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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
You can now have a beer and help out your favorite charity at the same time.
The Oregon Public House, the nation's very first nonprofit pub, just opened for business Friday afternoon. The pub's motto is, "Have a pint, change the world."
It's located at 700 NE Dekum Street underneath the Village Ballroom.
"It has taken thousands of hours, hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteers to make this what it is," said owner Ryan Saari.
The pub was under construction for nearly three years, but Saari managed to open debt free with the help of donors and volunteers.
It's a soft opening for the pub until the grand opening next Friday. Over the next week, Saari and his staff plan to work out some kinks, but so far he says things are off to a good start.
"We've been open for literally an hour or two," said Saari. "We're figuring out our systems, and all our staff is here. So we're all getting trained together."
You can think of the pub as a fundraising department for local charities. All of the pub's profits go directly to eight local organizations listed on a board behind the bar.
You get to decide which charity gets your money.
"Anytime you place an order, you get to choose where you would like your individual proceeds to go from a list of the charities we're partnered with."
Saari said about $1 from every pint gets donated, but it adds up.
The Oregon Public House could soon be funneling as much as $10,000 a month to the charities. Customers like Andrew James love the idea.
"I really like the idea of spending money and having it go somewhere rather than just in someone's pocket," he said.
The pub is just getting off the ground, but Saari's one-of-a-kind business model has already received national attention.
He hopes his way of giving back catches on in other communities across the country.
"Our long-term goal would be that this becomes something that is replicated all over," said Saari. "Where people say, ‘That's a great idea. I want to do it, too. How can I be involved? How can I start one of these in my neighborhood or my city?'"
The pub is open at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and closed on Monday.
For more information about The Oregon Public House and the grand opening next week, click here.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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