News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Free trailer makes changes to shopping

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

Thanks to input from people who use the Santiam Canyon Tool Library’s free trailer, Melodie Roth has initiated new changes to how people shop. All items are new and are available to anyone who lives in the Santiam Canyon.

“I appreciate the input and am flexible in making more changes as the popularity of the free trailer grows,” said Roth, who started bringing up new items to an empty trailer about a year or so ago. “I would get four to five people showing up, and it was all very low key.”

 As the free trailer got more popular more people started showing up, some 45 minutes early, even in the cold and rain.

With crowds of 20 to 30 people, Roth began to worry about too many people being in the small trailer space.

So, to address the growing popularity and to level the playing field a bit, Roth started allowing five people at a time for 6 minutes. 

“Once everyone has shopped for six minutes, anyone can go in for as long as they want and take what they need,” she said. 

The new system begins by handing out five of each color to those waiting. Roth will then call a random color and those five people can shop.

“People that come after our noon drawing will be given black or white colors, and those colors will always shop last,” Roth said.

Another change is that non-shoppers will have to stand on the pavement. 

“Only our five shoppers should be on the bark dust or in the trailer,” Roth said. “At the end of your six minutes, if you need help carrying items, someone is welcome to come and assist you.” 

The trailer is open to all people in the Santiam Canyon, whether affected by the wildfires or not. Each shopper must fill out an application and agree to abide by a few rules.

“Our basic rule is items you take for free at our trailer must not be sold,” Roth said. “If people take free items and resell them, our free trailer will be shut down.”  

Roth posts on Facebook to let people know when the trailer will be open, which lately is once a week.

At times, Roth opens the trailer during the tool library hours, but usually keeps it closed to unpack and organize donations items. The United Way helps facilitate donations, she said. 

Roth needs people to help with picking up donations in Salem and bringing them to the trailer, which is located by the tool library in Gates. Volunteers for the tool library are also needed. 

“We are hoping to open up a better office area in one of our containers to provide more workspace for volunteers,” she said. 

As the free trailer has become very popular, Roth would like to find a larger space in the central part of the Santiam Canyon to accommodate more people. 

“The trailer is pretty tiny, and we have been having to stack items outside the last few times, hoping they don’t get rained on,” she said. “If anyone has any ideas, or knows of a space, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].”

Santiam Canyon Tool Library is at 40070 Gates School Road. For more information, visit the SCTL Facebook page. 

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