Volunteers from Around the World Discover the Power of Reuse 

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The ReBuilding Center was happy to welcome the Student Leaders Program (SLP) as a part of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at Portland State University (PSU). The Middle East Partnership Initiative consists of international students visiting from the Middle East and North Africa to participate in a five to seven-week Civic Engagement and Community Leadership Program.

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For three days in July, the international student group spent time helping out as volunteers and learning all about the mission of the ReBuilding Center. Students were given a tour and then jumped in and assisted with projects and even visited a deconstruction site at Grant High School. They were able to put their hands to work as they learned about conservation, sustainability, and reuse. The student group had a fantastic experience volunteering and sent this lovely note of gratitude to
David Lowe, Volunteer Services and Education Manager. 

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"The students from the Middle East Partnership Initiative really
enjoyed their time with you all at the ReBuilding Center last week.
The entire experience was very meaningful, and really helped frame their time in the U.S. and for talking about conditions in their own communities. The visit to the deconstruction of Grant High School was also very special, and I really appreciate you accommodating this. I wanted to give a sincere THANK YOU for all your work in arranging this experience."
-Laura Lyons, Program Assistant, Student Leaders Program, PSU

Thank you Laura and all the amazing SLP group for your good work and help building community through reuse!

Cute Cat Story Alert: Family Builds New Kitty Tower Out of Grant High School Materials

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Did you know that #catdrawer is a thing online? It goes to show that cats love snuggling into confined spaces! Sara Eddie and her family were getting a new kitten and decided to get ahead of the game. Sara’s husband, Bill, built a cat tree out of drawers from the Grant High School science lab and some lumber from the ReBuilding Center.

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The inspiration came after Sara dropped off the adoption paperwork with the kitten's foster family and while perusing the ReBuilding Center, spotted a chair that looked very familiar. Their now college-aged daughter, who graduated from Grant, did many singing performances in the high school's auditorium and Sara and Bill had sat in those same chairs. This lead to some creative thinking about all the items salvaged from the Grant High School deconstruction project and the cat drawer tree idea was born.
How lucky is this new kitten to benefit from the loving inspiration of its new family and the resources at the ReBuilding Center.

Rose City to Host National Conference on Deconstruction & Reuse

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Portland has been chosen as the host city for this year’s Decon+Reuse’17 Conference, "a one of a kind meeting of deconstruction and reuse practitioners from around the world." The Chicago based non-profit, Building Materials Reuse Association (BRMA) is holding their annual conference in the Smith Memorial Union at Portland State University September 25th-27th. There are a number of interesting topics being covered over this three day stretch including talks from keynote speakers, Adam Minter on "Waste Doesn't Slide Downhill: Travels in a New World of Recycling and Re-Use,"and Jim Lindberg on "The Atlas of ReUrbanism."

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Other topics covered will range from: the booming, sustainable industry of deconstruction; conservation, preservation, and development of sustainable practices and projects; the art of dumpster diving; to civic activism and reform. There is something for everyone who is interested in learning more about sustainable practices. You can register below:

 

The ReBuilding Center is honored to be associated with this event and will be hosting the welcoming reception on Sunday, September 24th. This eventis not open the public, so make sure you register if you would like to enjoy the festivities, fine food, and beverages that will be offered, including a specially brewed beer from Stormbreaker Brewing just for us, the "ReLogger," to whet your appetite for the conference to follow.

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Cheer RBC on in Design & Build Competition, "The Dropbox Derby"

The final Saturday of September will see the inaugural Dropbox Derby presented by Lovett Deconstruction and promises to be a fun filled event for all ages! Cheer on ReBuilding Center's team of Salvage Specialists!

Saturday, September 30th
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
2034 NE Sandy Blvd.
FREE!

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The friendly competition is being held at the Lovett Deconstruction facility on NE Sandy Blvd.  Come watch as ten teams battle it out in the design & build challenge to create the best derby car built entirely from salvaged materials.  There will be no unfair advantages because each team will receive identical batches of materials as well predetermined parameters that each entry must follow.

Fine food and refreshments will be available through many of our delicious local food trucks.  Cider Riot, a local favorite, will be there to provide an elixir to quench thirst for the 21 & over crowd. 

In addition to all the fun and games to be had on September 30th, this event is going on to support a terrific cause.  The derby cars will be auctioned off and all proceeds raised will be donated to the Sisters of the Road Cafe, a nonprofit organization that has been dedicated to serving Portland’s homeless community since 1979. 

If you are interested in helping out Sisters of the Road but cannot make it to the Derby you can show your support by donating here: 

4 DIY Ways to Utilize Reusable Materials in Your Home

Living by the main principles of sustainability and energy efficiency has become, and is still becoming, very important in modern day life. The importance of living green is stronger than ever since our environment suffers when we consume too much energy, create too much waste, and consequently pollute the air, soil, and water. One of the ways we can take care of our environment and contribute towards improving its quality, is trying to live green and making our homes more sustainable. Reduce, reuse and recycle, are the three most important principles (in that order) are the three Rs of sustainability.

When it comes to sustainable and green living, the main goal is to reduce energy consumption and pollution. This can be done in several ways by using repurposed and reusable building materials. Great amounts of energy are inevitably used in the production of new building materials, which emits a lot of pollutants into the air. By reusing materials, we decrease the need to produce new materials and lessen the impact on the environment. Materials we no longer need should be recycled, repurposed, or donated for reuse. Apart from saving invaluable resources and helping create a more sustainable environment, these practices will also save you money since it is cheaper to reuse than to buy something new!

Here are some ideas for projects using reusable material in your home.

Wooden table and chairs, Credited by Culver Center, Flickr

Wooden table and chairs, Credited by Culver Center, Flickr

Homemade Bee Hive, Credited by lehua_mc, Flickr

Homemade Bee Hive, Credited by lehua_mc, Flickr

1. Reclaimed lumber re-contextualized 

When it comes to wood there are many possibilities for reuse to create something new for your home. You can shop at the ReBuilding Center or similar salvaged lumberyard and depending on what you are searching for and what your project is going to be, you can choose your own sizes and dimensions. Re-do your own flooring or use some beautiful old growth in a custom-made furniture project. And remember when redoing your floor, make sure to recycle it if possible because the possibilities for reuse are endless!

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2. Get creative with cabinets

If you have some old wooden wardrobes, cabinets, or furniture that you're looking to get rid of, give them new meaning through a creative reuse project. If those pieces of furniture have drawers, for example, you can repurpose them into little tables for your living room, patio, or garden.

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3. Give an old window new life

At the ReBuilding Center, you can reusable window frames and shutters and there are many ways you can use them to turn into a DIY project. An interesting addition to your kitchen would be to turn an old window into a hanging rack for your pots and pans. Attach a firm, vintage window to the ceiling and simply add some hooks to it and you will have an innovative pot rack, and it will free up some space in your kitchen.

Old window frames can also be repurposed as photo frames. Put your favorite photos in between the frames and attach it to the wall or display it anywhere in your home.

DIY Garden flower spiral, Credited by Steve, Flickr

DIY Garden flower spiral, Credited by Steve, Flickr

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4. What to do with tile by the mile

Old tiles are usually thrown away when being replaced with new ones or when they are broken, but they can definitely be repurposed. Don't throw them away! Broken and scrap tiles can be used to collage on to colorful flower pots or garden walkways for example. You can have some fun creating a mosaic, designing it in way you want, and adding a personal touch to your outdoor space. 


Many, if not the majority of the things we own can be donated to your local reuse store or reused in your own DIY project. By living more sustainably, we help improve our planet and quality of life while saving money, having fun, being creative, and contributing to a reuse economy!

This article was written by Matt, writer and editor for roofing contractors from Georgia.

Last, Last Thursday of the Summer!

This summer, the ReBuilding Center has been participating in the city’s revamped Alberta Last Thursday event with a half-block of programming, entitled “ReBuilding Center Road.” With 20,000 people patrons every month, RBC's "reuse theme park" has engaged hundreds of community members with fun and interactive activities, familiarizing people with our mission to build community through reuse! Every participant receives a “passport,” and as they move through the RBC theme park, they receive a stamp for each activity they've completed. Once someone has received three stamps, they will receive a coupon for a free slice of pizza from Mississippi Pizza.

Some of those activities include:

  • Run in the "Reuse Relay Race"
  • DeConstruct with larger-than-life Lincoln logs
  • Build your own DIY tile magnet in a mini ReFind class
  • Play giant Jenga with salvaged lumber
  • Play "ReBuilding Toss-Up" with our corn hole set
  • Spin the "Can You Donate It?" Wheel for a treat
  • Take a tour of a tiny house
  • & more!

Please join us Thursday, August 31st, 2017 at Alberta St. & 28th Ave!

2nd Annual Day of Service Stemming Displacement of Long-Term Portland Residents

Teaming up for the second annual “Day of Service” event, the ReBuilding Center (RBC), a nonprofit organization that offers affordable used building materials, with the goal of building community through reuse, and the African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH), a nonprofit whose mission is to increase homeownership and economic stability for African Americans and other underserved individuals, came together to provide home repairs in an effort to stem displacement of long-term residents. Last year, the Day of Service teams completed ten projects for five homeowners with the help of 36 volunteers. This year, the Day of Service doubled its efforts, completing 20 projects for 13 homeowners with more than 60 volunteers!

The Day of Service began on a bright and shining Saturday morning. Volunteers met up at the ReBuilding Center over some coffee and pastries generously provided by Grand Central Bakery before setting out on their community-building adventures. Notable groups from around Portland graciously donated their time and money to the event, including Squarespace, who provided 20 volunteers; Global Shapers, a network of young people contributing to their communities, lended an additional five volunteers; prospective and current students and alumni of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc lent helping hands; Portland Youth Builders led crews, and Wells Fargo, who not only sent ten volunteers, but also donated $10,000 to purchase supplies and materials needed for the repairs. Additional financial s upport came from the Portland Housing Bureau, who provided another $10,000 for materials. As they did last year, Rose City Disposal and Recycling provided a 30-yard drop box for debris, and you can bet there was a lot of debris! Special thanks to Mississippi Pizza who donated food, and Sierra Springs for the water, to fuel the hard-working volunteers that gave up their Saturday to help their neighbors!

It’s not just [the developer’s duty] to build responsibly but if you’re going into a neighborhood where people have lived for a long time, you should put something back into that community
— Jan, Day of Service volunteer

Repairs included exterior and interior painting, removal and repair of a rotting staircase (that allowed the resident to access her top floor for the first time in years), overgrown yard debris clean-up, demolition and re-pouring of concrete stairs, bathroom overhauls and repairs, and much more. These repairs were “not major tasks per se,” said Nathan, a volunteer, “but serve a real need for general labor… Everyone has a task list of things that you want to do and things that you can’t do whether that has to do with money, age, or ability.” Nathan went on to explain that him and his wife, Jan, give back whenever they get a chance and said “when I think about hitting that stage, I hope that there’s friends, family, or different organizations to help out.” The good Samaritan couple, who had just spent the previous day painting at their church, love to spend their time giving back to their community despite living off one income (as Jan has taken over full-time care of her mother-in-law with stage three Alzheimer’s). Jan, a long-time shopper/volunteer at the ReBuilding Center and Mississippi Avenue resident for the past 10 years, had some insight into the issue saying that it makes her sad to see the people in the area be pushed out and they are “what makes Mississippi what it is. Portland is made of unique neighborhoods and that’s why everyone wants to move here, but when you price people out, you are taking away that neighborhood-y feel.” She believes that developers and builders should respect the neighborhood that they are moving into, considering the architecture and price of the area. Having worked in property management for 30 years, Jan believes there is a way of going into a neighborhood and maintaining the character, and that it’s “not just [the developer’s duty] to build responsibly but if you’re going into a neighborhood where people have lived for a long time, you should put something back into that community.”

Certain projects, like a broken gutter system or a rotting fence, took no time at all, but made a tremendous impact in the day-to-day lives of the homeowners. Volunteers wielded tools, pulled weeds, applied concrete, and installed screen doors without hesitation. At one site, one of the family members provided musical accompaniment, playing his organ from the living room. The homeowner, Willie Loving, had been living in the house since the 1960’s and reminisced about his favorite memories in the house, watching his children grow up, and then start their own families. He spoke about how he’s seen a lot of his neighbors move away and that they were “the only ones left.” He was proud to have the repairs done during the Day of Service saying that it “makes the house better represented.” One volunteer said, “I could sense the family and workers' connection while building community together. I would definitely do this again without a doubt.”

Many homeowners shared similar experiences, noting that some changes are for the better and some for the worse. Dianne moved into her Northeast home about 25 years ago, and has witnessed the transformation of the area, “when I first moved here, the neighborhood was horrible… but now I see everyone working together… I see a lot of change, it’s getting better.” She also expressed frustration with all the letters she has been receiving weekly asking if she is interested in selling her home. Her children grew up in that home and then graduated and she now lives with her grandchildren; she says she’s not going anywhere.

That’s about my story we’re just trying to maintain.
— Eunice, homeowner

Eunice has been at her home for 34 years. She says there’s good and bad in every neighborhood, but "what I don't like, is that there should be a law, concerning people coming in and putting a high building right next to you. I have a problem with that because I have to change my light bulbs to see how to prepare my food in my kitchen. I open my blinds and I'm looking straight at a wall! This house to the right of me cuts off my view up and down the street." Eunice says the Day of Service makes her feel very good and thankful for the work that is being done in her community. Eunice moved to Portland in 1979 and says she hates to see some people have to move on at a certain age, saying, “I'm thankful for people like you guys that try and help us maintain. As long as I can maintain, I plan on staying here in this neighborhood. I like it. It's close to stuff: the school, the library, and everything, close to the freeway and transit, there's traffic all the time now but at night it gets quieter. I don't see a lot of kids anymore on the street, most of them have probably grown up like my kids. The convenience store is still there, the owners have only changed one time since we moved in. That's about my story we're just trying to maintain.”

And after a day of community building, volunteers met at Stormbreaker Brewery, who poured discounted beer for the intrepid volunteers. With the help of local businesses, organizations, and volunteers, the ReBuilding Center and the African American Alliance for Homeownership were able to help build a more vibrant and just community through the Day of Service by helping stem displacement of long-term residents. We hope to continue this event in the years to come. If you would like to get involved or donate to next year’s Day of Service, every little bit helps, please contact volunteer@rebuildingcenter.org with the subject line “Day of Service” or donate online at www.rebuildingcenter.org/give-a-gift and earmark it for “Day of Service.” Thank you to everyone for your support!

SALVAGE SUPPERCLUB SERVES UP SUSTAINABLE FAIR ON SALVAGED LUMBER FROM RBC

The Salvage Supperclub came all the way from New York City last month and teamed up with the ReBuilding Center to host their first Portland food event. Talented chefs and innovative menus featured exciting dishes in a multi-course dining experience made completely of food and materials that were intercepted en route to landfills. Their creative process draws attention to the immense amount of food that needlessly goes to waste every day, and prompts a dialogue about the potential implementation of more sustainable food practices. The unique dumpster dining experience took place in a custom communal dining room made with salvaged materials donated by the ReBuilding Center. The founder and Creative Director of Salvage Supperclub, Josh Treuhaft, was kind enough to participate in an interview about the details of his events.

Where do the profits from your event go?

Salvage Supperclub is not an incorporated LLC, and at this point we are not officially a nonprofit either. We are a popup initiative. All of the additional costs associated with the event come from ticket sales, and all of the profits are donated to local nonprofits with similar missions. The profits from the Portland event were donated to the ReBuilding Center, Urban Gleaners, and Congregation Beth Israel - the synagogue who hosted the event.

How do you ensure you are repurposing food safely? 

None of our food actually comes from dumpsters, and nothing on our menu has been partially eaten and discarded. We don't use food that contains mold or other signs of contamination. We only use untampered with food that has been donated to us by farms, culinary schools, commercial kitchens, restaurants, community gardens, food coops, and places like that.  

Do you have recommendations for others on how to minimize food waste? 

Consider if the part of the vegetable you are about to throw away is actually garbage. Broccoli stalks, carrot greens, and many other things we often throw away, are actually edible and nutritious. You can extend the shelf life of food by storing it properly, and many foods can be preserved by storing them in oil or canning them. Ugly or bruised produce can be hidden in soups and stews. And the sell by date is just a guess by the manufacturer, not a safety requirement or certain date to discard by. Don't throw anything away just because it says it is past the sell by date.

Do you find it challenging to repurpose items typically discarded as waste?

I think starting with a blank paper can be more difficult than what we do. We have more constraints on what we are working with, which can make it easier since there is less to choose from. This can lead us to be even more creative. Having what we are working with  clearly defined is a major benefit, and a neat challenge. 

How do you think your mission correlates with the mission of the rebuilding center?

We help people rethink their relationship to materials in their lives, and decide what actually has life and value left in it rather than automatically throwing it away.

I think the work you guys do is just great. So much valuable material in the world that all-too-often gets overlooked for no good reason. We need more people doing this important work on that front. We are both looking for things that others overlook the value of, and reclaiming that value. We help people rethink their relationship to materials in their lives, and decide what actually has life and value left in it rather than automatically throwing it away. We both share creative repurposing ideas with others, inspiring them to creatively repurpose items in their own life as well. 

To sign up for Salvage Supperclub event invitations click the link below, or email salvagesupperclub@gmail.com for additional information:

For additional statics on food waste and practices in Oregon follow the link below:

 

 

 

Grant High School Renovates After Century, Materials Find Home at RBC

After opening nearly a century ago in 1924, Grant High School on NE 36th Avenue is being modernized. It is one of three Portland public high schools being renovated in a $480 million effort by the city to improve the schools and their surrounding communities. The modernization of Grant, which began just last month in June, is scheduled to be completed in September of 2019 after an approximate $116.1 million is spent to “completely reconfigure and update learning spaces with a focus on indoor environmental quality, sustainability and historic preservation,” according to to the city website.

Josh Stark, an employee of the Center and native Portlander says he is happy to see the city put money into developing the school and aiding the community. Josh remembers playing for Jefferson, his high school rivals, at tense and hard fought baseball games. With many memories of baseball and basketball games at the school, Josh is happy to see improvements made but wishes that more could be salvaged. Although the city passed a law requiring all houses built before 1916 to be deconstructed rather than demolished, the school, built before this year, doesn't have to follow this law. Many materials that could be salvaged and sold back to the community are being kept at the high school to be soon thrown into the landfill, making Josh wish the city would follow the same rules it requires of its citizens.

After getting approved to pick up items from Grant, the Rebuilding Center got to work last Monday, July 3rd. And after taking the Fourth of July holiday off, the workers went back in on Wednesday, to spend the rest of the week tearing down the old high school. Each day, six to twelve staffers and volunteers from the Rebuilding Center have been on the job, tirelessly working to strip and save as much material as possible from the 275,000-square-foot building, taking in to the store in two truckloads per day.

This job is different and far larger in scope from most of the jobs RBC completes. Usually the driving team arrives on site to pick up items that have been donated or hand-dismantled by our DeConstruction crews. For this site, many of the items had to be DeConstructed. RBC staff took apart many, many large doors off their hinges, and moved sets of three to five lockers down flights of stairs to get them onto the truck. This operation also requires more workers than usual, as employee Andrey explains that, “A DeConstruction typically has only two to three workers at a site, but since this one requires a larger team each day, it’s an adjustment for each of them figure out how to work in the bigger group.”

The workers have been finding lots of neat stuff tucked away in hidden corners of Grant, most of which will soon appear on the floor at the ReBuilding Center. Among their favorite items have been old cupboards and cabinets, really old lumber, and glass chandeliers, which for the most part were built in the early 20th century or before. Klara Kautz, an intern at the ReBuilding Center, said she has found some devices so old she can’t even figure out how they work. She’s also noticed the surplus of beautiful, opaque doors, and other materials that just need a little touching up or re-finishing before they look as good as new, like for instance the large, old chalkboards (selling for $75 a pop). After chatting with the Director of the Rebuilding Center, Stephen Reichard, the two came up with a creative idea that would use two drawers and another small piece of wood from the school to make a nightstand. Klara called this idea “simple, nice and clever,” and it’s just one example of how the many materials from Grant High school could be reused and repurposed and then put back into the community.

RBC Driver, Erik says the most exciting part is saving the materials from the landfill, and since up to 25% of materials from construction go to waste, the reuse work is “pretty amazing.” Although some may be sad to see the old Grant High School go, the opportunities that this project has opened up, both for the ReBuilding Center to salvage materials and the community to have an updated, modernized school, make the whole process a meaningful one for the entire city of Portland.

Ian Hale's Story: Repurposing Materials for Art, Sculpture, and Furniture

Ian Hale is a visionary local artist applying his talents in a wide range of art, sculpture, and furniture. He has been repurposing materials from the ReBuilding Center in his work since he moved to Portland 12 years ago, and was happy to repay his thanks by participating in the following interview with one of our volunteer newsletter journalists here at the newsletter. Ian Hale shares his passion for infusing life with a unique history and artistic flavor that comes from this active reuse, and showcases the satisfaction that comes from saving those distinctive pieces from being wasted. Through such innovative design, Hale has developed an extraordinarily inspiring creative process and outlook. 

What got you into making art?

I have been artistically inclined as long as I can remember. I’ve always felt compelled to make art; I can’t really explain the impulse behind it. My first artistic memory is a drawing I made when I was about five or six - a self portrait of me surfing in a bathtub. Something clicked and I got hooked.

How did you find out about the ReBuilding Center?

Not long after moving to Portland back in 2005 and attending The Oregon College of Art and Craft, the ReBuilding Center was referred to me as prime location to purchase wood.

Why do you use salvaged materials rather than new ones?

Salvaged materials have such a personality, I have made many sculptures where they inform the initial direction of a piece and everything else falls into place smoothly afterwards.
Split Dimension Shelf - conceptualizes multiple dimensions across time and space

Split Dimension Shelf - conceptualizes multiple dimensions across time and space

What other materials do you use?

In addition to wood, I love painting, working with metal and assorted mixed media. Integrating material successfully that seems incompatible is something that interests me greatly.

What does sustainability mean to you?

A balanced coexistence with our surrounding environment and the minimizing of waste and excess. This is unfortunately difficult to achieve given the many comforts and conveniences of modern civilization. I take some solace in the increased level of awareness; environmentalism isn’t some fringe concept anymore. I see the use of salvaged or reclaimed materials as a positive trend and a step in the right direction. We still have a long way to go.
Architectural Amoebic Reproduction - salvaged building materials meet cellular mitosis in this art installation made entirely of items found at the Rebuilding Center

Architectural Amoebic Reproduction - salvaged building materials meet cellular mitosis in this art installation made entirely of items found at the Rebuilding Center

Is your creative process an intuitive one? 

Yes, it is an intuitive process to some extent. I don’t resign myself to complete trust in intuition - it has certainly led me down the wrong path before. There is mediation between mind and body, a combination of spontaneous and impulsiveness with more reasoned, calculated decision making as well. I often start pieces with a purely intuitive approach and gradually use more discretion as it takes shape and progresses.

Do you find that limited access to desired materials assists in the process of thinking outside the box?

For my personal artistic practice I find self imposed restrictions from forcing myself to use certain material very helpful. It is overwhelming to create something with everything at your disposal.
Droid Drawers - built from a single 4'x8' piece of plywood, this piece serves as a reminder that resource restraints function as a primary source of inspiration in Ian Hale's creative process

Droid Drawers - built from a single 4'x8' piece of plywood, this piece serves as a reminder that resource restraints function as a primary source of inspiration in Ian Hale's creative process

Do you see practicality in art as helpful in transmitting a specific message?

Yes, but not always. I’m not sure if there is a visual art equivalent to that modernist architecture expression “form follows function.” I suppose looking at a building evokes a more universal response than an abstract painting. It is very difficult to cultivate a predetermined reaction to a piece of art. People will project such a wide range of things onto it - associations you can never expect. There is only so much one can do as an artist to guide them toward a specific concept. It is tempting to explain every piece as “open to interpretation,” but I think that’s a bit lazy. 
I think the average artist is honest about their goals and uniting the world might not seem the most realistic. I strongly feel that art can be a positive powerful force, but it also must be conscious of and humbled by its limitations.

 

Click the link for more inspirational artwork and words by Ian Hale!

ReFind Education Awarded the Association of Oregon Recyclers' Best Education Program

The ReBuilding Center’s ReFind Education Program and mission were honored in early June at the Association of Oregon Recyclers conference, "Sustainable Oregon." The Association of Oregon Recyclers supports recycling, composting, thoughtful consumption, and producer responsibility. Their conference featured educational sessions, local and national experts, tours and an awards program celebrating the achievements of Oregon’s recycling, reuse, and waste reduction.

AOR Award

The ReBuilding Center’s implementation of ReFind Education received the Best Education/Promotion Program award at this year's conference. ReFind Education emphasizes affordable classes that give adults and youth skills on how to safely and creatively work with used building materials. Classes have been selling out faster than expected. With over 1,000 adult students in the last year, the response has been incredible and the ReBuilding Center is scaling up to meet community demand. We have hired three new instructors, including a ReFind Education Shop Coordinator, Aaron Green, and plan to offer even more classes. ReFind also offers space to teach local youth STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) skills. Since August 2016, RBC has engaged over 2,000 Portland Public School seventh graders in "maker" experiences, challenging them to conceptualize, design, and build their own unique 3-stringed guitars from salvaged building materials.

In receiving the award, Stephen Reichard, Executive Director of the ReBuilding Center, noted that justice and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. The ReBuilding Center works to connect the two. In a nutshell, those most likely to be left out of the conversation regarding their needs and wants are encouraged to take part here. At the ReBuilding Center, the overarching goal cannot be mistaken for anything other than utter inclusivity and invitation to be a part of a growing movement in changing the nature of the way we relate to natural resources.

The Association of Oregon Recyclers’ award brings encouragement and recognition to the efforts of staff, volunteers, and supporting organizations and government, as well as customers donating and purchasing materials at the ReBuilding Center.

New ReStore opens in Gresham

Habitat for Humanity opened its fourth ReStore on June 15th in Gresham. According to Joe Connell, Portland Metro ReStore Manager, the 27,500-square-foot store is Habitat for Humanity's largest store west of Denver and north of San Francisco.

According to Steve Massinetti, Portland Metro Habitat Executive Director, the opening of the new store will allow Habitat for Humanity to deepen its commitment to East County. “We will build 14 houses in the coming year right here in Gresham as a result of this new store.”

Located on NE 181st, the new ReStore occupies a box store that has not been occupied in more than ten years. “We are hopeful that the new store will help stimulate the local economy in a sustainable way,” said Joe Connell.

In an effort to add some sustainable character to an otherwise uninteresting box store, the ReBuilding Center donated 350 8 foot 2”x4”s to the project, which were built into beautiful walls that now adorn the space. The ReBuilding Center congratulates ReStore on its newest home in Gresham and continuing to promote a culture of reuse! 

ReBuilding Center Road at Alberta Last Thursdays

The Last Thursdays on Alberta is a community event in its 19th season. In the summer months, the street is closed from 15th to 30th Avenue with the festivities taking place 6-9pm. Artists, musicians, and performers line the street for what has become the largest art event in Portland.

This year, we are premiering "ReBuilding Center Road," a reuse theme park built with building help from the Oregon Tradeswomen, Portland Youth Builders, and Portland State University students. Join in on the family-friendly fun with activities like a reuse relay race, larger-than-life Lincoln logs, and the "Can you donate it?" wheel of fortune; win prizes, take a mini DIY class, or take a tour of a tiny house with Village Coalition, a network of advocates, activists, and houseless villages and individuals committed to combating homelessness. Complete three activities for a coupon for a free slice of Mississippi Pizza.

Plus, check out a custom-designed giant hammer bench designed by Jesse Felling of Felling Furniture Studio. Felling speaks about his experience making furniture, “The furniture that I make is as much about execution as it is about inspiration, and it is all about showcasing the beauty of the wood.”

The theme park at ReBuilding Center Road will be interactive! Bring your enthusiasm and talent for reuse to our volunteers and helpers! ReBuilding Center Road at Last Thursdays on Alberta is happening throughout the summer months:

ReBuilding Center Road at Alberta Last Thursday
June 29th, July 27th, and August 31st
6-9pm
Alberta & 28th

This is a free community event, so everyone come out to discover and celebrate our vibrant reuse community!

Good in the Hood Multicultural Music, Art and Food Festival

Image courtesy of Good in the Hood.

Image courtesy of Good in the Hood.

Local non-profit Good in the Hood is hosting the largest multicultural festival in the Pacific Northwest June 23-25 at Lillis Albina Park! With a focus on community building and multicultural engagement, the event will allow Portland residents to connect with each other through food and music, inspiring unity throughout the community. A parade kicks off the event on June 23rd, beginning at 11am at King Elementary School and traveling down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Keep an eye out for us! The ReBuilding Center will have a float in the parade rolling to the musical accompaniment of Ural Thomas! 

If that isn’t exciting enough, the Native American Marketplace and Salmon Bake will be taking place right here at the ReBuilding Center on Saturday, June 24th from 11am-7pm! As part of the Good in the Hood Multicultural Festival, you can enjoy the exquisite items on display from local Native American artists, jewelers and craftspeople while indulging in some baked salmon! 

Image courtesy of Good in the Hood.

Image courtesy of Good in the Hood.

The ReBuilding Center stands in support of the Good in the Hood Multicultural Music, Arts and Food Festival in light of recent threats targeting the event. We believe that our community is relentless and strong-willed in the face of discrimination and that this festival is evidence of our commitment to breaking down cultural and racial barriers.

June 2017 Volunteer Opportunities

Join the ReBuilding Center in the second annual Day of Service, meet other Portlanders and enjoy a discounted happy hour during our Building Community Through Reuse social night, help build a ReBuilding Center theme park for the Alberta Last Thursday, or prep for ReFind Adult Education classes! 


Day of Service

SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH

Every year the ReBuilding Center joins with the African American Alliance for Homeownership to bring the community an annual Day of Service, offering minor repairs to neighborhood homeowners. These services are provided to our neighbors who are at risk of being displaced from their homes due to their need for repairs. In 2016, volunteers proudly completed 10 projects on 5 different properties, tackling a wide range of issues:

  • Removal and repair of rotting stairs
  • Demo and re-pouring of concrete stairs
  • Cleaning up overgrown yards
  • Installation of handrails
  • Mending fence boards
  • Sink installation
  • Door hanging
  • Painting houses

This year the ReBuilding Center plans to take on similar projects with double the number of homes! This is an excellent opportunity for volunteers who would like to learn DIY skills or those with prior building experience who would like to apply their expertise to a greater cause. If you are interested in joining our team to build a healthier more vibrant community please pre-register now to be placed on our list to receive further information, pick preferred projects as they become available, and be considered for a position as one of our Crew Leaders.

To sign up, fill out this form >


LEND A HAND AT OUR MONTHLY DE-NAILING PARTY AND RECEIVE 25% OFF AT STORMBREAKER BREWING

SECOND THURSDAY of every month
6PM - 8PM

The ReBuilding Center invites you to join us for an evening of socializing and de-nailing on the second Thursday of each month from 6pm to 8pm. No need to be registered as one of our existing volunteers, this monthly event is open to the public. Get some rewarding hands-on experience while keeping usable building materials from making their way into landfills and waste streams. Meet and socialize with like-minded individuals! If you are looking for a great way to expand your friend base here in the Portland community then this monthly mixer is for you! After the de-nailing has concluded, regroup with your fellow volunteers accross the street at Stormbreaker Brewing and enjoy an additional 25% off for your contribution. 

To sign up, please RSVP with David Lowe, our Volunteer Services Manager:
dave@rebuildingcenter.org


BUILD A THEME PARK WITH THE REBUILDING CENTER FOR LAST THURSDAYS ON ALBERTA

MONDAYS, TUESDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, AND FRIDAYS
10AM TO 4PM
JUNE 5TH - JUNE 26TH

Work with us to build “ReBuilding Center Road,” a 90’ x 10’ attraction that will highlight salvaged building materials in fun and creative ways during the Alberta Street Last Thursday (June-August). Help repair our trade show booths and help make them mobile/transportable, plus brainstorm building projects that will enhance the Last-Thursday-goers' experience.

We need volunteers to help create structures, games, and other interactive activities with used building materials. Some carpentry know-how is helpful, but not required. We will supply all needed tools, materials, safety equipment, and guidance.

If you would like to get your hands on this incredible opportunity, email ashley@rebuildingcenter.org with the subject line "ReBuilding Center Road." Please tell a little about your building, repair and design experience, as well as why you are interested in joining our team. 


HELP US PREPARE FOR YOUTH AND ADULT CLASSES IN OUR REFIND EDUCATION SHOP

EVERY MONDAY & FRIDAY AT 12:00pm

The ReBuilding Center is looking for help in our Refind Education shop getting tools and material ready in preparation for upcoming youth and adult classes. 

To sign up, email the ReFind Education Coordinator, Aaron Green at:  aaron@rebuildingcenter.org


For more information on any of the volunteer opportunities listed above or to check out other ways you can help build community through reuse follow these links:

EXISTING VOLUNTEERS

NEW VOLUNTEERS

Building a bird feeder

by Stephen Reichard, Director, ReBuilding Center

Can I make a confession? I’m not very good at this stuff.  I don’t mean serving as director of the ReBuilding Center (although the jury may still be out on that one). I’m referring to the whole reuse/rebuild/construction/deconstruction thing. The truth is, my background is healthcare and the reality is that I hang Dixie cup dispensers upside down. Honestly I did; although in fairness to me, you could still use it, albeit somewhat awkwardly.

But last summer, I took the first DIY class offered by the newly re-opened ReFind Education Shop. And I built the first piece of furniture I’ve ever built that sat squarely on the ground and didn’t wobble. It sits on my deck and I use it to hold my drink and an ashtray for a Friday evening cigar after a long week at the ReBuilding Center. I love it. The other pieces of furniture I’ve made? A desk, a bookshelf, and shelving for my garage. Recycled. Not even repurposed.

So, I’ve been holding on to this cute wooden flower vase/box that was gifted to us last year by friends we had over for dinner. The flower died (they always do… at our house anyway). But I couldn’t bear to toss it. So I held on to it. And then a few weeks ago, I figured out what to do with it.

unnamed (2).jpg

Do you remember those nice queen bed frames we were selling last fall for $175? I purchased one to replace our lousy IKEA bed frame. Anyway, I kept all of the pine supports for the mattress. I had planned to take them down to the ReBuilding Center but then I got to thinking: it would be nice to have some birds keep me company while I’m enjoying my evening cigars. And I put two and two together and here’s what I came up with. 

I turned four of the IKEA supports into stakes by cutting the bottoms at 45 degree angles. And then I screwed them into the corners of the box. Now I just need to paint it!

Teacher helps students open door to Portland’s past

The eighth-grade students of Beaumont Middle School embarked on a project to discover the forgotten history of Portland’s mysterious Vanport chapter. Vanport, a city within city, was created to house workers for the growing need for shipbuilding during World War II and was destroyed by a tragic flood in 1948. Vanport was considered the second largest city in Oregon, and today the area is occupied by the international raceway and several soccer and softball fields. In the 1940s, it was home to many African Americans who had followed the great migration West to build new lives. Despite common practices of discrimination in Portland proper and tension within Vanport, some 20,000 residents (of whom about 6,000 were African American) thrived in integrated schools and community centers prior to the tragic flood.

The Beaumont students were excited to create an art project that revealed this forgotten chapter, and some even discovered they have family ties to former Vanport residents.

The students of Kirsten Parrott's 8th grade class were given a grant two years ago by Concordia University, and they decided to create something different than just poster art. For their event at Beaumont School, they decorated doors that were donated by the ReBuilding Center. The doors displayed the history of Vanport, some with text and writing and drawings. The Portland Expo Center thought the doors would make a great exhibit and paired the students with The Vanport Mosaic Initiative to create the event that honored Vanport’s past. The event was held on May 25th before Memorial Day Weekend. Kirsten Parrott described the event, “[It’s a] representation of students opening the door to the history of their community. A way to integrate history and incorporate their own creative touches and work in a team.” Over 100 people attended the event, including Terri Johnson, who lives where the Vanport flood once was with artifacts she has found in her yard on display. There were 18 doors that were part of the installation, made by 52 students, and 28 students attended the event held on May 26th at the Portland Expo Center. Four students spoke about what they had learned and the experience of creating these doors to history.

The ReBuilding Center is proud to have been able to support this event by donating doors for the exhibit. Kirsten Parrott says, "We really appreciate the generosity and quick turnaround. It was easy to pick them up and staff were very helpful." The ReBuilding Center is all about reuse, and inspiring strong community. These 8th-graders are surely an inspiration to the future of our city!

Historic Black Williams Avenue Project

by E. Hill

North Williams and Russell, 1962

North Williams and Russell, 1962

It is now very well known that North Williams Avenue is changing significantly. And quickly. What many now living, working, and entertaining themselves in the area don’t know is that for the majority of the 20th century, N. Williams/Albina was Portland’s largest African American community.

Though forced into the area by government-supported discriminatory and race-based land ownership and financing regulations, the Black community of Portland went from a few thousand pre-1940 to more than 20,000+ in less than seven years. Those changes, the important history of surviving Jim Crow Oregon, establishing a strong community despite those significant barriers, and thriving against disinvestment and regional socio-economic limitations are now part of an effort driven by the Historic Black Williams Project. The ReBuilding Center’s previous Community Outreach Manager, Linda Hunter, started the work with them providing services and support for the project and Edward continued through the end of 2016 helping them establish their 501c3 status.

Historic Black Williams Project

This multimedia arts project is now culminating in the installation of colorful and historical sidewalk tiles along North Williams Avenue, once the vibrant heart of Portland’s Black community known as the “Black Broadway,” which served as the primary corridor for business and cultural activities for the Black community between 1940 and the early 1990s.

In 2011, a 26-member community-based Stakeholder Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council, accepted the charge to address safety and traffic concerns on Williams between Broadway and Killingsworth and made recommendations to PBOT. The group agreed to make decisions with a contextual understanding of the safety issues on Williams Avenue while also acknowledging the damaging planning processes of the past and those who have been hurt or damaged by those planning processes, specifically focusing on the historically displaced Black community.

Black History of Williams Avenue

The Black Williams Project was a direct result of that work, and was moved forward to begin to reconcile the wrongs. To lead this effort, they chose a dynamic African-American couple to direct and design the project. Kayin Talton Davis and Cleo Davis, both native Portlanders, brought a combined background of architecture, industrial design, materials science, mechanical engineering, graphic design, fine art, and a deep connected love of the Black community of Northeast Portland. Kayin and Cleo are bringing this fading history into public view through this cultural and historical multimedia public art project. The art project is funded by PBOT and administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council with a $100,000 grant from the $1.5-million-dollar Williams Safety Project—a street redesign project that was supposed to cost $370,000 dollars and ended up stretching past schedule to 18 months at a cost $1.4 million for street improvements.

As part of their process, they also sought and received assistance from the ReBuilding Center’s Community Outreach Program, under the leadership of now-retired Linda Hunter. The overall goal of the project was to gather and collect visual images and personal stories about the quickly evaporating history of Williams Avenue and the broader Black community of NE. “Many of the landmarks are no longer around and our friends’ families no longer live in the area,” says Cleo Davis. “We grew up with stories about the Maxey’s and the old crew on Gantenbein, going to Hank’s Dairy on Williams and Fremont, and attending Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church on Ivy and Rodney.” It is this history that will now being creatively integrated into public walkways and streetscapes along the Avenue.

The couple recently previewed their work at a May 20th Black community event held at the Billy Webb Elks Lodge. The Historic Black Williams Project is holding its first public viewing on Saturday, June 3rd as part of the Art Unveiling + Community Walk from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM at Dawson Park located at N. Williams Ave. and N. Stanton St.

PBOT’s Public Involvement Coordinator and supporter Irene Schwoeffermann stated, “These events are a cultural and historical ‘homecoming’ for both longstanding and displaced community members.” To learn more about the project directly, contact PBOT at: historicblackwilliamsproject@portlandoregon.gov or by telephone at (503) 823-4239.

This is RSVP LINK: RSVP + Community Survey

FACEBOOK LINK: Facebook Event

 

Education & Inspiration at the 25th Annual WOMEN IN TRADES CAREER FAIR

building-a-planter-box

On Friday, May 19th, over 1,000 middle- and high-school-aged girls from around Oregon and Washington participated in Oregon Tradeswomen's 25th annual Women in Trades Career Fair - School Day. By 7:30am that morning, the place was already buzzing with excitement and the students hadn't even arrived yet. The fair brought together professional tradeswomen from every trade you could think of.  There were fire engines and ladder trucks to climb, giant logs to chainsaw, bucket trucks to ride in, tiny houses to build, water mains to repair, lights to wire and so many more awesome activities to engage this gigantic curious group. 

two-girls-with-drill

This year, the ReBuilding Center presented a workshop led by the ReBuilding Center’s own head cashier, Ella Rose, Salvage Specialist, Mayela, and DeConstructionist, Becca. Tables full of brave, bright, and inquisitive girls were led though the construction of mini-planter boxes which they were able to take home. Students learned all about what the ReBuilding Center does, and of course what it means to be a "DeConstructionist". The most incredible moments came when the girls' faces lit up with the confidence of a newly gained skill, and the proud smile that comes with the completion of a project.

Girls working together, encouraging one another, and having a blast using power tools was so much fun, even a couple of teachers jumped into the mix and used these tools for the first time as well. All in all, the day was a total success. There were hardly any supplies left over after a nearly-constant stream of girls walked away with their newly built planter boxes. It was an incredible display of women empowering other women and girls. Watch for this event again next year. 

Modernizing the ReBuilding Center

Mike Alfoni joins the ReBuilding Center team this month from, of all places, the Board of Directors. Mike brings a wealth of experience from managing political campaigns to makerspaces, to consulting for both for- and non-profits on data and technology. Mike comes to us as a result of a three-year grant we received from the Murdock Charitable Trust to make the market for salvaged materials a part of everyday life.

Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves.
— Murdock Charitable Trust

Over the next three years, Mike will help RBC develop and implement new point of sale and inventory systems that will allow us to know exactly what is in the store at all times and to make it available online. This represents a major modernization of the salvage industry and we are excited to be a part of it.

Over the coming years, you will see new technologies and systems coming into place here. You’ll eventually be able to view our inventory online from home or with one of our staff in the warehouse who will be able to point you to the exact door, chandelier, or lumber you’re looking for. You’ll also see improvements to how materials are organized in the building itself.

As we go through this process, your opinion matters. Do you have things that you would like to see here in terms of how things are organized, how you might interact with salvaged materials online, or in terms of finding and buying things at the Rebuilding Center? Please let us know!