you’re not able to make it into the store (along with many other excellent items).

Alright; so maybe there are better ways…but this is the best way to show your Portland pride and support your local non-profit electronics recycler/computer education hub.

Free Geek Pink t-shirt

Blame overcast Portland for the washed-out look. This tshirt really is pink (and cut for women).

Coming Up: Free Geek Closed for Staff In-Service

Posted: February 16, 2012
Filed under: News

Free Geek will be closed for Staff In-Service on four consecutive Tuesdays in spring 2012. Dates of closure include February 21st, February 28th, March 6th, and March 13th. We will be open as normal during the In-Service weeks on Wednesday through Saturday.

Free Geek’s Deep Systems Solution, In Graph Form

Posted: January 19, 2012
Filed under: Media Coverage, News

Local sustainability and education blog “itsallonething” applies System Dynamics Theory to Free Geek’s e-cycling efforts here.

One Volunteer’s MLK Service Weekend Experience

Posted: January 19, 2012
Filed under: Media Coverage

Eric Winger, local blogger and volunteer extraordinaire, participated in the 2012 MLK Weekend of Service, sponsored by Hands On Greater Portland and United Way, by disassembling printers with a volunteer group in Free Geek’s Recycling department. You can read about his experiences here.

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