Oh, What A Year!

What a year! February 2016 seems like eons ago—when Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve the nation’s first ordinance mandating the deconstruction of all homes scheduled for demolition built prior to 1917. (These homes represent about 33% of single-family home demolitions.) You can watch the Council debate here; it starts around minute 70 and includes testimony from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s (BPS) Shawn Wood (1:19) and yours truly, Stephen Reichard, the ReBuilding Center's director (1:37). 

Flyer created for event

Flyer created for event

This landmark resolution will create jobs, increase safety related to lead and asbestos materials, and divert 4,000 tons of building materials annually for reuse. This is a crucial and pioneering first step, and we will work hard in 2017 to adapt to the growth of the deconstruction sector and drive further progress.

 

February also saw the dedication of the Sons of Haiti’s new food cart lot just to the south of the ReBuilding Center (RBC). A true community-wide partnership, dozens of supporters from across the neighborhood donated nearly $11,000, which was matched by $40,000 from the Portland Development Commission, in the effort to rebuild the lot to bring it into compliance with city code. This rebuilding effort established a significant revenue source for one of the last remaining Black-owned enterprises on Mississippi Avenue.

In March there was the Building Materials Reuse Association’s (BMRA) bi-annual gathering in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fresh off our legislative victory in Portland, the ReBuilding Center’s DeConstruction Services Manager, Doug Lichter; BPS’s Shawn Wood; and Metro’s Bryce Jacobsen told the story of the four-year effort to enshrine deconstruction as the preferred method over demolition. A local group of deconstruction industry representatives has submitted a proposal to host the fall 2017 BMRA DeCon Conference in Portland—the new epicenter of deconstruction.

Remember York? A one-man play about the first African American to the Pacific Northwest?  We co-produced this play with the Native American Youth and Family Association before an audience of 500 at Jefferson High School Auditorium in early March. 

Elaine & Milhouse pose in front of their house getting a fresh new paint job

Elaine & Milhouse pose in front of their house getting a fresh new paint job

More coalition building followed in the spring as the RBC’s Volunteer Services partnered with the African American Alliance for Home Ownership to establish a new tradition—Day of Service. More than 35 volunteers conducted much needed repairs on five homes in Portland’s North/Northeast Corridor for homeowners at risk of losing their homes. 

7th grade class posing with their new 3-string instruments

7th grade class posing with their new 3-string instruments

Flyer for adult education classes taking place in the RBC workshop

Flyer for adult education classes taking place in the RBC workshop

With the time, energy, and vision of more than a dozen volunteers, in 2016 our ReFind Center was reborn as the Education Program, offering classes and much, much more in the ReBuilding Center’s fully equipped workshop. In 2016, 402 Portland Public School seventh-grade students came to learn about the physics of sound while designing and building their own three-stringed instruments, documented here in Three-Stringed Theory. Additionally, the Education Program offered 14 adult classes on how to safely and creatively work with used building materials. Over 70 participants enrolled in hands-on topics such as “Basic Carpentry for Women” and “Build and Play a Cajon (Peruvian Box Drum).” 

The Village Coalition, a network of urban villages and their allies representing Portland Metro’s houseless community, got its start at the ReBuilding Center in March. We hosted 25 meetings fueled by generous food donations from Mississippi Pizza. When the Village Coalition meetings recently grew beyond the size of the RBC’s conference room with the involvement of many village residents and allies, we facilitated a move to the Albina Youth Opportunity School

Loki with her tiny house built in the RBC lumberyard

Loki with her tiny house built in the RBC lumberyard

The Village Coalition inspired an innovative private sector initiative to build hard tents or “pods” for Portland houseless communities, 18 of which were built in the final quarter of 2016. With the incredible support of City Repair, Congregation Beth Israel, Castaway Portland, Tivnu, Oregon Tradeswomen, Constructing Hope, Portland Youth Builders, Natural Felt, National Urban Housing, Center for Public Interest and Design, and many more—including Andy Olshin and the Village Coalition—we will build up to 100 more pods in 2017. The ReBuilding Center continues to supply building materials (along with the help of Lowe’s and Parr Lumber) for this initiative as well as transporting the tiny houses around town.

During the summer, nearly 100 individuals came together to advise the RBC as it considers re-developing the north end of its property. That report has provided RBC with the invaluable wisdom of the community as we seek to leverage our space to the fullest potential to expand our mission to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of our community. 

ReBuilding Center Japan in Nagano

ReBuilding Center Japan in Nagano

An extraordinary spoken word event at the Mississippi Street Fair; the construction of a new reused materials studio at XRAY.fm; the opening of ReBuilding Center Japan; the first of a new annual Labor Day community celebration at the RBC, complete with the lumberyard music stage (this year's event honored the retirement and service to community of long-time Community Outreach Manager Linda Hunter); and so much more—we could not and would not have realized so much with the support of so many of you.  

And let’s not forget Lean Portland, an extraordinary group of professionals who are giving up their Saturdays pro bono to help the RBC become a more efficient and effective organization to better meet the needs of our guests and our community. When you visit our store in 2017, you’ll notice “lean system” efforts underway!

With the support of the Energy Trust of Oregon, we converted to LED lighting. With the support of the Autzen Foundation and the Portland Development Commission, we were able to undertake a feasibility study to explore the expansion of our space and mission. With the support of the Collins Foundation, we are well prepared for the challenges of successful implementation of the deconstruction ordinance. 

We deconstructed 20 homes and dozens of kitchens, garages, bathrooms, and barns in 2016. These projects diverted nearly 3,000 tons of materials from the landfill; saved more than 40,000 gallons of water; and prevented some 500 tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere. 

None of this would have been possible without the assistance of nearly 2,000 volunteers, providing us with more than 20,000 hours of your precious time. This was your year—from ushering people to their seats at York last March, to repairing homes in June, cheering on the spoken word in July, and building sleeping pods in the fall. And each and every day, processing materials, putting them on the store shelves, and taking them off the shelves again to give to our guests. Our customers, volunteers, supporters, and staff—the ReBuilding Center community without whom we would not even be here. 

We may remember 2016 as an extraordinarily difficult year—one that may well change the trajectory of our nation and our planet. In what may be challenging times ahead, do not forget to recall what you accomplished this year—with others, in community. You’re amazing. Thank you.

Cover photo by: Carlyle Ellis

January Volunteer Opportunities

Get involved with the Portland reuse community this January with the Rebuilding Center! Learn more about reuse and remodeling with the Portland Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show; help build community with Hands On Greater Portland; gain fire safety skills with the Red Cross; add to your resume with Rebuilding Center internships; join the newsletter team; do some cathartic denailing while salvaging materials for reuse; and represent RBC's DIY spirit tabling at the Portland Fix-It-Fair. Check out these amazing opportunities below!

Join us in honoring the legacy of Dr. King through meaningful service to our community.

Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

TABLE AT THE PORTLAND HOME SHOW: BUILD, REMODEL, AND LANDSCAPE SHOW

Need some home modeling inspiration? Join the ReBuilding Center at the:

Portland Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show
January 6-8
at the Oregon Convention Center

Volunteer for a shift at our table to share ReBuilding Center info with attendees. Before or after your shift, see the latest design trends and talk to experts about energy efficiency, home automation, windows, and much more. 

Volunteers that table at the Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show will actively engage those attending the show as a representative of the ReBuilding Center. Event volunteers will answer questions, provide information, and be a general steward for our organization's mission of "Inspiring people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities." 

Already a volunteer?

New to volunteering at the ReBuilding Center?

Email volunteer@rebuildingcenter.org with any questions.


Building Community Through Reuse
Social Night

Are you interested in making new friends in the community while volunteering? Look no further than a Hands On event at the Rebuilding Center.

January 12th
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
at the ReBuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave

Come to the Rebuilding Center to help with hands-on projects while working with donated materials. Afterwards, head across the street with fellow participants to StormBreaker Brewing for a post-volunteering happy hour! Sign up through Hands On Greater Portland's website by clicking on the link below:


MLK Day of Service: Save Lives by Installing Fire Alarms

ReBuilding Center and Red Cross are teaming up to keep people safe in 2017!

January 14th
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
at the ReBuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave

You can help save lives in the following ways:

  1. Documenter: The documenter should have good handwriting and attention to detail for completing paperwork. The documenter will document the services provided, detailing the number that were in the home before the team perform their installation, the number of Red Cross alarms installed, if a plan was developed, and basic demographics information about the residents in each household. The documenter in addition to completing paperwork will also maintain an accurate count of total alarms installed, homes visited, and other details.
  2. Educator: The educator will share fire prevention and response information with the residents. They will encourage/assist the residents with creating a home-fire evacuation plan. The educator will also provide residents with information about actions they should take when an earthquake occurs and information about what should be included in their disaster supplies kit.
  3. Installer (minimum 16 yrs/old): The installer will inspect existing alarms to verify that they are working, their age, and their placement. The installer will offer to replace alarms that are 5-years or older with new alarms. They will also install additional alarms and place them based on recommendations provided by the Oregon State Fire Marshal.

From the Red Cross website:

The goal? To install 1,000 smoke alarms in homes that need them in the Boise/ Eliot neighborhood of NE Portland. This is our region’s largest home fire campaign to date, which means we need you! Mark your calendar and please join us to volunteer, along with your friends, family and neighbors, to help with this major Centennial Celebration event!

Sign up for a role that looks interesting to you and you'll get contacted by Sam, Red Cross's volunteer coordinator about details for the day! If you are unable to make the entire day, still sign up - we can use your help! If you are new to the ReBuilding Center and would like to volunteer, select what "type" of volunteer you are on our website and fill out an application so you can attend an orientation and get into action! Login into Volgistics and locate the opportunity in the directory and sign up today by clicking on the link below:


DeNailing Every Tuesday and Saturday

Every Tuesday and Saturday, come on out to help us divert materials from the waste stream! You'll team up with Pete Heim, our Site Supervisor to rid salvaged boards of it's nail-esque componentry and turn them into salvaged building materials for reuse (that could end up being used in a volunteer-led project to build tiny houses for the houseless)!

Every Tuesday & Saturday
9:00 am. - 1:00 p.m.
1001 NE 2nd Ave (near the Rose Quarter Max transit stop)

Dress for the weather. We will provide all necessary safety equipment and tools. If we end up canceling, only those that have scheduled (either online, or by contacting Dave) will be notified. Login into Volgistics and locate the opportunity in the directory and sign up today by clicking on the link below:


Fix-It-Fair

The Fix-It Fair is a free City of Portland event where you can learn simple ways to save money and connect with resources. Join your neighbors and talk to the experts about how to spend less and stay healthy.

January 28th
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
George Middle School
10000 N Burr Ave, Portland

Event volunteers will answer questions, provide information, and be a general steward for our organization's mission of "Inspiring people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities."

If you are new to the ReBuilding Center and would like to volunteer, select what "type" of volunteer you are on our website and fill out an application so you can attend an orientation and get into action! Login and sign up by clicking on the link below:


MARKETING ANALYST AND MEDIA INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE

Do you have an interest nonprofit work, data analysis, media creation, or social media? Do you want to gain experience using data analysis and marketing tools to boost nonprofit efforts while increasing your business, technical, and marketing skills? If so, apply for the Digital Marketing Analysis internship or the Media Content Creator internship with the ReBuilding Center! For more information, email RBC Marketing & Communication Ashley Howe at  ashley@rebuildingcenter.org or apply online: 


JOIN THE NEWSLETTER TEAM EVERY THURSDAY 

Every week, the newsletter team meets with Ashley, the ReBuilding Center’s Communications & Marketing Manager. Together, the team writes stories, carries out interviews, takes photos, and puts together the ReBuilding Center’s e-newsletters. These newsletters are great portfolio/resume builders!

The newsletter team is comprised of volunteers just like you! This is your newsletter, written by volunteers, for the ReBuilding Center community.

Sign up if you have an interest in:

  • Photography/Videography
  • Journalism/Social Media
  • Sustainability
  • Creative Reuse
  • Graphic Design

Channel your creativity into serving our mission to build community through reuse!

To sign up schedule yourself by entering in your login information here:

Then click on "My Schedule," select any Thursday, click "Schedule me," select any time between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., hit "Continue", confirm, and voila!

Alternatively, you can email Ashley Howe, the Communications & Marketing Manager at ashley@rebuildingcenter.org.

A huge thanks to all who gave to The Rebuilding Center through Give!Guide

The ReBuilding Center participated in the Willamette Week's Give!Guide for the first time this year... and it was a huge success!

We want to give a huge shout-out of thanks to everyone who donated to us, including our two business sponsors, who are also our neighbors:

The business sponsors offered free tacos and drink coupons as incentives as well as a $2,000 donation match from Por Que No.

The ReBuilding Center hosted an event at the end of November at StormBreaker Brewing to kick off and celebrate participation in the Give!Guide, where we raised an initial $1,250 from donors.

Give!Guide aims to increase year-end-giving participation in individuals 35 years or younger. The ReBuilding Center received more than 100 individual donations, with more than a third of which were made by people under 36 years of age!

For this first year participating in the Give!Guide, our goal was to raise over $10,000, and we are excited to announce we met that goal (including Por Que No's match)! Even though the official Give!Guide period is now over for the year, you can still make a donation to support the work and mission of the ReBuilding Center.

All donations support the ReBuilding Center’s mission to build community through reuse, including our Community Outreach Program, which strengthens the capacity and impact of community-led efforts to create a more equitable, vibrant, and resilient Portland.

Last year, the ReBuilding Center diverted over 2 million pounds of building materials from the landfill—such as lumber, hardware, lighting, and doors—and sold over 400,000 items back to the community for reuse. Through these sales, the ReBuilding Center was able to donate essential building materials to over 200 local grassroots projects, and our Community Outreach Program was able to support 12 community-building initiatives.

Again, thanks to everyone who gave through the Give!Guide this year. We’re excited to participate again next year and look forward to continuing to grow and connect with the ReBuilding Center community!

Tiny Homes on Display at PNCA

In mid-December, 14 tiny houses were displayed in a parking lot near the Pacific Northwest College of Art.  These were designed by local professional architects and students of the PSU architecture program and then constructed at various sites, including two at the ReBuilding Center.  The concept is to provide small, safe, and beautiful sleeping units for the houseless population of the city. Initial planning was carried out by a collection of public and private participants calling themselves “Partners On Dwelling,”  hence the acronym “POD.”  By a happy coincidence, tiny houses can also be referred to as “pods!” 

A collection of “pods” becomes a village, and are planned to be located at various sites throughout the city.  The current 14 pods are proposed to be sited in North Portland in the community of Kenton. New pods continue to be built at the Rebuilding Center, utilizing available recycled materials. The long-term goal of the initiative is to create 30 villages of 30 pods each. 

For additional information you can check out:

OR

Upcoming January Carpentry Classes

The ReBuilding Center offers classes and workshops focused on hands-on building projects that use simple design and reclaimed wood from the ReBuilding Center.

This adult education program aims to provide the community with an affordable way to develop DIY skills with both hand and power tools to enable greater self-reliance and creative expression! Classes will be made available regardless of income through scholarships and sliding-scale class fees.

Basic Carpentry: Tables and Benches
Saturday, January 14
1:oopm-5:00pm

Basic Carpentry for Women: Tables and Benches
Saturday, January 28
1:00pm-5:00pm

A garden bench, a bedside table, a catch-all next to the front doorit’s up to you! Come with basic measurements of your space and leave with your new piece of custom furniture!

Using a very simple design and reclaimed lumber, you’ll make a basic table or bench while gaining skills and confidence to use in future DIY projects.

Edge-Glued Wood:
From Cutting Boards to Table Tops
Saturday, January 21 & Sunday, January 22
BOTH DAYS: 1:00PM-5:00PM

Many woodworking projects require gluing smaller pieces together to make a larger surface, such as cutting boards, table tops, cabinet door panels, and butcher blocks. In this class, you'll make a simple edge-glued panel, and learn each step hands-on, from raw material to finished product!

December Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

Get involved with the Portland reuse community this winter with the Rebuilding Center! Help build community with Hands On Greater Portland; add to your resume with Rebuilding Center internships; join the newsletter team; and learn more about reuse and remodeling with the Portland Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show. Check out these amazing opportunities below!

Hands On Greater Portland: Community Building and Volunteer Day

Are you interested in making new friends in the community while volunteering? Look no further than Hands On at the Rebuilding Center.

December 15th
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 p.m.

Come to the Rebuilding Center to help with hands-on projects while working with donated materials. Afterwards, head across the street with fellow participants to StormBreaker Brewing for a post-volunteering happy hour!  For more information, contact Dave Lowe at dave@rebuildingcenter.org .


Marketing Analyst and Media Internships Available

Do you have an interest nonprofit work, data analysis, media creation, or social media? Do you want to gain experience using data analysis and marketing tools to boost nonprofit efforts while increasing your business, technical, and marketing skills? If so, apply for the Digital Marketing Analysis internship or the Media Content Creator internship with the Rebuilding Center! For more information, email Ashley Howe at ashley@rebuildingcenter.org.


Join the newsletter Team Every Thursday 

Every week, the newsletter team meets with Ashley, the ReBuilding Center’s Communications & Marketing Manager. Together, the team writes stories, carries out interviews, takes photos, and puts together the ReBuilding Center’s e-newsletters. These newsletters are great portfolio/resume builders!

The newsletter team is comprised of volunteers just like you! This is your newsletter, written by volunteers, for the ReBuilding Center community.

Sign up if you have an interest in:

  • Photography/Videography
  • Journalism/Social Media
  • Sustainability
  • Creative Reuse
  • Graphic Design

Channel your creativity into serving our mission to build community through reuse!

To sign up schedule yourself through ReBuilding Center's online Volgistics portal by entering in your login information here, click on "My Schedule," select any Thursday, click "Schedule me," select any time between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., hit "Continue", and confirm! Alternatively, you can email Ashley Howe, the Communications & Marketing Manager at ashley@rebuildingcenter.org.


Table at the Portland Home Show: Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show

Need some home modeling inspiration? Join the ReBuilding Center at the Portland Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show from January 6-8, 2017, at the Oregon Convention Center. Volunteer for a shift at our table to share ReBuilding Center info with attendees. Before or after your shift, see the latest design trends and talk to experts about energy efficiency, home automation, windows, and much more. 

Volunteers that table at the Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show will actively engage those attending the show as a representative of the ReBuilding Center. Event volunteers will answer questions, provide information, and be a general steward for our organization's mission of "Inspiring people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities." Volunteers can sign up through Volgistics or contact Volunteer Services at volunteer@rebuildingcenter.org to get registered.

New ReBuilding Center Flourishes in Japan

As many Portlanders know, there is a great affection between Portland and the people of Japan and vice versa. Each year, we have dozens of visitors from Japan, many of them through Portland State University. Two years ago, Kanako Azuna visited us and was very impressed with our ethic of reuse and building a sustainable economy that works for the entire community.  He was so inspired that when he returned to Japan, he began to create the Japanese version of the ReBuilding Center. After revisiting us in August 2016, Kanako opened the ReBuilding Center Japan in the Nagano prefecture of Japan in September of this year. 

The ReBuilding Center Japan has been very active, both in the community and online. The Center’s Facebook page currently has about 3,500 followers, and a promotional video detailing the founder’s visit to Portland and the construction of the Nagano site has been posted to YouTube.

The new ReBuilding Center Japan also maintains a blog where they educate the community about waste utilization, and report on completed community projects. According to the blog, one of ReBuilding Center Japan’s first community jobs was to dismantle a warehouse so that new condominiums could be constructed in its place. 

When roughly translated, the Rebuilding Center Japan’s website says “ Our philosophy is to ‘ReBuild New Culture…giving value to things abandoned in the world, sent out to the world once again, they will connect to the next generation.’"

These are some photos from Rebuilding Center, Japan

Celebration of Portland through Fuse - Portland Dance Project

Photographer Jingzi Zhao uses the industrial landscape of the Rebuilding Center store for her FUSE – Portland Dance Portrait project. By photographing dancers in Portland landmarks, Jingzi turns these everyday spaces into something extraordinary. Jingzi collaborated with dancers Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason from Meraki Duo Acrobatics to pose in the Rebuilding Center store. We asked Jingzi some questions about her work and how she decided to feature the Rebuilding Center in Fuse. 

Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason at Meraki Duo Acrobatics

Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason at Meraki Duo Acrobatics

What drives you to create art?

This is a million dollar question. Simply put, the desire to express ideas and tell stories is what motivates me. 

Xena Isabella Rosas Güitròn at Polaris Dance Theater

Xena Isabella Rosas Güitròn at Polaris Dance Theater

What do you love about Portland?

It wasn't love at first sight when I moved here 11 years ago. It took me a while to start to appreciate what the city has to offer. I love the outdoors, the eco-friendly lifestyle, the vibrant art scenes, and the open-mindedness of people.  Portland still fascinates me, after all these years. You can be whoever you want to be and there isn't much expectation on how one should behave or achieve, except that one should recycle and compost.

Xuan Cheng at Oregon Ballet Theater

Xuan Cheng at Oregon Ballet Theater

Why did you decide to work with dance performers?

I love dance and my work has been shifting more towards dance photography these years. Dancers are story-tellers. They evoke feelings and create dramas with their body and movement. That's the effect I wanted for the Fuse project: a dramatized version of everyday moment.  

Emily Running at Dance Wire

Emily Running at Dance Wire

What are some of the most memorable places in Portland you've photographed at? Do you have any stories about particular sites, dancers, and people interacting with your work?

They are all memorable to me. All the places we photographed at are places that people frequent, like the Rose Garden, Forest Park, a coffee shop, a brewery pub, and a vintage store. It's everyday landscape. What's special is the collaborative and creative process that the dancers and I went through at each place, figuring out ways to infuse drama and humor while evoking place. 

I think the beauty of the Fuse project is it takes dancers off the stage of theaters and puts them on the playground of everyday life where they are more accessible and connected to people. When I photographed Jenae and Dominic in the ReBuilding Center, a guy approached them during our shoot and asked for their information looking for performers for his New Year’s Eve performance. He happened to be shopping in the store and saw Jenae and Dominic in action. 

Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason at Meraki Duo Acrobatics

Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason at Meraki Duo Acrobatics

Why did you want to photograph at the ReBuilding Center?

This project is to create works that showcase the city and our lifestyle. The Rebuilding Center is the perfect type of local business that embodies the environmentally conscious nature of Portland. People come here to find new use of old materials. Given that Portland has been experiencing a surge in development, it is more important than ever to encourage people to recycle and reuse. Besides, as a photographer, I found the store space visually stimulating.  It's like some sort of wonderland. I had always wanted to photograph here.    

What was your favorite part about your experience at the ReBuilding Center?

People. For the shoot I visited the ReBuilding Center four times within two weeks. Every single person I met was so nice and supportive. Some went out of their way to help us on the shoot. I also appreciate the open-mindedness of the management that allowed us to photograph on a busy weekend. Without your support we wouldn't have been able to pull it off.

Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason at Meraki Duo Acrobatics

Jenae Gerstmann and Dominic Eason at Meraki Duo Acrobatics

Why does community matter to you?

We are all connected. The more we are aware of what's going on around us, available to us, the better we are able to make use of the resources and have a higher chance to succeed. I hope this Fuse - Portland Dance Portrait project helps connect people and communities, enhance the awareness of and appreciation for our performing artists, local businesses and the core values that make us proud of being Portlandians. 

You can contact Jingzi Zhao and learn more about Fuse at http://www.jingziphotography.com

Of Sleeping Pods, Hard Tents, And Simple Human Decency

With an estimated 5,000 homeless living in Portland and 2,000 sleeping on the streets on any given night, Portland’s housing crisis has created headlines, headaches and heart ache. It’s also generated a lot of creative energy and good will that’s starting to have a real impact.

The ReBuilding Center has long provided materials to the villages around Portland’s inner core – Dignity Village and Right to Dream Too (R2D2) come to mind. Last fall, Hazelnut Grove (located below the Overlook Neighborhood on Greeley Avenue) began accessing building materials from the ReBuilding Center. That’s when Tom Patzkowski, the ReBuilding Center's Store Manager, asked if the villages ever got together to compare notes and collaborate with each other. That simple question led to bi-weekly gatherings at the ReBuilding Center, fed by free food donated by Mississippi Pizza.

The informal gatherings grew. City officials came to interact with the villages. Service providers came too. More pizza was ordered. The simple gathering came to name itself the Village Coalition. And today, it is a movement, with support from the City, service providers, and the private sector. And with 501(c)(3) status in the offing, many good things are planned for 2017.

But some terrific things have happened already. Architects and planners have developed multiple designs for 8’x6', 8’x8’, and ‘8x10’ sleeping pods. This fall, funded by members of the private sector, including the Olshin Family Trust and Lowe’s, a build was organized. Four pods were built at a lot in Northwest Portland. You can see a video of that build here: 

The four “hard tents,” as they are designated by the City of Portland, were completed here at the ReBuilding Center with volunteers from TIVNU, National Urban Housing, Oregon Tradeswomen, and Constructing Hope. In a very exciting development, the City of Portland passed a resolution in October allowing religious institutions to host up to four of the hard tents on their properties. Shortly thereafter, two of the pods were set up at Congregation Beth Israel as a model for other congregations. One of the pods was delivered to Hazelnut Grove the day after Thanksgiving, an event that was captured by KGW and can be viewed here:

And, in early December, the Full Holy Ghost Mission Church of God on Killingsworth will take delivery of the fourth pod.

But with 2,000 people sleeping on the streets every night, four pods barely scratch the surface. So, a group led by City Repair, PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design, the ReBuilding Center, and Open Archiecture have organized a build of 14 pods, which should be completed by the end of the year. According to Mark Lakeman, one of the leaders of this build, “This is one of the most exciting initiatives we’ve ever been involved with. It signals the emergence of the ReBuilding Center as an increasingly active member of the community and brings together some of the leading architects to address one of our community’s most pressing concerns.”

Andy Olshin has even bigger dreams: organizing the community to build 100 pods in 2017. Said Olshin, “I want to see how we can build community while we’re building community.” The ReBuilding Center hopes to have one of these 100 pods under construction at the store all year long. Volunteers are welcome!

tiny home.jpg

This gorgeous pod features a floor made from a bowling alley lane. Built by TIVNU, it was painted by Loki, the future occupant, who can be seen in the photo above. Loki, and her pod, now live at Hazelnut Grove. Says Loki of her new home: “Never felt more at home."


In other Rebuilding Center tiny home news, we spoke with Linda Pope from Portland Community College about the tiny home project that she worked on with her students.

Linda says that the tiny home project came to her by chance, when money was offered to her and her students during a faculty meeting. Linda had no building experience before starting the project, but learned through working as a team and “figuring it out as [they] went." Linda likes working with salvaged materials because it saves the planet by using materials gleaned from older structures. From working with the Rebuilding Center, Linda is most impressed with the amazing staff and the treasures she and her students find when they visit the store. Ultimately, she likes the feeling of accomplishment that she gets at the end of the day from building homes for those in need and collaborating with her students. Linda shared that she wishes that “every town had a ReBuilding Center. It is an essential part of our future!” 

Traveling Artist Adds a Splash of Color with RBC Mural

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 3.56.41 PM.png

Those of you who have walked by the ReBuilding Center recently may have noticed something new. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, artist Jennifer Korsen visited the Rebuilding Center and used her talents to bring a creative touch to our covered bike shelter. The Rebuilding Center paid for the supplies, and Jennifer got to work. Originally, Jennifer’s piece was going to depict an octopus, which was replaced by a heart.  Eventually, a heart tree was chosen for the central image of the mural.

Jennifer’s official website says that she is known for her work with murals, mixed media pieces, and street installations. She is a traveling artist, and her works have been shown in many places, including New York, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Some of her pieces have been shown outside the USA, particularly in Germany and the UK. 

In addition to her professional website, Korsen posts images of her artwork to her instagram account. An image of the Rebuilding Center’s mural is posted there, alongside other new art pieces.

Jennifer’s “Heart Tree” can be seen and experienced at the south end of the ReBuilding Center in the bike shelter near the parking lot. 

XRAY.FM Gets a Sustainable Sonic Build-Out

XRAY.FM is a local Portland nonprofit radio station that aims to foster community involvement and development in the arts, giving Portland makers and shakers a platform to be heard and express themselves. The ReBuilding Center's (RBC) mission is to build community through reuse, and by supporting XRAY through this project, RBC is strengthening the station's capacity to do community work. Arthur Rizzotto, an engineer at XRAY.FM who is involved with the build, believes, “Community is important because it offers the opportunity to create something much larger than the individual.”

The old studio wall was festooned with a drawing of a flaming cat by famed Portland author, Chuck Palahniuk. The team is trying to figure out a way to work a into their new design.

When RBC’s Volunteer Services Manager, Dave Lowe, had a chat with XRAY.FM’s team about volunteerism, a collaborative project idea sprouted. “It’s essentially a recording studio for podcasters and bands. It has the added function of being a live room that we can broadcast from,” says Rizzotto.

With a focus on reused materials, the design features a floor made from reclaimed wood and tires. “We’ve been lucky enough actually that all the used materials have fit into our plan for the most part. We’ve had to get creative with leveling the floor since it’s all resting on tires.” Rizzotto further ponders, “Maybe we were just being overly creative in the first place.”

That creativity has fostered a strong sense of excitement and gratitude surrounding the endeavor. “I love the ReBuilding Center! I love how dedicated and enthusiastic your builders and staff are, and that you’re promoting sustainability in construction…They’ve put an incredible amount of energy, interest, and expertise into the project.” As far as the space itself once the project is complete, Rizzotto says, “It’s very special…it will be a place for people to come together to listen to and make music, and everyone loves sharing music.” 

Listen for broadcasts from the new studio in the near future at 91.1 FM and 107.1 FM in Portland, and online at XRAY.FM!

Collage Art Made with RBC Salvaged Goods

“It’s more of a compulsion than anything,” says John Lucatorta about creating his fascinating collages using salvaged materials from the ReBuilding Center (RBC). He creates vibrant cutouts of animals and clip-art-like images of everyday objects. He describes how he started doing collages as a child through “[torturing his] parents cutting up phone books and mail," and he continues to keep the same energy in the work he does today.  In creating his collages Lucatorta says that he “likes to start with a vision” of a piece and appreciates the challenge of intimidating projects the most. 

One of his collages features a giraffe on a background of reclaimed lumber running frame by frame with more paper cut out each time to reveal its skeleton.  View a stop-animation of the project coming to life here.

Giraffes - John Lucatorta 

Giraffes - John Lucatorta 

Another is an image of an airplane set on a reclaimed window with the phrase “without the dark we’d never see the stars” included with other graphic cutouts. 

Airplane - John Lucatorta

Airplane - John Lucatorta

Along with the ReBuilding Center materials, Lucatorta uses paper and “anything that’s flat and can be cut out" for his work. He uses salvaged materials for the depth and dimension they give to 2D collage. 

Spectrum Collage - John Lucatorta

Spectrum Collage - John Lucatorta

You can contact John Lucatorta at john@lucatorta.com or find him on Tumblr.

Give, Drink, and Be Merry: ReBuilding Center Give!Guide Launch Event

We are celebrating our first year in Willamette Week's nonprofit Give!Guide. This event is FREE and will be hosted during the Mississippi Ave Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Give, Drink, and Be Merry: A ReBuilding Center Give!Guide Launch Event

Saturday, November 26th
5:00–7:00 p.m. 
at StormBreaker Brewing
832 N Beech St, Portland, OR

Donate to the ReBuilding Center to be entered to win prizes in a raffle! There will be three prize packages:

1. For the DIY-Lover

2. A Night on Mississippi Avenue

3. Clean-Up at Spin Laundry Lounge

  • Black Spin Laundry Bag 
  • Nellie's All Natural PVC Free Dryer Balls and Scent Sticks 
  • Six samples of The Laundress specialty detergents 
  • $10 Spin Gift Card

Plus, all donors who give $25 or more will receive 25% off drink tickets.

Hands-On Volunteer Opportunities @ RBC

The ReBuilding Center is looking for hands-on volunteers! From helping seventh-graders design and build guitars in our wood shop, to taking photos and writing for our newsletter team, to working with salvaged materials in our store, there are so many ways to serve RBC’s mission to build community through reuse. Check out some of our current volunteer opportunities below!