By Eric Hoyer, Concordia Neighborhood

Imagine you’re in the middle of a wood-working project, and you discover you need a tool you have neither the money or space for, or perhaps your car just needs a tune up to get you to work. If only you had the right socket set. 

No need to worry. If you reside in a northeast Portland neighborhood west of 82nd Avenue and east of north Portland, you can visit the Northeast Portland Tool Library. It is located in the basement of the Leaven Community Salt and Light Church at 5431 NE. 20th Avenue and NE Killingsworth Avenue.

The library provides hundreds of home repair and automotive tools on a one week free checkout for a one-time $12.00 membership fee. To become a member requires only a driver’s license or passport and proof of your address such as a utility bill, insurance, or car registration.

A volunteer at the Tool Library

Operated as a nonprofit community organization supported by member volunteers, the NEPTL is one of a small group of volunteer tool libraries spread among Portland’s neighborhoods. They are a homegrown resource for the do-it-yourself generation with big dreams, who might be short on a budget or space for tools.

Their mission statement reads: “The Northeast Portland Tool Library provides Northeast Portland residents of  all income levels access to tools, empowering our neighbors to build and maintain a sustainable, thriving community.”

The Northeast Portland Tool Library is a 501(C)(3) organization founded in 2008 because, in the words of co-founder Tom Tompson, “We live in tough economic times. We really need to focus on helping each other out and being good neighbors.” These sentiments could not be more true today, and the mission never more important. Started as a volunteer effort with private donations and seed money from the Vernon and Concordia neighborhood associations, NEPTL has become a vibrant, active community resource. 

On visiting one Saturday morning, I found the library inundated with do-it-yourselfers borrowing tools, and new members joining for the first time. It’s a casual, friendly community where neighbors can catch up on news and their projects around the house. New tools are always being purchased and the present inventory of donated tools is so large that the library has outgrown its present location.

Visit the website for hours of operation, the tool inventory, how to join, and how you can become a community volunteer in support of your neighborhood.