Here at the Nose's workshop, the elves have been busy. Like you, the Olfactory One finds his pockets a little light. And he enters this season of giving with less need of a tax break and more a sense of fear about the immediate future.

Doesn't matter. Humbug to the recession. Coal in the stocking of those responsible for Sept. 11. The Nose has gone ahead and asked his elves to give--their time, their possessions and their scratch--and, bless their hearts, the little boogers have already chipped in.

Because the Nose knows you want guidance about such matters, he has agreed to share with you his favorite local charities. Have no fear; these groups may be less well-known than other nonprofits, but they deserve your support.

First Octave

Once upon a time, way back in 1988, public schools had things like music programs and art classes. Today, in many cases, they're gone. In other schools, they exist only because parents and others have raised the needed cash. One of the best examples is the First Octave Fund, which supports music programs at Portland Public Schools. In fact, WW chose to give First Octave much of the money it raised during Musicfest Northwest, this paper's fall music festival. The Nose is licking an envelope now that contains our check--nearly $12,000. Join the bandwagon. Send your donation to First Octave, in care of the Portland Schools Foundation, 516 SE Morrison St., Suite 1200, Portland OR 97214. PSF's phone number is 234-5404. Check out First Octave's website at If cash is short, you can call to volunteer as a ticket taker for the benefit concerts First Octave puts on each year.

Community Cycling Center

Talk about a nonprofit with a niche: bikes, period. Since 1994, CCC has been working with low-income kids, teaching them how to work on bikes, and donating rigs to kids who need them. Of course, CCC does more than just give out free rides; it promotes self-reliance, sets up mentorships and creates a sense of belonging. What CCC needs is bikes for its Holiday Bike Drive--mechanics are ready and waiting for your wrecked Raleigh, your shattered Schwinn. Take your bike to CCC's shop at 1700 NE Alberta St. (288-8864), or drop it off at River City Bikes (706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 233-5973) or any of three Bike Gallery locations (5329 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-9800; 1001 SW Salmon St., 222-3821; 200 B Ave., Lake Oswego, 636-1600). If your attic is bare, the CCC could also use your tax-deductible cash donation. Check out its website at

Wallace Medical Concern

If you are poor, don't speak English and have a minor medical problem--like an ingrown toenail, a leg wound or a back problem, your best bet for 16 years has been to visit the Wallace Medical Concern, which operates three clinics in Portland and Gresham. If you are none of the above, you can help the good folks at the concern--the doctors, nurses and medical students who volunteer their time and last year saw more than 2,000 patients. How? Send a check to the Wallace Medical Concern, P.O. Box 6972, Portland OR 97228. If you speak Spanish and know a little medical terminology, call Executive Director Kathy Hammock (274-1277) to volunteer. Ditto if you're a doctor--especially a dermatologist--who'd like to pitch in occasionally.

Sisters of the Road Cafe

If the Nose ran the world (and some day, he will), he'd award a Mother Theresa Prize to the folks who run this Old Town eatery, which serves more than 250 hot meals each day to the poor for a nominal cost, allowing them to work at the restaurant if they can't pay for their food. Sisters has become a safe harbor in the storm of homelessness; never has the Nose visited Sisters without coming away amazed at the patience and goodwill the staff dispenses to a clientele that's not exactly known for being big tippers. You can help by sending this nonprofit a check--which will be matched 50 cents to the dollar, by some fine upstanding person named Anonymous--to Sisters at 133 NW 6th Ave., Portland OR 97209, 222-5694, You can also help by simply stuffing your face. Boxcar Bertha's, an enterprise located at 1000 NW 17th Ave. (248-9231), donates its profits to support Sisters. Besides, they serve a mean BLT.