In 2015, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Loretta Smith, to donate the county’s surplus computers to Free Geek, a Portland-based nonprofit that transforms donated computers and technology into useable resources for communities, organizations and individuals.
In an increasingly internet-connected world, access to technology is a necessity and is key to things like finding a job, housing, education, and staying connected to both local and global networks.
“Unfortunately, there is a divide between those who have easy digital access and those who don’t,” explained Commissioner Smith. “And the pace of Americans becoming digitally included is slowing. This disparity has the greatest effect on those with the fewest resources and opportunities." Commissioner Smith hopes to help bridge that gap.
Free Geek will receive approximately 1,500 computers a year from the County. They will then be refurbished and given out to communities, organizations, or individuals in need, sold at low cost in Free Geek’s thrift store, or recycled under Free Geek’s high environmental and ethical standards.
“They will not, as so often happens to discarded computers,” said John Wasiutynski, director of the Office of Sustainability, “become hazardous waste in landfill.”
“This is just a win-win situation for all of us,” concludes Commissioner Smith.