Sisters Of The Road was born in 1979, when an anonymous person used chalk to draw a circle containing three Xs—the hobo symbol for good food and hospitality—on the sidewalk in front of the organization's new restaurant in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. The founders paid for the space with $10 and bartered for the rent.
Today, visitors who can't afford the typical $1.25 price tag for a meal at the café also can barter work in exchange for their food—much of which is donated by local grocery stores. First-time customers and those who cannot pay or work for their meals get their food for free. Last year, the café served more than 39,000 meals, 3,500 of which were given gratis to families, people with disabilities, and first-time customers. Others worked a total of more than 10,000 hours to pay for their tabs. In addition to operating the restaurant, Sisters Of The Road has published a book and video on homelessness and sponsored an annual conference on economic human rights and nonviolence.
The workplace can be a source of stress for anyone. That's why licensed massage therapist Karl Jensen carts his portable massage chair to his clients’ offices or homes to unwind knotted muscles with 15-minute bursts of massage for groups of 4 to 12 people. When not on the move, he parks his equipment in a private treatment room, where clients relax on a massage table as he paints relaxation across physical canvases with gentle Swedish strokes. He also hunts down extra-stubborn muscles with deep-tissue techniques and integrates a number of styles to create custom massages.
An equine veterinarian founded Sound Equine Options (SEO) in 2009 after witnessing the plight of horses whose owners had succumbed to financial crises. Without the funding to provide them with adequate care, owners were forced to watch horses languish, and many could not find adequate resources for the animals. Sound Equine Options filled this void by strengthening the safety net for horses in need through a variety of programs. The Emergency Veterinary Care Fund helps reduce immediate suffering with the help of a local veterinarian, and the Rescue Blankets program distributes waterproof blankets to keep horses warm during the winter. SEO also supports equine rescues that make sure neglected horses have shelter.
One of PYB's apprenticeship programs trains young adults ages 17–24 in green residential construction, providing hands-on experience and a path to an emerging vocation. During the course of a year of training, students build up to four affordable, energy-efficient homes that will be sold to low-income families. Trainees glean valuable experience with all aspects of the construction process, including pouring foundations, framing walls and roofs, and finishing interiors. Part of PYB's comprehensive support includes providing construction tools and other necessary equipment to students who cannot afford to purchase them.
Factory Fireworks Outlet enhances night skies with thousands of colorful, spraying, exploding, and sparkling lights. Its options include everything from Unicorn Fountain fireworks to snappers and sparklers. Killer Bees, Ground Bloom Flowers, Jack in the Boxes, and much more fill out the shop's massive array of festive fireworks.
The volunteers at Wildlife Rescue Aid Project receive more than 50 striped skunks a year. Then they do what most people would not: they care for the skunks, provide food and shelter, and teach them how to hunt and spray in self defense. These rescued skunks and other mammals native to Oregon are often orphaned or injured and in need of extensive rehabilitation before they can return to the wild. So the volunteers ensure they find proper veterinary care to heal, and spend roughly 20 hours a day in a cycle of feeding and cleaning. When the skunks are ready to go, the volunteers identify each with a marker or cut a specific pattern into its hair to track its progress.