Mainspring Portland

Formerly Fish Emergency Services: New Address! 3500 NE 82nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97220

Our Story

Mission: Mainspring addresses economic hardship including food insecurity for families and seniors.

Vision: Mainspring sees Portland as a city where all residents have access to healthy food, stable housing, and job and educational opportunities creating economic and social stability.

Mainspring is a voice for change that raises awareness and builds partnerships to address root causes of economic hardship.

We are an organization focused on equitable comprehensive services to meet the basic needs of residents within and beyond Portland.

Mainspring’s Beginnings as Fish Emergency Service and Time Line

In 1967, the Vietnam War raged. Terry Shrunk was the Mayor of the City of Portland. A committee from East Central Church Community Action Program (EastCAP) under the Umbrella of the Greater Portland Council of Churches formed the original Fish. A new idea was born; the idea to form an organization that would provide for children, families and seniors in need on the nearest east side in Portland.

Thirteen church congregations drew together in the EastCAP organization with the original volunteers coming from these church communities. There were Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal and Lutheran parishes.

1967: Fish began at Centenary Wilbur Methodist Church, Jean Higginbotham, a former RN, served as the first official Director. Jean worked tirelessly with volunteers and the community.

Early 1970’s Fish kept growing thanks to volunteers collecting area-wide clothing-drives and food gleaning.

1977: Arson fire virtually destroyed all food and clothing. Westminster Presbyterian provided temporary quarters for Fish.

1978: Fish moved to 1335 SE Hawthorne. Phil Nickel from Nebraska was the first Volunteer Manager.

1985: Barbara Jo Winans “Jobie” served as director elect after the Director Jean Higginbotham died suddenly.

1988: Gloria Colvin becomes the third director of FISH.

1991: Another fire burned off the back porch and community donations poured in..

2012: Gloria Colvin retired and Fish started the rebranding process with the assistance of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon and Hollis Bredewig serving as interim director.

2013: Deborah Tuner is hired to serve as the Executive Director to implement a grocery store model food pantry.

2014: Gabrielle Mercedes Bolivar is hired as the Executive Director and begins to prioritize the rebranding process with the Board of Directors.

2014: In the Summer of 2014 Melody Macready is hired on as the Operations & Volunteer Manager.

2014: In the fall of 2014, Robert E. Tupper, the Fish Food Inventory Coordinator passes away after an abrupt and sudden illness. His loss is felt by all whose lives he touched.

2015: Fish is renamed Mainspring Portland. Mainspring is awarded their first federal contract through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) serving seniors living at or below 130% of the federal poverty level.

2015: Kyle Urban named Mainspring Deputy Director & Volunteer Manager of Mainspring. 

2016: Taffy Urban named Operations Coordinator of Mainspring.

2016: US Dept. of Agriculture increases the Senior Food program contract with Mainspring through the Commodities Supplemental Food Program.

2017: Mainspring sold the Hawthorne location and purchased an accessible building located at 3500 NE 82nd in the Madison South Neighborhood.  This building will have greater access to program participants using public transit and program service area is on the main floor and will be accessible to all.  

2017: April Mainspring opened at our new location!  3500 NE 82nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97220

2018: David Soulier joined the Mainspring team as our Food Pantry Inventory & Distribution Coordinator

Our Staff

Gabrielle Mercedes Bolivar, Executive Director,

Kyle Urban, Deputy Director & Volunteer Manager,

Vincent Vitchell. Food Inventory & Driver Coordinator

David Soulier, Food Pantry Inventory & Distribution Coordinator

Human Resource,


Our Board

Board of Directors:

Rita Moore, PhD, Board Chair

Stan Loop, Board Member

3500 NE 82nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97220
(503) 233-5533

Website design by Katie Cox Media