After moving from Beaumont Village in early December, Nicole Anne Reik’s Pinball Outreach Project (POP) held an open house to celebrate its new headquarters in the Go42 Building at 5136 N.E. 42nd Ave. in the Cully neighborhood.
The Go42 Building is an incubator space for small business start-ups that the Our 42nd Avenue neighborhood prosperity initiative opened last spring. POP is now in the space formerly occupied by Rachel Hestmark’s design studio, where Hestmark, a seamstress and bag designer, offered a youth entrepreneurship program for kids.
“We are very excited to be on 42nd Avenue,” said Reik, POP’s executive director. “The neighbors in Cully have been so welcoming and we love the surrounding businesses. Working with Our 42nd Avenue gives us the community support we need to succeed.”
“We’re very excited to have the Pinball Outreach Project on 42nd Avenue,” said Michael DeMarco, Our 42nd Avenue’s executive director. “The organization brings affordable fun to all the members of our community, especially kids. Having active gathering space that’s accessible to everyone is a primary goal of our organization. POP fits right in. It’s a privilege for us to support community entrepreneurs in their journey and we plan to foster even more opportunities in the future.”
POP was previously located at 4605 N.E. Fremont St., across the courtyard from Smallwares restaurant. POP opened in Beaumont in April of 2015 and has been active as a charitable organization for about four years.
A nonprofit with an unusual spin, the enthusiasts and volunteers at POP seek to improve the lives of children by sharing with them the history and excitement of the game of pinball. POP brings a family-friendly arcade experience directly to patients at children’s hospitals throughout the region and also takes their machines to community centers and schools, letting kids play for free and learn new skills. At POP headquarters in Cully, children under 13 can play for free during regularly scheduled times, and the public is invited to play by purchasing tokens that support the organization’s outreach work. The space, which usually features about nine beautifully restored machines, is also available for events and parties.
“The city of Portland offers more opportunities to play pinball than any other city in the country,” said Reik. “But there aren’t many places for families, where kids can play in a safe, supportive environment.”
“It’s something that kids and parents can enjoy together,” said volunteer Greg Dunlap, an enthusiast who has written pinball software for the Pat Lawlor Design company. “It’s not as pattern-oriented as video games, and the mechanics are more random. There’s mechanical engineering, math, physics, and lots of science in there.”
For more information, call 415-857-1767 or visit pinballoutreach.org.