Can you spare a minute?

  • Posted on: 20 December 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Since I have been working downtown this past year, I've become more familiar with questions like the title of this post, often posed on street corners by earnest-looking, young-looking people with clipboards. Minutes are a scarce commodity in my life now. We have around 580,000 people in Portland, and most days up to 100 Portlanders contact me requesting action on something, in addition to the tasks my staff and I already have on our To Do list from managing my bureaus and working with my colleagues on issues. So on the street, I smile and keep hurrying on, even when the question asked is something more heart-tugging like, "Do you care about children?". One minute can represent the amount of time it takes to read an email, or ask one of my staff to call back someone who left a message for me on the topic-du-jour.

In other situations, my answer to "Can you spare a minute?" is often, "Of course! How can I help you?". My current job is much like my previous ones over 27 years in nursing. To be effective, I need to know what is bothering people, and what they would like me to do about it. A minute spent listening to a constituent often results in having the capacity to fix a problem I didn't know existed before.

Still, perhaps because minutes are precious and must be well spent, part of my morning routine each day continues to be to click on


The Hunger Site

and the other five related pages linked on tabs from The Hunger Site. On these pages, a click once every 24 hours shows you've seen Thank You page, whose sponsors then give money to the worthy causes. It's free to you, except for the minute of your time. Can you spare a minute, for that?

Answers to common questions are here. I've purchased Fair Trade and other products from the site, and have always been very pleased with the quality and value. They are currently promising shipping to arrive by 12/24.

If you have a few more minutes to spare this fine December Sunday, please visit:


* Be Fire Smart.com and take their quick quiz, which will then help Portland Fire & Rescue win a $10,000 grant (closes tomorrow, 12/21/09)


* Your Voice survey on community technology needs (closes tomorrow, 12/21/09)


* the Portland Plan survey

Can you spare a minute, in your own home with no further obligations?