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Community steps up to help non-profit bike shop after theft

WashCo Bikes in Hillsboro is all about cycling education and advocacy. This week, the community they serve had a chance to help after someone stole a donated e-bike.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — WashCo Bikes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to make bicycling better through education, advocacy and getting bikes out on the road to the community.

"Though we can’t physically reach out to each other right now in the pandemic, we can reach out and continue to build community, and that’s what we’re about at WashCo Bikes,” said director Joe Kurmaskie. “We do thousands of bikes in here a year … close to a thousand bikes this year even with the pandemic.”

The crew takes in old bikes to build them back up or to strip them for parts.

“We 'Frankenstein' them back together and make them ready and safe for the public to buy at 30-70% off,” Kurmaskie said.

Even with a pandemic that’s made them shift gears, the shop’s wheels are still turning.

“And that’s a good thing,” Joe said. “We’ve kind of met that challenge, I’ve hired staff … and that’s why this break-in was heartbreaking.”

Damn... So This Happened! Got a call at midnight. They smashed the front door of WashCobikes Community Bicycle Center...

Posted by WashCo Bikes on Tuesday, September 15, 2020

On Monday night, someone walking by broke the glass on one of the doors, ducked in and left with a newly-donated electric bike that was just inside the door.

“He knew that $2,000 bike was sitting right there, wheeled it out, and just like all our plans in 2020, gone, baby, gone,” Kurmaskie smiled.

Between the stolen bike, security upgrades and the insurance deductible to cover the damage, WashCo is out about $6,000. But thanks to the community, donations have been rolling in. The door is fixed, about $4,200 have been raised as of Thursday afternoon - even Nike is donating two brand new electric bikes. 

“It’s just stuff, people stepping up and taking care of each other is the real story here,” said Kurmaskie.

For Joe, it’s clearly about the kids and families they serve. He’s grateful for the gifts that’ll help keep customers riding through rough times.

“You know, sometimes the world doesn’t hold you in its brace,” Joe said. “But we can hold each other up.”

If you would like to donate to WashCo Bikes, you can do so here.

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