Portland Non-Profit Develops Rigid Plastic Tents for Homeless People

Oregon Harbor Of Hope has sent six new tents into the field as prototypes and they are gearing up for more.

Homer Williams with Harbor of Hope is on a mission to help the homeless find a path back to housing.

The nonprofit addresses the basic needs of the homeless population in Portland and surrounding communities. Last year they handed out thousands of tents and sleeping bags.

But all the rain Portland gets was a problem for their clients. “All their clothes get soaked, their sleeping bags get soaked, their feet rot,” explained Williams. “So I just thought they needed to be a better solution.”

Williams teamed up with LIT workshop to come up with a solution and came up with rigid tents made out of corrugated plastic.

They are warmer, waterproof and sturdier than regular tents. The inventors went around Portland with the tents and asked homeless people what they thought. They used that feedback to perfect the tent.

The floor is now insulated with enough space for 2 people, their belongings and a pet. There’s also a light and a solar pad to charge cell phones.

homeless tents
Credit: CK | A look inside Harbor of Hope’s rigid tents

So far six of these tents are being tested out in the community with plans to release more. “They will do best, and the clients will do best, in a facility that is protected and managed,” said Williams.

He hopes the tent will serve as a path off the streets. “Of course we want them to move on, maybe to a tiny house, maybe it’s to a repurposed motel or an apartment that will get built,” he said.

He says regardless of how small the first step is, the priority lies in getting people into a safe place where they can stay healthy. “If we can do that, we can be successful,” said Williams, “If we can’t get people off the street, we will not get our city back, it’s that simple.”

 Christelle Koumoué (KGW) | Source here

Portland Business Finds Niche Building Book Bikes

Icicle Tricycle’s book bike has found a solid place in the line-up next to the company’s ice cream and coffee trikes. (All photos courtesy Icicle Tricycles)

Books and bikes are powerful tools that have helped improve people’s lives for ages. A local company combines them in way that makes the sum greater than its parts.

The “Book Bike” from Icicle Tricycles has become a staple in libraries across North America. First offered in 2008, these human-powered bookmobiles have become a hot seller for the company headquartered in Portland. Owner Ryan Hashagen says there are hundreds of them in use and the pandemic has boosted demand even higher.

For some customers, the trikes double as promotional tools and mobile units that can take books outdoors. Others use them exclusively for street-based book sharing services. And they’re not just for libraries. Icicle Tricycles has sold book bikes to bookstores, nonprofits and museums.

One of Hashagen’s favorite customers was the Canada-based, First Nation nonprofit Yukon Literacy Council. They use a book bike to reach people in remote villages. “They put one of our trikes in the back of a pickup and pedal it into villages to restock reading shelves in community centers and schools,” Hashagen shared.

Hashagen has been pedaling, building, and selling trikes for 22 years. He runs two locations in Portland; one in Old Town and one in the Central Eastside (Icicle Tricycle also has a location in Victoria, BC). Many of you might know him as a dedicated transportation activist who has taken leadership roles with Better Block PDX and as a member of the Central Eastside Industrial Council transportation advisory committee.

Icicle Tricycles has refined the design each year and Hashagen says the 2021 model is “Our best design yet.” Each trike is built to the customer’s specs and custom graphics are a popular option. The company prints the vinyl wraps and builds the wooden boxes in their workshop where the bikes are designed, assembled, and shipped.

The latest version comes complete with a built-in chalkboard, a front shelf to use as a laptop workstation and/or payment center, and of course tons of book storage space. There are shelves inside the cargo box and on the side door that swings open. The bikes come with a 7-speed drivetrain and my personal favorite option: An umbrella holster. Depending on the configuration, each bike can carry around 150-300 books. If you’re worried about the weight, they have an electric-assist option available.

Prices range from $2,500 to $3,500 for a turn-key book bike (add $1,200 for the e-assist). Follow the company on Twitter at @IcicleTricycles or at IceTrikes.com.

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