Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Technology for a better world.

Spring/Summer Cleaning and Donating June 24, 2008

Filed under: donating,non-profit,philanthropy,Portland — pdxbob @ 7:19 pm

I don’t use my home office as much as I used to, primarily because I love sitting anywhere in my house with a laptop on my lap, and I also love sitting in coffee shops with WiFi. The home office has accumulated a lot of computer equipment that is unused and I finally got around to unloading the older gear. I had, and have, many options for unloading computer equipment and furniture: my young-adult kids, Craigslist, FreeGeek.

But the first place I think about now is, a Lake Oswego-based non-profit. Online cash donation has been common but what if we can donate goods online?   Della Rosenthal, Director and founder of DonorsResource, has been organizing the giving of needed items to low-income families for years. She collected and distributed more than 20,000 items to families in need in Portland in only 18 months, manually, and offline.  Now her new dedication is to connecting donors and nonprofits in need or goods and resources. DonorsResource created Virtual Warehouse that enables donating and receiving items online

So I got started by putting two CRT monitors, a printer and two desks into a “box” in the Virtual Warehouse. How easy is that? I just had to name the items, optionally providing additional description and pictures, and the site stores a virtual box in the Virtual Warehouse, ready for the taking by a Portland-area non-profit. When an organization shows interest in receiving my donated items, we, the donor and the non-profit, make arrangements for delivery or pickup. That’s why the storage is called a Virtual Warehouse. Clever.

You can also give to a specific organization, even search for organizations by category of donated items such as computer equipment, men’s clothing, cell phones, office furniture, etc. The site is cleanly designed and easy to use. Currently, there are hundreds of non-profits in the area looking for donated items to help them with their mission. If you have unused computer equipment, furniture, clothes, kitchen items or virtually any other home or office stuff, consider donating to a needy non-profit in the Portland area.


Ecological Footprint September 19, 2007

Filed under: bicycling,ecological footprint,ecology,Portland — pdxbob @ 5:32 am

I went to my first Ecological Footprint class tonight. Offered by the Center for Earth Leadership in Portland, the class started out with a general overview of sustainability and what an ecological footprint is. Dan Bower, Transportation Options Policy Program Manager for the City of Portland then gave a very interesting slide presentation in which he explained why Portland is a model city for sustainable living. Focusing primarily on bicycling in the city, he explained the Bicycle Boulevard concept. Here’s a quote from the Transportation Options website:

“Bicycle boulevards are not striped with bicycle lanes, so they are not always visible to new or potential riders as good bicycling streets. They do have amenities that make them work well for people riding bicycles, including crossing treatments at major intersections; traffic calming to keep auto speeds slow; and a stop sign pattern providing cyclists with a better flow along the street.”

Bicycle commuting has increased dramatically in Portland since we came here in 1996. In that year about 5,000 bicyclists had crossed a group of four surveyed bridges in a day. It’s now up to 14,000 cyclists! The city and some businesses offer cash benefits to employees who do not drive to work, bicycling, walking and/or taking mass transit instead. I’m curious if surrounding communities (Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham) have incentives for businesses to encourage their employees to not drive. There is a business tax credit available in the city of Portland.

Some interesting web links from the class:,