Mayor Meeting Presentation

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Presentation for Mayor Kitty Piercy

Introducing Eugene Makers:

Our making community includes individuals and is anchored by the Eugene Maker Space (EMS) which is a 501(c)(3) Oregon nonprofit corporation founded on January 7th 2011.

Our Mission: To foster an environment in which people can explore and create at the intersections of Science, Art and Technology in culture of cooperation and collaboration.

This groups specific goals are:

  1. Provide space for the tools and expertise needed to act on ideas.
  2. Provide space that facilitates the productive exchange of ideas.
  3. To engage in community outreach.

Things EMS & friends have done:

As a 501(c)(3) EMS is committed to public outreach. Here are some highlights:

  • EMS members have participated the SPICE Science Nights held at the University of Oregon. This annual event is geared towards school children.
  • EMS members hosted events at the Eugene Public Library for children ages 3-7.
  • EMS partners with The Science Factory each year to hold Eugene's annual Mini Maker Faire.
  • EMS organizes the annual Pumpkin Chunkin' competition, held at the Science Factory.
  • Every Tuesday and Friday EMS hosts Open Hack Nights. An invitation to everyone to come and work on projects with us, or get help on yours.
    • They are a way for people to feel out the group before joining, but it is also a time for people to just get help from our members, and an opportunity to use that one tool you do not own yourself.
  • Community built projects, where an eclectic group comes together and creates something fun, or works as a team in a contest.
    • Such as two Red Bull challenges, a high altitude balloon project, etc...
  • We held a Kickstarter discussion panel at the Eugene Public Library in March 2014 to educate folks interested in following this path to bring their product to market.

Eugene's Goals and Challenges:

City Goals:

  • To recover from the long recession and move forward energetically.
  • To achieve economic prosperity, social equity and environmental stewardship.
  • To recognize the important roles played by all of our community partners, volunteers and neighbors.
  • To create more jobs and opportunity in fields such as advanced manufacturing, food, and educational technology.
  • To coordinate efforts towards these goals.

City Challenges:

  • FertiLab Shop (FLS) is moving its equipment to Bend where they are getting better civic support.
  • What's left of FLS is moving to the Springfield subsidized RAIN location.
  • EMS is in a holding pattern while finding a sustainable path to growth.
    • We have had to delay accepting five figures in tools because we have run out of space.
  • Groups need to collaborate more effectively. Eugene lost out on a state STEM Hub grant due to internal competition.
    • This included two different departments at the UofO.
    • Because the maker community does not have a sufficiently accommodating central location it is splintering.
  • Many young adults in downtown Eugene don't have anything productive to do.
  • Schools have cutback or eliminated the shop space students need.
    • We have been approached by several school clubs but just didn't have the space or were too far away to accommodate them.
  • High density housing does not afford shops/garages/barns which facilitate exercising our natural entrepreneurial instincts.

Other Cities Solutions:

Media is abuzz about how Maker Spaces, Fab Labs, and the like support economic development. An article in the Atlantic states:

  • Maker spaces, Fab labs, Tech incubators, and similar facilities are dedicated to helping makers, designers, creators, and entrepreneurs bring their vision of a new product to fruition, translating an idea into a tangible, manufactured item.
  • They are popping up in places like Greenville, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and many others.

A NPR article:

  • Maker spaces have become hotbeds of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Now, governments, universities and big corporations are taking notice.

Cesar Harada gives a nice talk highlighting the success of their new largest maker space in Hong Kong:

Hilary Cottam gives a great talk on how our social services are broken and comes up with some new ideas:

Skip to 14:35 for this topic, where she says it's important for people looking for new skills, work, or ideas to meet face to face.

  • She developed a new way to network people, but not in the way social platforms do.
  • She underscores the importance of bringing people together face to face and connecting them with each other to build real relationships.
  • EMS is that place where people come to learn new skills and find projects and ventures to work on.
    • Startups come to prototype their products. One example is Oil Ex Tech, who came all the way from Corvallis to prototype their condenser.
  • If EMS had more resources it would support more nascent commercial ventures.

Lastly here is a story on how a bank building was purchased for $1 and was transformed into an art center:

How we help:

  • We provide a place for creative people to meet, away from the constraints of work, school and home.
  • Where you can meet other bright minds of the community to talk and innovate with, without economic pressure, as we are a non profit with low barriers to entry.
  • We are a true and transparent non-profit, i.e. All our documents and meeting minutes are on-line; our fees are minimal and are waived as need be.
  • We provide the tools to try out ideas without having to commit to it fully.
    • (means we provide the computers, 3d printers, machine shops and so on that people would have to rent or buy otherwise.)
  • Out of a playground of ideas there grow commercial ideas, that can help the Eugene community to create exportable products.
  • With your help we can grow to the next level and feed the local business accelerator pipeline.
  • Note that when EFN was downtown our public access terminals attracted lots of young people that needed something to do.
    • EMS can provide a similar environment of self paced learning.

What we need:

Eugene needs one space where our groups can all work and collaborate together.

  1. Location: The [ Eugene | UofO | silicon shire ] centroid .
    • (as close as possible)
  1. Access: Be able to drive a truck into the work space.
    • (means floor can support machinery)
  1. Partition(able): adjacent but separate loud and quiet areas.
    • (i.e. upstairs/downstairs or physical wall, not cubicles)

Would be nice:

  1. Comfortable commons area that facilitates collaboration.
    • Nice neighborhood, interior, amenities i.e heat, kitchen...
  1. Usable work area(s), access/light/power.
  2. Parking and public transport

Please help us feed the pipeline of innovation in Eugene.

Thank you!

Supporting material:

Letter from Dean Walton:


I wanted to voice my support for a Eugene Maker Space. I am lucky to have my own shop and access to facilities on the University of Oregon campus. However, the majority of people in Eugene are probably not as fortunate. I have heard some people say that this will change with Eugene Public Library indicating that they plan to build a maker space. Here, I must disagree. From conservations with Matt, the librarian in charge of that space, I think the space will be more a craft studio with some technology based on Arduinos and bread boards. What the Eugene Maker Space has offered for the last several years is place where members had access to a full-fledged shop with arc welders, chop saws, metal lathes, drill presses, and other expensive machinists’ tools. Furthermore, the members of the EMS bring their own technology skills with programming and electronics. These are things way beyond what the public library can provide.

The tools and technical knowledge that the EMS can provide are resources that can make a difference in a person’s life. Eugene community members could easily develop new skills in such place that they could then use better themselves in their workplace or create cottage industries. Likewise, local hobbyists and artists could use the place to further their efforts and create new works.

The only problem I see is the lack of space for training. If a new building or space could be found, I think it would be easy to develop and education program that would work for hobbyists and career oriented individuals. Oftentimes, life’s challenges prevents a person from taking a class at say, Lane Community College, where the expense, time, and commitment go hand-in-hand. You cannot just get those hands wet, but you must go through the whole process. In contrast, the Eugene Maker Space provide a space to learn and experiment without worrying about a grade. If a person then wants to get additional training, that person already has a good idea of the commitment needed to complete the training.


Dean Walton, PhD
Science & Technology Outreach Librarian / Associate Professor
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

(541) 346-2871

Letter from South Eugene Robotics Team:

The South Eugene Robotics Team has fostered a relationship with the Maker Space for a number of years. As our students transition into the community at large they have the Maker Space as an anchor. We have opportunities for mentoring youth in design and prototyping modern programmable machines. Closing the skill gap suffered by the community by the closing of the metal, automotive, and wood shops at South Eugene High School is a primary goal for SERT. Having a strong connection with the Maker community will improve the lives of the youth and our economy in years to come.


Piotr talked about the distinctions between:

  • a Maker space, (Traditional workshop including traditional tools)
  • a Hacker space, (Comfortable digitally-centric commons area )
  • a Fab lab (Modern, "clean" digital manufacture equipment)

We have aspects of all three, mostly the first two but we have grown to where they impinge on one another. Our FabLab aspects are important but more nascent, and with the proliferation of available 3D printers, Library, UO, FertiLab Shop etc it may be an area where we are more supportive than leading.


This illustrates the Pyramid of Opportunity, and how EMS is a missing stepping stone for the community. Providing a friendly place to get your feet wet in innovative design.
This path starts out more playful, Bringing possibilities into easy reach, then progresses to being more focused and goal directed at the top.


Public Outreach:

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Donated Tools:

A tool we don't currently have space for was instrumental in making this one man glider:

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Another donated tool we we can't accept yet.

Bridgeport Mill

Example Empty Buildings:

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Willamette Stationers
EWEB Shop Building
Old NORVAC Building

Other Links:



Other Groups: