How Things Work

The Meetings:
We get together twice a month, alternating between two locations:

  • Tualatin – Our original location. Meets at the Winona Grange Hall in Tualatin (the Tualatin schedule rotates among third Sundays, third Mondays, and third Fridays to accommodate the most people — see When and Where page for schedule.)
  • NE Portland – Our newest location. Meets at the Matt Dishman Community Center in NE Portland on the first Saturday of the month from 11 am – 1 pm. (with the exception of September which gets bumped to the second Saturday — see When and Where page for schedule)

What Are the Meetings Like:
We are very informal.  And while puzzles are obviously the thing that brought us all together, we have a grand time visiting with our friends, old and new alike. We don’t work puzzles at the meetings; we just swap puzzles.

How Does Trading Work:
At least for now, we have a straightforward approach.  Hopefully it can stay that way, even as we get larger.  Right now, everyone brings their puzzles in, they all get set out, everyone browses through them, finds the ones that look interesting to them, and then goes home with a different set of puzzles than they came with.

We aren’t very concerned with who brought how many and who takes how many.  They all circulate from month to month, and the main key is that everyone finds something new and interesting every month.  We’ve been doing this for about 15 years now, so we may have to grow and adapt as the group gets bigger.  We are improvising as we go.

The puzzle check-in process works like this:

    • First-time puzzles (those which have never been to a Portland Puzzle Exchange before) should be dropped off at the front table for check-in.
    • Returning puzzles (those with pieces in ziploc bags and Portland Puzzle Exchange stickers) can be dropped off directly onto any of the trading tables.

Preventing Escapees:
We found that the more we move puzzles around, coming to and from meetings, the more pieces we seem to have escaping from their boxes.  The solution we all agreed upon is to use ziplock-style baggies. When you are ready to put the puzzle back in the box, put the pieces into a ziplock bag first, then in the box.  The gallon size easily holds the pieces for most puzzles, and the investment of about a dime per puzzle significantly increases the life of a puzzle.

Missing Pieces? Most people don’t like to work puzzles with missing pieces, and we already have soooo many puzzles to store, that we have decided to ask that if you work a puzzle and discover that it has missing pieces please do not bring it in for exchange. We used to maintain an Orphanage for found pieces, but it had very limited success in re-uniting pieces with their puzzles, so we abandoned it.

Puzzle Tracking Sheets
We have developed a puzzle history sheet that we include in the box with each puzzle.  As each person completes a given puzzle, they can date it, give the state of the puzzle (intact, missing pieces, etc.) and add any comments they want to share about that puzzle. It’s Puzzle Feedback, and is appreciated by many of us.

If a Puzzle Tracking Sheet is not in your puzzle box and your would like to add one, you can open and print at home via this link:
Puzzle Tracking Sheet Download Link

Currently, we ask for a $10 annual donation per household to cover the meeting rental, storage, and miscellaneous supplies. Some may find the added expense more of a burden than others, and may opt to contribute a little each time they attend a meeting. We don’t keep records on who gives how much and when, only whether we have enough to pay the rent. We use the honor system; whatever you want to contribute, we will honor. The Donation Can will be out at the meetings.

How Many Puzzles Do We Have?
We’ve never attempted to count them. We have enough to cover 4 or 5 large tables with puzzles stacked 2 deep, and still have the other 2/3rds or 3/4ths of the puzzles in storage. We rotate the puzzles we bring out each month.

The Email List:
We maintain an “anonymous” email distribution list for sending out meeting reminders and group up-dates. There are currently nearly 500 of us on the list, and we have decided to use an “Undisclosed Recipients” mode of messaging in order to further protect your privacy. We don’t share or disclose our email list with anyone else, as we value your privacy as highly as we do our own. If you ever wish to be removed from the mailing list, please drop us a note at or reply to one of our meeting reminder messages.

If you have signed up for the mailing list in person at an exchange and notice you are not recieving our mailings, please send us a note at and we’ll get you on the list. It’s a little tricky transcribing handwritten sign-ups and we don’t always get it right.