What is Alder Commons? What happens there?
Alder Commons is a nonprofit community space where kids and adults alike can attend workshops and classes, and spend their time freely. Our Members include coworkers, artists, organizations, families, and self-directed learners of all ages. Our goal is to foster a multigenerational, multicultural community that practices and promotes our core values.
We host all sorts of programs and events that are either open to the public, or only for Members, including cooking classes, woodworking classes, pop-up markets, documentary screenings, etc. We’re also a space where people can just hang out on one of the many couches and have a space that feels comfortable and welcoming.
How long has Alder Commons been around?
Though the project has been an idea since around 2012, Alder Commons didn’t physically exist anywhere until January 2020. We planned on launching in March 2020, but plans changed due to COVID. We eventually had our version of a “grand opening” in August 2021 when we hosted the first Alder Commons Festival!
Why is it called “Alder Commons”?
Alder: A genus of tree species native to Oregon, alders are pioneer species that add nitrogen to the soil as they grow while also improving soil structure, making way for the spectacular forests of the Pacific Northwest that follow. This seemed a fitting metaphor for the work we strive to do: creating the fertile ground necessary for the community to grow and thrive in whatever manner they choose.
Commons: “The commons” refers to not only a community’s shared space, but also their shared knowledge, values, energy, tools, books, natural resources, etc. The purpose of this organization, and a shared goal of its Members, is to enrich the commons for the benefit of everyone. Once Members join, they contribute to the commons in many ways, whether that’s by offering to teach a workshop, doing some dishes if they have a free minute, sharing their expertise on a subject with another Member, hanging out and chatting on the couches, or providing community support in other ways.
Are donations to Alder Commons tax-deductible?
Alder Commons is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (EIN# 83-4125476), and donations may be tax-deductible. Your support helps us ensure broad access to our programs and services, so thank you!
How much does Membership cost?
It’s our mission to make Membership financially accessible to anyone who’s interested in becoming a Member. With this in mind, we don’t ask anyone to justify the amount they decide to pay. During onboarding, a Member is able to enter the amount (minimum $15) they feel comfortable paying each month. If your situation changes and you’d like to pay more or less, just let a Staff member know and we can adjust your fees. You can use the sliding-scale fee calculator to see the suggested Membership price for you or your family, though in the end what you pay is up to you.
What’s the process for becoming a Member?
If you’re interested in becoming a Member, you can register for an upcoming Open House. After you take a tour of the space and chat with Staff about our Core Values, Membership, and any other questions you may have, we may send you an onboarding link via email. The rest of the process is done online, including signing some onboarding documents, starting the process to get a background check (for anyone 18yo+, done by a 3rd party), and setting up autopay (if not paying by cash or check). You can use computers at Alder Commons if you don’t have an internet-capable device of your own, or want support with using a computer.
After background checks have cleared, we will send you an email with information about how to open the door, and invite you to various members-only communication channels. The whole process can take less than a day, but occasionally takes more than a week due to slower background checks for folks that have lived in a many different counties.
What is included in Membership?
Access to all classes, clubs, workshops, and events are included in the pay-what-you-can cost of your monthly Membership! Membership also includes some space reservations at no extra cost; some Members, for example, reserve the kitchen for cooking a large meal, host a book club in one of the rooms, or host birthday parties and baby showers at the space.
Do you accept work trade instead of Membership fees?
No, we do not accept work trade. Our suggested sliding scale is designed so that it can be flexible enough to accommodate the financial needs of nearly everyone. Members can easily decrease the amount they’re paying each month if their financial situation has changed. If you have a service you’d like to offer (ex: graphic design, grant-writing, translations, etc.), contact us and we may bring you on as a paid Contractor.
Can I pay with cash or check, or just a card?
We accept all of these forms of payment! Payments via credit/debit card (preferred) can be made using our online system, where you can also update your payment info if needed. Payments in cash or check can be given to an Alder Commons Staff Member, or checks can be mailed to AC.
Once I’m a Member, can I bring a friend/client into the building?
Yes, though you and your guest must follow our COVID-19 Policy. If they are visiting during Member Hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) you’ll need to accompany them while they’re in the building, and they will need to wear one of the visitor lanyards which are available in the front entryway. If they are visiting during open-to-the-public hours (weekdays after 5pm, or on the weekends), then there’s no need to accompany them, and no need for the lanyard.
Can young people spend time at Alder Commons on their own?
Alder Commons Members are people of all ages! Members who are 10 years or older may be present at Alder Commons without a parent/caretaker if they don’t need significant support from Staff, and with consent from them and their family.
Young people of any age can attend with their parent, or without a parent as long as another adult Member has been designated as their caretaker. Designated caretakers can look after 3 non-family-member kids at most.
Sometimes we host specific drop-off programs (ex: Free Play Fridays) where young people 5 years or older can attend without a parent or caretaker.
Is the building ADA accessible?
Yes, Alder Commons is a single story ADA-accessible building with 1 van-accessible ADA parking space and 2 ADA restrooms.
How do I get to Alder Commons on public transportation?
We are located at the corner of NE 42nd Ave and NE Prescott St. The NE Prescott stop of Trimet Bus 75 is right at the intersection!
Do you rent space for events?
Yes, we do! Hosting events at Alder Commons is included with Membership. For those interested in hosting an event here who are not Members, we ask for a sliding scale fee. Events hosted here must align with our Core Values, cannot be religious in nature (we are a secular space), and cannot endorse any particular political candidate. Find out more about hosting events at Alder Commons.
Is Alder Commons dog-friendly?
Yes, Alder Commons is dog-friendly, though we ask that dogs be kept on a leash while they are here. Dogs are not allowed in our kitchen due to food safety concerns.
I’m not a Member, which programs can I attend?
Programs marked on our online calendar with a “star” indicate that they are only for Members. Most other programs are open to the public! Our programs are often free, with a request for donation. If a program requires payment, they are offered on a sliding scale.