Anya Dobrowolski and Beth Sweeney
A native of Rockville, Maryland, with a degree in music education from George Mason U, Anya Dobrowolski came to Eugene in 2006 for grad school in landscape architecture. She finished a master's degree in 2011 and was hired as assistant director of the school's newly-minted one-year graduate certificate program, Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS). That's where she met Beth Sweeney, an OLIS student who had worked six years for the EPA in Dallas, Texas, and in her home town of Seattle. When Dobrowolski left OLIS for freelance work as a planning and sustainability consultant, Sweeney stepped in as assistant director. "We got together for a beer in October of 2013," Dobrowolski recalls. "We talked about our life goals and changes we wanted to make happen." They decided that creating a community tool library could satisfy many of those goals. "We spent most of 2014 'friend-raising,'" says Sweeney. A meeting with city green-building officials brought a pledge of startup funding, and a neighborhood-picnic encounter with Pastor Mike of the Friendly Street Church of God brought the offer of a building site. The Eugene ToolBox Project gained non-profit status in February of 2015, and began lending tools from the back of a pickup in July. "We're getting close to 100 members," Dobrowolski reports. A 440 square foot building, designed by a team of volunteers to house the library, is currently under construction at 23rd and Adams. Until it is completed, lending hours are limited: 9am to noon on Saturday. To learn about membership and fees, and to see a complete inventory of available tools, visit eugenetoolboxproject.org.