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Technology Association of Oregon

Making an Impact: How the Oregon Tech Community is Building a Better World

Photo Courtesy of The Technology Association of Oregon

Technology has always been one of the greatest allies in the collective quest to improving our world.  The Technology Association of Oregon extends its support to homebred changemakers who are rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding the future, and the human element is key to solving some of today’s most pressing challenges.  The people behind the tech industry are as important as the technology itself, and Oregon has long been a hotbed for innovative, outside-of-the-box thinking.  From addressing the challenges of the modern rental market to improving our digital future, Oregonians today are at the forefront of using technology to address big issues.  

To say that the national rental housing market is competitive is an understatement.  Matters become more complicated when renters are bombarded with prerequisites, questionnaires, background checks and fees.  Every time someone applies to rent a property, it’s another $30 or $50, whether they are successful or not.  For many people living on a fixed income, this process is simply not a viable option.  

Tyrone Poole, the creator of NoAppFee, has now simplified the renting process for potential renters.  Instead of paying multiple housing application fees, tenants pay a single $35 fee.  NoAppFee runs a background check and matches tenants and landlords that meet each other’s criteria.  With the thousands of variations in screening criteria throughout the city, NoAppFee allows renters to instantly see every property they qualify for and learn why they did not qualify for other properties.

Knowing how to use technology effectively is a requirement to advance in nearly every career. Although the PC market is still steadily growing, many people still cannot afford a computer or do not have the computer literacy skills needed to accomplish basic tasks.  

Free Geek, a Portland nonprofit, wants to close the digital divide by teaching volunteers to refurbish and recycle computers and other electronic goods, then provide those volunteers with working computers and introductory digital privacy, programming, graphics and website-building classes - all for free.  This gives volunteers the digital tools they need to be successful in their careers or start their own businesses.

More than 2,000-3,000 volunteers work at Free Geek each year, and refurbished equipment is distributed to qualifying non-profits, schools, religious institutions and community change organizations.

The Beaver State’s innovation ecosystem is advancing at a rapid pace, driven by these Oregon tech companies and many others.  With innovative entrepreneurial ventures and a widespread resistance to accept the “old way of doing things,” the Oregon tech community has become a hotbed for change, benefiting not only Oregonians but also communities around the world.  

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