During the month of February, a veritable army of supporters generously offered their skills and enthusiasm to help us completely transform our bike shop. The finished product is wonderful, and as always the lion’s share of the credit belongs to our outstanding volunteers.
It’s a long story, but also an inspiring one. It stands as a resounding reminder that volunteers are the foundation of all we do. We hope you’ll take a few moments to learn about these incredible folks. We are deeply grateful for all they’ve done!
Planning & Design
Before the crowbars and hammers started swinging, a team of experts made themselves available to help us hone our plans.
From the outset, volunteer and seasoned contractor John Milliken helped us understand and ask all the right questions about approaching a project of this scope. Moreover, he introduced us to a crack team of structural engineers, architects and project managers who reviewed and helped us improve our plans.
Jeff Stern of IN SITU Architecture helped us research the permitting history of the building, assisted with initial plans and offered expert feedback on how to design a space that feels open, comfortable and functional.
Francis Dardis of STACK Architecture kept the project on track, guiding us through countless permitting and planning hurdles. He translated our ideas into professional architectural plans, walked us through the process of pulling a remodel permit, and magically made cubic yards of bureaucratic red tape vanish into midair.
Jay Graves, owner of the Bike Gallery, shared his endless expertise on how to set up a functional space for mechanics, offering astute recommendations on everything from toolboard layout to workbench length.
Both Holly Van Fleet – our Board Chair and Store Manager at Tualatin REI – and Angie Stein drew on their wealth of retail experience to make sure we followed best practices related to layout, merchandising and presentation. They helped us understand how we could design a space that would reflect who we serve and how we aspire to serve them.
Finally, lighting superguru Tom Ullmann pushed us to consider more efficient ways of lighting our space, and came up with a great idea for occupancy sensors that offers increased sustainability and security.
Deconstruction & Preparation
Once our plans were set, we faced a long list of deconstruction and site preparation tasks, and volunteers stepped right up to the challenge. Our new production space at 1714 NE Alberta was previously home to the Oregon Tradeswomen. In a great example of Portland’s incredible network of non-profits, the Tradeswomen returned to their old home with a pre-apprenticeship class to methodically and skillfully tear down a partition wall, expanding our new production space.
Longtime volunteers Michael Mode, Joe Greulich and Dan Allen then helped us tear down the wall of our old office, making our shop space feel more expansive and open than we could have imagined. Most importantly, Dan moved this project along by bringing in the biggest hammer the world has ever seen.
An enthusiastic crew of supporters also joined us to show off their muscles by helping dismantle everything in the bike shop and move it offsite in preparation for refinishing our floors. A huge thanks to Deborah Swarts, Eric Mellencamp, Nathan Hebert, Max Conlon, Quin McIntire, Scott Poindexter and Jim O’Horo for emptying out a packed and cluttered bike shop in just one day!
An Americorps NCCC group came in one afternoon after a full workday and still managed to skillfully paint the entirety of our new workspace. Drawn from all over the country, this group is traveling around the nation supporting great projects . We’re really grateful they chose to spend some time with us.
A couple weeks later our Tuesday night volunteers, the fine folks who refurbish every single bike for the Holiday Bike Drive, came in to find an empty bike shop and an anxious staff. We were behind schedule when they arrived and feeling pessimistic about our plans, but they just shrugged their shoulders, rolled up their sleeves and painted the whole bike shop in 2 hours. It was magic. Many hands made the work achievable, and we were reminded once again how special this group is.
Dan Benson, our Volunteer Manager’s father, flew in from northern Wisconsin to construct an array of custom cabinets and fixtures. With a lifetime of construction and craftsman work in his tool belt, he was able to lead an effort that resulted in many of the beautiful fixtures that now grace our floors. These handcrafted fixtures are a critical element of the look that we were trying to create, and Dan’s keen eye and steady hand helped them all come to life. We truly appreciate his generosity and skill, and hope to see him back in Portland soon.
Longtime volunteer Dan Allen is truly a king of all trades. He created a CAD design for our new bulletproof workbenches, then went ahead and quietly built a prototype for us to copy. He generously brought in his huge selection of tools to augment our meager inventory of three Playskool hammers and some Lincoln Logs. Working side by side with Dan Benson, he helped construct all of the fixtures that we placed in the shop, and on his own built both our stunning new helmet cubby and a kiosk that will serve as an information station and storage cabinet in the middle of our workspace. Check out his work next time you’re in the shop – it’s incredible and we’re so deeply grateful for Dan’s support.
Joe Greulich, whose volunteer service stretches back to the last millennium, has provided huge amounts of support the whole way. When we didn’t have a chop saw, Joe brought his down from Vancouver. When we needed more materials, Joe hopped in his trusty steed and grabbed them. He helped us build fixtures, deconstruct walls, coordinate logistics, patch holes and move inventory. As always, we had a blast working alongside Joe.
Brian Mohr’s skill and ingenuity provided us with some amazing stools that will reside in our new workspace. Welded together from recycled wheels he picked up at our shop, the stools are functionally and aesthetically perfect.
Volunteer extraordinaire Kit Kerkvliet put an amazing touch on our new production space. Using some of the coolest (unrideable) kids’ bike frames he could find, Kit built the shelf brackets that hold up our new wheel truing stand tables. In between making these awesome pieces, Kit helped with dozens of construction tasks.
Finally, Carlos Maya and Sarah LaPonte blew us away with some beautiful new signs that will adorn the walls of our shop. Thanks to their talents, our community will soon be treated to a bilingual bike anatomy display, a Mt. Hood-meets-bicycle-chain welcome sign, and much more.
From the staff and board at the Community Cycling Center, we want to offer all of these volunteers our deepest thanks. We look forward to sharing this space with you, and invite you to stop by soon and take a look – you won’t be disappointed.
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