Oregon Public House, first non-profit pub, under construction in Portland

3:03 PM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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By Kai Porter

Portland, OR (KPTV/CNN) - Have a pint, change the world. That's the motto of a new pub in Portland.

Using a unique business model, the pub's founder hopes to generate $10,000 a month to funnel into local charities and community organizations.

Just like picking an item off the menu, customers will get to select from a menu of charities to support.

The nation's very first non-profit pub is slowly taking shape in northeast Portland. When it's finally open, the pub could funnel up to $10,000 a month into local charities.

"I don't like to drink my own Kool-Aid too much, but I think it's a really fantastic idea! I think it will work in so many different businesses," said Ryan Saari with the Oregon Public House.

It's an ambitious idea thought up by Saari. He's trying to open the pub completely debt-free. All of the construction materials are donated, and the work's being done by volunteers.

"The first day this pub opens, we'll be making profit. We don't have this $100,000 loan in our back pocket that we have to worry about," said Saari.

It's called the Oregon Public House, and it's located right under the Village Ballroom.

Saari sees his non-profit pub becoming like a fundraising department for local charities.

Here's how it'll work. You walk up to the bar here, you order your food and drinks, and then you get to actually choose where you want your money to go from a list of local charities.

"So, we have right now like Mercy Corps is on the list. We have Friends of Trees. We have My Voice Music. And these represent a varied variety of social justice, environmental, and community needs," he said.

The pub will have a few paid employees but it will rely mostly on volunteers to keep costs down. The less money spent on operating the pub, the more money can go to those who need it most.

"A lot of the charitable organizations in our city are hurting right now, and they're hurting in one specific way, and that is funding," said Saari.

Construction on the Oregon Public House is about 90 percent complete and the doors could open this fall.

The founder's next project, building an independent brewery so the pub can supply its own beer.


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