Monday, March 9, 2009

The Portland Time Bank - A Community Organization

The Portland Time Bank is part of an international, community-led organization that believes each person has a skill that someone else finds valuable. The basic premise is that members offer services (everything from accounting to massage to grocery shopping) and other members pick and choose what they need help with. Money never changes hands at the Time Bank.

For example, let's say you need a garden bed dug. You can post securely online or through a Time Bank Coordinator that you are looking for help or search out other members who list that skill. Once you find someone to dig your garden bed, you pay them one time dollar for every hour worked.

If it took the person 3 hours to dig your garden bed, then you have gone into "time dollar debt" by 3 dollars. There is no time frame for when you have to pay your time dollar debt off, but the premise is that you will then offer your unique services to someone else.

Now let's say that you offer guitar lessons and someone requests 5 hours of lessons from you. After those 5 hours you have paid off your 3 dollar debt and earned yourself 2 time dollars. And so the process provided and received without the exchange of money.

Joining is simple and requires no money, just a quick form to fill out and approval from the organization. Once you join you can request someone to sit down with you to explain how it all works or jump right in and start trading your time. If you would like to contact someone to learn more, email Jesse at

Molly Fitzpatrick, Time Bank member since 2005, has this to say about the Time Bank, "At the Time Bank everyone's time is valued equally and everyone has something to give. If we all do what we love to do, everything gets taken care of."

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