“Do you take donations?” I asked. “Sure,” said Noah from behind his desk at the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT). The CAT is a non-profit that was started in 1992 by Jan VanderTuin. It is committed to community involvement in manufacturing, using, and advocating sustainable modes of transport. And by this they generally refer to some form of a bicycle. Noah assured me that that the bicycle I was donating would be given or sold at a very nominal price to a person who needed it.

Under the umbrella of “Appropriate Transport” they offer a community bike shop with do-it-yourself workspace, as well as mechanics to repair, help, or advise. They also produce Human Powered Machines (HPM). HPM is a complete fabrication facility that builds cargo bikes and trikes, as well as diverse vehicles including utility trailers, recumbents, and folding bikes.

In addition, every city concert, celebration, or function encourages people to ride not drive. CAT provides Valet Bicycle Parking (VBP) at all major functions around town. In addition, they have a bicycle messenger service, that can even accommodate large loads, and helps prevent tons of greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere each year.

Finally, they offer bike racks to local businesses, teach bicycle maintenance, community workshops, youth education, apprenticeship programs, and offer kid’s bicycle trips.

Vivai is a Vegetarian Organic Grill that is stationed permanently in the center of the downtown. Amidst the overflow of food with little health value, it offers tacos, hotdogs, burgers, sausage, and meals that are completely vegan and organic. The pride of the establishment however is their cheese steak. I’m not kidding…it is probably one of the most delectable veggie foods I’ve ever eaten.

People are somewhat aware of what the Occupy movement was and is, but it has branched out to become something greater in many areas of the world. In Eugene, Occupy started as a protest site that quickly became a homeless camp. It was open to anyone who wanted to live there with no rules, governing oversight, or procedures. OpportUNITY village Eugene (OVE) is designed to be a transitional space for people who want to leave the streets and are able to live in an organized community with basic rules.

The idea of helping those who need and earnestly want help has found many disparate parts of the community coming together to build something greater. OVE was formed as a result of the Mayor-appointed Opportunity Eugene Task Force that sought new and innovative solutions to homelessness in Eugene. Its board of directors are from churches, resources groups, collaboratives, and people working for peace, dignity and justice. The pilot project is a transitional village for those currently without housing which uses green micro housing based on the village model.

People are doing what they can every where it seems to be a part of the solution, and not just to point out the problems. As my friend Diana recently reminded me, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” – Mother Teresa

SUPPORT and promote what you do believe in!