PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Several local non-profit groups were blindsided this week after Lagunitas Brewing Company abruptly shuttered its Community Taproom in Northeast Portland.
The “Community Room” on NE Broadway Street offered free space, beer and staff for charity events.
But on Monday, many of the groups that had booked the space for upcoming fundraisers received an email announcing they could no longer use the space.
Girls Build is one of the groups that received the bad news. The non-profit group offers summer camps and after-school programs that teach hands-on construction skills to kids between the ages of 8 and 14.
“It’s about empowerment so it’s really building confidence in girls,” said Katie Hughes, the executive director of Girls Build.
The kids learn skills in plumbing, electrical, carpentry, sheet-metal work, painting and even auto and bike mechanics.
“They start out at summer camp on Day One not knowing anything and by Friday they can build a playhouse, they can bend sheet metal and rivet it,” Hughes said.
Girls Build was set to hold its upcoming scholarship fundraiser at the Community Taproom — where they’ve held it for the past three years.
“On Monday, we got the email from them saying they were closing, effective immediately,” Hughes said. “Our event is less than a month away.”
The group has to find a replacement location on short notice.
“We are grateful obviously for the three years of fundraising, it’s just definitely put us in a bit of a pickle and we are scrambling to figure out how we can reach that fundraising goal in an alternate location,” said Hughes.
Another group — Girls on the Run — also found themselves without a venue for their “Sole Mates” gathering with only days to find a new one.
Mavia Haight said they brainstormed and managed to get into Tabor Space just in time.
Meanwhile, Girls Build was still working on a solution on Thursday. Girls Build said 60% of campers and students rely on scholarships generated at the fundraiser that was supposed to take place at the Community Taproom.
“Usually on that night, we raise $25,000 which is full scholarships for 80 girls,” Hughes said. “We are just going to have to put in a lot of work outside the event to achieve that fundraising goal.”
Lagunitas Brewing Company sent KOIN 6 News a statement:
“Lagunitas decided to close the Portland Community room in order to shift resources, which will allow us to support more local communities and causes across the country. This is not a decision we took lightly, as Portland has been a part of the Lagunitas story since day one. Lagunitas has personally contacted each and every organization that had an event scheduled, and are working with many of them to provide beer donations if they’re able to host their event at alternate locations. We’re also providing those organizations with contacts and resources to try and help them find alternate venues. We look forward to continuing to support the incredible work that local Portland non-profits are doing in the future through our Community Giving Program.”