Students Expand Juice Box Project to Bring Even More Light & Power to the Houseless


We reported back in March on the "Juice Box Project,” a student-led effort from Catlin Gabel School to provide light and power to the interiors of the tiny houses that have recently been created to help accommodate Portland’s houseless population.  New tiny house clusters are being developed as alternatives to the tent camp model exemplified by the R2D2 (Right to Dream Too), formerly located off Burnside at the entrance to Chinatown. Tiny houses afford the residents more agency and the Juice Box Project aims to help them claim even more self-sufficiency.

What do Juice boxes do?

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The ReBuilding Center has played host to work parties as well as materials to build the Juice Boxes which are rectangular, gray metal unit containing two large LED lights, a USB plug, and a charging outlet. They are powered by heavy-duty batteries that get charged by solar panels on the outside of the houses. When fully charged, the battery can run up to four hours per night for seven nights straight!  Andy Olshin, a long-time advocate for houseless and tiny house communities, told us the communities could be net energy producers in the summer! With the sun setting at 4:30 p.m. here in Portland in the winter, the boxes provide light to read by, juice for cell phone to be able to make important phone calls, and electrical charge for small appliances for self-care.

Photo of students building Juicebox at the ReBuilding Center - photo credit:  Hollywood Star

Photo of students building Juicebox at the ReBuilding Center - photo credit: Hollywood Star

Big Moves Are being Made by High School Students

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To date, expanded efforts from Benson High School and Catlin Gabel School students have brought 70 Juice Boxes to the following houseless encampments: Hazelnut Grove, Dignity Village, Kenton Women’s Village, Bishop Simm’s Houseless Village, and Right 2 Dream Too.  These machines have been fabricated with funding from the Lexus EcoChallenge, Lloyd EcoDistrict, eBay, the ReBuilding Center, and many other supporters and private sponsors. 

Next Steps

The students are aiming to complete 100 Juice Boxes by the end of 2017.  Each Juice Box costs around $350 to build.  To underwrite the cost, the students from the Caitlin School are asking for donations.  Hopefully they will meet their goal and help light up every houseless group. If you would like to help support this project or learn more click the link below:

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