Mutual Aid Is Having a Moment in Portland. Here Are 5 Initiatives to Support.

An unscientific guide to the proliferating number of groups providing aid to those in need.

By Fiona McCann June 14, 2021 Published in the Summer 2021 issue of Portland Monthly

After a year and change of pandemic life, what’s left but to help each other out? Portlanders have stepped up to supply each other with everything from funds for gas bills to warm dim sum via a proliferation of mutual aid groups. There’s even a podcast now to help guide you through it all (find the Mutual Aid Coalition Northwest on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts—for free, natch.) Here are five initiatives to restore your faith in the kindness of strangers.

Tutoring Bloc

Started by a 19-year-old college freshman, Tutoring Bloc offers free tutoring via Zoom to underresourced students, pairing pupils from preschool to college with volunteer tutors. They also help those interested get library cards and access to books.


Got a pet in need of a home? Having trouble looking after your furry friends? PetBlocPDX has your back, offering supplies—pet treats, canine coats, and more—and financial assistance for pets and their people.

PDX Wood Bloc

PDX Wood Bloc, who per their Twitter account are “anarchists with no money who collect and give out wood to people in Portland,” found themselves in high demand after power outages last February prompted a mad dash for other heat sources. They continue to offer yard cleanups and firewood donations for summer campfires.

Mending Bloc

From mending clothes for protesters and community members to sharing zines on how to sew on patches, Mending Bloc also shows up with masks and pins at events, and offers to repurpose fabric into everything from balaclavas to pet vests.

So Many Food Blocs

It being Portland, there’s a bloc for what feels like every item in the pantry—hot potatoes (Potato Bloc) to tamales (Tamale Bloc) and more. For a full list of these and other blocs or mutual aid orgs, check out the “211 directory of PDX blocs” Bloc Bloc PDX.

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