Press Releases

Two Portland Non-Profits Set to Complete Major Computer Project



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.


Welcome To Our New Volunteer Representatives!

Free Geek has recently restructured our governance model, and we are pleased to announce the winners of our recent election for the board positions of Volunteer Representative! Read on to hear from our Board President, Laurel Hoyt.

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Free Geek’s 10-year Anniversary Party!

This October, Free Geek will be celebrating the conclusion of their first successful decade by coming out of our geeky shells to throw a party recognizing all the people and organizations in the Portland community who have helped create a culture where Free Geek would thrive.

The celebration, on October 2nd at the Bossanova Ballroom (722 E Burnside), will feature local reuse partner Junk to Funk in a recycled fashion show, along with high energy dancing and music from The Beauty, geek-turned dance-party-performance-band Dat’r, and Holocene regular DJ Ted Thieman. Read on for more info about the awesomeness that will be Free Geek’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Trashion Show!

Junk to Funk is a collective that inspires individuals towards responsible consumerism, creative re-use and conscientious disposal by providing unique fashion based entertainment and educational opportunities. Junk to Funk will be performing a trashion show, followed by the models hanging out with the crowd and dancing.

And more!

  • DIY Geek-sessory table hosted by SCRAP. Make a statement with your own reuseful fashion accoutrement!
  • Full Bar
  • Pool Tables
  • Photobooth fun!
  • A visual history of the evolution of Free Geek
  • Door prizes!


Tickets are available here and will be sold at the door. Please note that the ticket price is a suggested donation. It’s more important to us to have you share this day with us, so give what you can at the door if a pre-paid $10 ticket is beyond your budget. Can’t attend the party, but want to give a donation in place? Click here!

ReUse Week, June 10-18

Free Geek is teaming up with the Community Warehouse, The ReBuilding Center, The Habitat ReStore, SCRAP and Schoolhouse Supplies to promote ReUse Week! Read More…

City Computers will go to Community Members and Students


June 9, 2008

Commissioner Dan Saltzman & Mayor Potter will introduce a resolution to ensure that computer systems which are no longer needed by the City are refurbished for use by community members, next Wednesday, June 11th.

To accomplish this goal the City will partner with the local non-profit Free Geek. Free Geek is a 501(c)(3) not for profit community organization that refurbishes and recycles used computers, offers computer education, internet access and job skills training to those in need in exchange for community service.
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