Learn how to cob & build community April 8th & 9th!

You’ve probably seen the intriguing, organic, red bay at the main entrance of the ReBuilding Center that that we call the "Community Trees.”  You may have asked yourself how were these walls and “trees” were built?  The answer is cob, a traditional building technique using earth mixed with water, straw, and sand.  The Community Trees are in desperate need of repair and we need your help to fix them! Learn valuable skills on how to mix, build, repair, and plaster with cob while building community!

The ReBuilding Center is sponsoring a two-day workshop to learn about making and using cob to repair the Community Trees. 

Saturday, April 8th & Sunday, April 9th
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. all day drop-in
1 hour lunch at noon

All are welcome! This cob workshop is intended to be accessible for all from children to elders. This is a family friendly event! 

Drop-ins welcomed within these times:

Saturday, April 8th 

10am - Opening Circle
10am to Noon - "Classroom" Conversation
12pm to 1pm - Lunch
1pm to 4pm - Mixing Structural Cob, Mixing Plaster Cob, Cob Application
4pm to 5pm - Clean Up, Closing Circle

Sunday, April 9th

10am - Opening Circle
10am to Noon - Cob & Plaster Application
12om to 1pm - Lunch
1pm to 4pm - Cob & Plaster Application
4pm to 5pm - Wrap Up, Clean Up, and Closing Circle

Instructors will discuss the a history of the practice and its resilience to earthquakes.

Instructors:

Seed was born in Duwamish Coast Salish territory, Seattle, and grew up in Multnomah Chinook territory, Portland. He has traveled around Turtle Island trading work for skills like cob building, gardening, and ecological restoration, with a focus of supporting indigenous sovereignty projects—a core foundation of ecology in every region. He teaches and works with cob as a material for building sound structures, community, and metaphors for his own and our collective volition. Learning and growing through leading workshops past, including the Village Building Convergence, Seed hopes to facilitate a conversation of resilience skills, applied practice, and collective Spirit. Aho!

Sharky is a free-spirit, born and raised playing in the mud of Kalapuya territory aka Eugene, OR.  For the past 5 years, Sharky has traveled across Turtle Island studying off-grid living, natural building, farming, and passive solar construction. After building with different styles including earthships, earthbag construction, and cob, Sharky prefers cobbing because it is free-form, soul-soothing, accessible and fun for everyone.  Sharky hopes to empower others to create autonomous buildings and community that, with a little TLC, will last a millennia.  

The Community Trees all dressed up for an episode of Grimm

The Community Trees all dressed up for an episode of Grimm

Kenton Neighborhood Approves Proposal for Tiny House Village for Houseless Women

On Wednesday night, a vote by the Kenton neighborhood approved a tiny house village for 14 houseless women with a landslide vote of 178 to 75 in favor of this innovative solution. At the vote, City Commisioner, Chloe Eudaly, weighed in, “No neighborhood is going to be exempt from this conversation," Eudaly said. "This is a problem for all of us to solve. We're not talking about importing people to Kenton. We're talking about housing your houseless neighbors." 

The ReBuilding Center has been reporting on this story, to learn more read The Oregonians article Tiny house village for homeless women approved by Kenton neighborhood >

“The newest idea in housing homeless people earned the first round of approval Wednesday night with a vote by the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland.

The neighborhood residents voted 178 to 75 in favor of a village of 14 tiny houses for homeless women.

Key city officials back the pilot project to form a community with shared restrooms, common space and a garden at a site off North Argyle Street, near Kenton Park. Charlie Hales kicked off the idea during his term as mayor and now Mayor Ted Wheeler is championing it as a better alternative to people sleeping on the streets or in tent villages.”
— Molly Harbarger, The Oregonian

The tiny homes were built by students from Portland State University's Center for Public Interest Design and the Village Coalition, a houseless advocacy nonprofit (that RBC helps support) using space and materials provided by the ReBuilding Center.

Before being moved to the Kenton neighborhood, the tiny homes are being stored at the ReBuilding Center's temporary lot. You can spot the ReBuilding Center’s head cashier, Ella Rose, beaming smile up on a billboard behind Ted Wheeler in the video below.

Drink and Craft at Portland's DIY Bar

DIY Bar is a gathering place in Portland, Oregon to get your craft on. On their website they say, "we're bringing people together to work on individual projects from our craft menu. Think of it as a Pinterest workshop where you get to sip on your favorite wine, beer, or cider. We've done the work for you to find the projects, gather the tools, and the materials needed to make beautiful and functional crafts." 

DIY Bar wrote about the ReBuilding Center in this blog post

We are excited to say the wood used for the frame of our bar, and our utility sink, are from the ReBuilding Center on Mississippi. The ReBuilding Center is filled with materials to get you through home, commercial, or recreational projects. A lot of these materials would have otherwise been recycled or landfilled, so it’s awesome to see them get a better use. They also have a deconstruction team, so if you need a house demolished you know who to call. Say goodbye to those pesky neighbors!

We asked DIY Bar a few questions about their mission, DIY culture, and reuse! See their responses below:

What is DIY Bar?

DIY Bar is a place for crafty and not so crafty people. It's part crafting studio, part bar. We supply the tools, materials, and tutorials for folks to sit down and complete a project from our project menu. It's similar to a paint and sip place, but we offer any of our projects at all times. The projects are self-guided with tutorials, and our craft-tenders are around if anyone needs assistance.

Who's it for?

We welcome everyone, but we're geared towards adults. As adults, it's easy for us to lose track of our creative and playful sides. We want to bring that back in those who have lost it, and continue to fuel it for those who still have it.

Why did you choose the ReBuilding Center for materials?

We share similar values as RBC. We grew up in the waste industry and worked in it before starting DIY Bar. We are familiar with how much waste is generated and the importance of using reclaimed materials. RBC is our go-to for reclaimed building materials. We're happy to say the heart of our bar (the bar) is made with materials from RBC.

How did RBC and DIY Bar get connected?

We familiarized ourselves with RBC by being involved with the waste industry. And now that we're neighbors it's even better (and dangerous because there's so many good things in there).

What is it about DIY culture that interests you?

We want to share the experience and feeling you get after completing a project. For us it's a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. You can look back at your project and know you made or built it with your hands. You've put your own creative twist on it. You made that thing!

What are some of the projects you're most excited to lead?

As mentioned above, we'll have craft-tenders to help support folks with their projects, instead of leading individual projects at a time.

What types of projects will you be hosting?

We have about 20 different projects on our craft menu. They range from leather projects (clutch purse, wallet, passport holder), to light wood working (6-pack carrier, drop catch bottle opener) to home goods (magnetic shelf, cat scratcher) to jewelry (hex nut bracelet, beaded wrap bracelet, tree of life necklace) to a variety of other projects (nail and string art). They're projects with a purpose!

What kinds of materials will be used?

We have a lot of different types of materials! We'll be using wood, string, nails, paint, magnets, leather, feathers, beads, chains, etc.

DIY Bar plans to launch in the Spring

and will be located at:

3522 NORTH VANCOUVER AVENUE,
PORTLAND, OR, 97227

Jami and Kourosh Remodel

This summer Jami and Kourosh Poumad completed a 4,300-square-foot home restoration using as many recycled materials as they could.    They wrote and complimented the staff of the ReBuilding Center for helping them select the following, all of which were used in the remodel.


Kitchen Cabinets
Corian kitchen counter and sink
24 exterior windows
3 entry doors
11 interior door knobs
4 bathroom showers, sinks and hardware
9 Cast iron radiators
Stair railing

21 indoor light fixtures
Dishwasher
Stove
Fridge
Microwave
All deck straps
20 bags of insulation

BEFORE  

BEFORE

 

AFTER

AFTER

Jami and Kourosh kindly responded to questions we had that explained in detail their experience and reasons for using recycled materials from the ReBuilding Center:

Is this the first time you have used recycled items in your home?

  
This is not the first time. Whenever we have a repair or change at home the ReBuilding Center/recycled materials are our first choice.

 

For items that had to be “built-in," like the kitchen cabinets and countertops, the 24 exterior windows, and the stair railing, did you have any problem getting them to fit? Or did you have to modify them in some way?  

Yes. The windows all had to be re–framed and one of the kitchen cabinets was converted to a sink module since the "set" didn’t include it.  We also installed a kick plate at the base.  The Corian counter was too long and had to be cut at one end. The stair railing had to be re-drilled and the old holes had to be filled in with wood putty, then re-stained.  (The metal rails were new, not recycled)

Why do you use recycled materials?

Lower cost and we like to bring products and materials “back to life.”

Have you used sources other than the ReBuilding Center to obtain/purchase items?

Yes—Habitat for Humanity in Portland, Cedar Hills and Forest Grove; Goodwill; and Craigslist.

Do you have a philosophy that supports your use of recycled building materials?

Considering a great deal of effort and expertise goes into manufacturing a walnut door or a leaded glass window, it’s a shame to send a craftperson’s work to a landfill.  We find that often a recycled item is just as good as or better than new [materials] and is less expensive.  Those savings are passed onto our family and employees, it puts a whole new spin on recycling!

What other things have you purchased from the ReBuilding Center? 

1 heavy duty outdoor door and 1 French door for our business
We re-purposed an alabaster hanging bell lamp to a soft table lamp
We installed 3 – 6’x1’ windows in our daylight studio
Insulation for the studio
16 cast iron radiators for our home
Roofing material for our home
A double stove for our home

Of all your purchases of recycled items, which do you like the most?
We like the windows used on the front deck in place of iron balusters.  It saved us a lot of money in place of using many balusters.  And it gives the home a charming artistic flair without being over the top.  

UNIQUE UPCYCLED CABINET DOORS

 

Found on Pinterest, here are some fun craft opportunities utilizing old cabinet doors, which ReBuilding Center has plenty of!  Not “recycled,” but “upcycled” into a southern style work of art, these serving trays are perfect for any style home décor.  The one shown above was created by Kim from Savvy Southern Style and included on the Cottage Market Blog.

Here’s another cabinet door upcycled into a useful tray from Randi of Dukes & Duchesses. Follow her how-to here >

And another! Inspired now? This one is from Addicted 2 Decorating. Follow Kristi's informational how-to here >

 The ReBuilding Center is a good source for these and many other objects that can be upcycled into unique uses. Get your creative reuse on and tag us in your next project @rebuildingcenter!

 

High School Students Power Tiny Homes for the Houseless

High school students from Catlin Gabel are powering tiny homes for the houseless with a project they call “The Juice Box Project!” Check out this 3-minute video and hear from the residents about how this system is helping them get back on their feet!

An innovative solution to off-the-grid communities like Hazelnut Grove, these eco-friendly boxes provide solar powered energy to juice light and electricity, which “allows residents to become more independent, productive and engaged in their communities!” Help The Juice Box Project win this year’s Lexus Eco Challenge by sharing this post! The ReBuilding Center is a proud partner in this initiative.

What Is Juice Box?

Juice Box is an efficient and sustainable way to provide electricity for off-the-grid, portable pods for previously homeless people.

  • The shelter "pods" are equipped with 100W solar panels that deliver power to the Juice Box, mounted inside. 
  • The power of the sun is harnessed to charge an 18 AH 12V battery. Batteries are recycled from FIRST Robotics teams.
  • This power can then be used to power devices that plug into a wall outlet  (120V AC, 300W max) or 12V DC automotive accessory socket.
  • The battery also powers a bright LED light bar mounted on the front of the Juice Box, perfect for illuminating rooms at night, and extending the day of the user.

Come and get your junk fixed at the Next Repair Cafe

repair-cafe-flyer

Repair PDX was formed in March 2013 to bring repair events to Portland residents. Inspired by the Netherlands Repair Cafés, a group of dedicated volunteers have held Portland Repair Cafés about once a month since May 2013.  The typical Repair Cafés are festive events where you can often get a bite to eat and a drink while meeting others from your community who are also interested in repair. Volunteer experts are on hand to fix items and to teach you how to fix your own items.  

Each repair café event is unique, based on the venue and the volunteers present. The types of items that can be repaired depend on the skills of available volunteers.  That’s right, repairs are carried out by “volunteer fixers!”  Note: you can become a volunteer fixer to work at other Repair Café events – just email repairpdx@gmail.com with your contact information and what you’d like to do.  Join us for a Repair PDX event at the ReBuilding Center!

Repair PDX Event
May 23rd
6:00–8:00 pm.
ReBuilding Center

Bring your garments for mending, bikes and small appliances for repair.

Bring your garments for mending, bikes and small appliances for repair.

Upcoming Classes at the ReBuilding Center

The ReBuilding Center is celebrating their six-month anniversary of hands-on DIY classes for adults in our ReFind shop! Over two dozen scholarships have become available because of donations. We are excited to see so many hearts and hands involved in making this program grow. Thank you!

Cutting Boards and Butcher Blocks

Saturday & Sunday, March 25 - 26
1:00-5:00 p.m. | $125
Learn to cut, glue, and finish, plus alternative clamping methods.

Intro to Carpentry Tools

Saturday, April 1
1:00-5:00 p.m. | $90
A hands-on tour-de-tools to unlock your wildest DIY Pinterest dreams.

Custom Picture Frames

Saturday, April 29
1:00-4:00 p.m. | $50
Miter saws and nail guns - what's not to love? Just in time for Mother's Day, too!

ANNOUNCING A NEW COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROJECT: MUDBONE GROWN

PORTLAND, OR. (February 3, 2017) — Local start-up MudBone Grown, LLC (MBG) and its partner programs GroundUp Organics, Green A&T have launched a culturally/ethnically-specific urban food systems project at the Oregon Food Bank’s 33rd Ave. Farm. MudBone owners Shantae Johnson and Arthur Shavers are NE Portland natives that made the leap to small farm agriculture early last year.

“We are very excited about our collaboration with Christine Hadekel Outreach Manager with Oregon Food Bank for the opportunity to launch our social enterprise-based start-up farm”, said Johnson, (founder, certified community health worker, doula, and now urban farmer).  Arthur, (co-founder, construction “jack-of-all-trades”and professional leathersmith) and I have been dreaming about this for years and we were not sure how things were going to turn out after we left the BUFA (Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship) program last summer.”

“This is a game changer,” says Shavers. “This assistance saves us more than $10,000 of start-up costs that usually keep many people interested in this kind of work, from being able to launch their dream of farming .

With the help from ReBuilding Center’s Community Outreach manager Edward Hill, who happens to have a background in urban farming, Shantae and Arthur in less than 60 days, were able to  finish writing a business plan, establish land agreements, and create a farm plan that supported a formal partnership with the Oregon Food Bank on nearly an acre of fully equipped land in NE Portland.

“We are so excited to have Edward and ReBuilding Center on board, their assistance has been instrumental in getting us past many of the barriers we were experiencing to getting an actual farm site in the City and large enough to create sustainable cooperative revenue.”

Additionally, education contracts with Black Parents Initiative (BPI), purchasing agreement with KAIROS School and local Food Prescription programs, and watershed enhancement funding, MudBone Grown is leading an environmental and community economic stewardship coalition that is modeled on national programs like Growing Power in Milwaukee, WI and Detroit Black Farmers in Michigan.

“Farmers, by nature, are innovative problem solvers,” said Shavers, who will lead the crop planning for the team. “We can be most effective by working toward solutions in a collaborative manner with other community groups who have been trying to leverage for a position regionally.”

MudBone Grown, formed as a LLC, focusing on promoting inter-generational community-rooted farming methods that create “measurable and sustainable environmental, social, cultural, and economic improvements.” MudBone will also be providing STEM/STEAM-based education, workshops, and outreach through things like on-farm demonstrations, hands-on engagement with local schools, and adult jobs training services for both interested small farmers and the general public.

Johnson is thrilled at the pace of success this year already; “Our community partners recognize that local agriculture is critical to healthy lives and a strong economy for communities that have historically had marginal participation in the local food economy.”

Donation Strengthens ReFind Education & Class Offerings

Dawn St. Clair, Rick Pogue and Stan Pulliam with Heffernan Insurance dropped by the ReBuilding Center last week to present the ReBuilding Center with a check for $3,000 to support ReBuilding Center’s ReFind Education Program, which provides hands-on educational classes for adults and kids on how to safely and creatively work with used building materials.

This important donation will help support our ReFind Education program by supplying our shop with much needed equipment such as chop saws, nail guns, band saws and other various hand tools which will strengthen our capacity to bring hands-on learning opportunities to 7th graders and basic carpentry and DIY classes to adults!

“The support couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Dave Lowe, Volunteer Services Manager, “we need new equipment and replacement parts and are so grateful for Heffernan’s support!” ReFind Education offers a three-day class entitled “Three Stringed Theory,” through Portland Public Schools’ 7th Grade Maker Experience. Students from Beverly Cleary Middle School were building three string guitars when Heffernan’s associates came to present their check. 

Thank you, Heffernan!

Intern at the ReBuilding Center!

Expand and learn new skills while working with a creative nonprofit team striving to build community through reuse! View our list of internship opportunities below. If you are interested in any of the current offerings, please email communications@rebuildingcenter.org or fill out an application online: 


Media Content Creator Internship

 Are you a Facebook maven? An Instagram junkie? Do you like taking photos and writing? Do you enjoy unearthing hidden stories then sharing them via social media? If you’ve answered “yes!” to all, then you might be an ideal candidate for the Media Content Creator internship. If you’re committed to social change and using cool content to make that happen, apply now. 

If you are interested in this internship, please email communications@rebuildingcenter.org and fill out an application online.


Community Outreach Internship

At the ReBuilding Center, community is at the heart of our mission, and the Community Outreach internship is perfect for someone who wants to roll up their sleeves and dive into helping forge, develop and manage community resources. If you like to write, create plans and be around people and organizations that are in sync with the ReBuilding Center’s mission to use existing resources in new and inspiring ways, apply now. 

If you are interested in this internship, please fill out an application online.


Digital Media Marketing Analyst

Do you believe in the power of numbers? Are you a self-described data geek? More importantly - do you believe that numbers can help tell the bigger social media story? If this rings your career path bell, then you might be our next Digital Media Marketing Analyst intern. Use your talents with stats to help the ReBuilding Center further their mission rooted in community, recycling and reuse. Apply now. 

If you are interested in this internship, please email communications@rebuildingcenter.org and fill out an application online.


Court Liaison Internship

2005 (2).jpg

If you’re pondering a career in law, criminal justice or social work, the Court Liaison internship is a golden opportunity to gain exposure to criminal and restorative justice efforts. Learn how the ReBuilding Center works with organizations to further our community building mission by creating positive change via those fulfilling court-mandated volunteer work. This is meaningful, important and rewarding work — and if you want to connect with our justice system in a very real and hands-on way, apply now. 

If you are interested in this internship, please email dave@rebuildingcenter.org and fill out an application online.

Aaron Green, Woodworker: Making Old Things New Again

Aaron Green’s woodworking business is called “The Regrainery,” which references the craft of finding elegance in aged and used woods. The Regrainery breathes new life and purpose into these aged materials through creative design and inspired innovation.  Aaron finds the used lumber at salvage stores like the ReBuilding Center. He notes what the wood was once used for: flooring from a torn down house, siding from an old barn, rafter beams from the early 1900’s, etc.  He then planes and shapes the wood to fit into new designs he has created for furniture, shelving, and even jewelry.  These newly crafted products are then sold to local customers, on view at street festivals, and at trade shows. One can see the symbiotic relationship between craft persons like Aaron and the resources of the ReBuilding Center. We sat down to chat with Aaron about his practice, thoughts on sustainability, and revealing the hidden beauty in reclaimed materials. See the interview below.

How did you come up with the title of your business: The Regrainery?

The name “The Regrainery” didn’t come to me right away but was the product of several weeks of brainstorming with my wife and friends. I wanted a name that could represent my business goals, that would reveal what we were about as a business without being a dead give-away, and that had an appealing ring to it. I settled on The Regrainery because I felt it implied a sense of industriousness, it held the prefix “re” (which would allude to our sustainability and creative-reuse values), and because it sounded compelling.

Why do you use old, recycled materials in the products you create? Sustainability? Aesthetics? Cost?

I use old, recycled materials for a few reasons. First, I love how reclaimed woodworking looks when it is finished. When you get a chance, check out what the guys at Stumptown Reclaimed make. They are reclaimed masters! Also, with only a few woody exceptions, I think working with reclaimed wood ends up looking better than new wood (but that’s just me!). Second, a personal value of mine is restoration, and my work allows me to literally take old wood and make it into something new again. I love planing away old, rough surfaces to reveal the beauty hidden beneath decades of dirt and weathering. Third, I believe in sustainable building practices, and since wood can last for centuries, I see no reason to buy new stock if your neighborhood reclaimed or salvage store can sell you the same thing (and at a better price!).

Do you have a philosophy related to your use of recycled versus new materials?

Absolutely. The Regrainery began as a philosophy before it became something practical. It stemmed from my belief that the run-down, the weathered, and the broken can be restored. I believe almost anything (e.g. people, gardens, communities, and wood) can be made new. I also believe that when a little work is put in, genuine beauty has a chance to be revealed. So, by using recycled and salvaged materials in my work, I get to practically explore a very rewarding process that I don’t think new materials can offer.

"I also believe that when a little work is put in, genuine beauty has a chance to be revealed. " -Aaron Green, The Regrainery

"I also believe that when a little work is put in, genuine beauty has a chance to be revealed. "

-Aaron Green, The Regrainery

Did you have any woodworking experience before creating your business?

My Dad made much of my family’s furniture while I was growing up, so I had many opportunities to watch and learn from him. Outside of him, however, I’ve just built as a hobbyist.

Do you have a workshop where you build your products?

Yes, I work out of a garage space that I rent from a neighbor in the NE Alberta area.

How/where do you find customers?

Initially my customers came from friends and friends of friends, but eventually I expanded to a retail pop-up shop (street fairs mostly) model. Last summer I was at nearly every street fair in Portland and had the opportunity to sell directly to customers as well as acquire leads on commissions.

Do you sell any of your products through shops or stores?

Just my online shop!

Do you sell you products at street fairs?

Yes, beginning in 2016 I sold at over a dozen street fairs around Portland. Keep an eye out for us this Spring and Summer at your local street fairs! I’ll be partnering with other small business too, including a painter and a leather worker!

Do you collect materials before you know what you’re going to use them for? Or do you have a design in mind and select materials to fit the design?

Generally, I don’t. As much as I’d love to buy every last stick of old-growth at the ReBuilding Center, my garage space and budget always have the last word. Instead, I buy my wood after having drawn up a design for commissions.

Do you ever wonder about the previous life of the materials you use?

All the time. But, I usually don’t have access to that information. One day I plan to implement the stories of my materials on my website. Personally, I think knowing where something came from, or who may have owned it or used it, adds huge value to the material.

Do you have any employees?

While I have hired friends and my brother to help me with street fairs, I am the sole designer and builder and business guy behind the operation.

Have you gotten any materials from the ReBuilding Center? What kinds?

Yes! I source around 85% of my materials from the ReBuilding Center. I have bought everything from ship-lap, flooring, rafters, ply-wood, doweling, hand-railing, and once even a 19’ glu-lam beam at the ReBuilding Center.

How did you hear about the ReBuilding Center?

I used to live near N Haight & N Mason, so the Mississippi business district was typically my haunt. When I got into woodworking, even as a hobbyist, I found the ReBuilding Center because I happened to walk by. What a wonderful find! 

HOLLA: Challenging the Narrative for Kids of Color in America’s Whitest City

Holla the Movie, is coming to the Rebuilding Center.

Holla chronicles the organization of the same name, founded by African-American Pastor, Eric Knox, to mentor kids of color in predominantly white and white-taught schools.

The film explores the lives of three young women on the Holla basketball team, as mentorship subtly transforms their experience. Through tough love and tenderness the kids learn to hurdle obstacles and adversity in a system biased against them.  But learning is a two-way street—the viewer also sees the educators and mentors in the organization changing and growing through their work.

Featuring straight talk from notable intellectuals Robert Munoz of Portland State University and Diane Watson of Lewis & Clark College, as well as raw testimonials from mentors and mentees, Holla is an informative, humorous, and heartbreaking look at the issues that face our city and our nation, as we struggle to fulfill the promise of integration and equal opportunity.

Holla features select tracks from Portland’s nationally recognized music scene, including songs from Tre Hardson (Pharcyde), rising star Liz Vice, Catherine Feeny & Chris Johnedis and the band Joseph.

Stay tuned to hear more about the Holla girls and film. A follow-up project is currently being made following-up with the girls seven years later. ReBuilding Center intends to feature both documentaries on their touch-screen kiosks in the Commons on their property on N. Mississippi Ave. 

Holla Mentors is a culturally responsive mentorship organization. Since it’s inception, it has built a community of socially active neighbors, local entrepreneurs and committed professionals who are willing to foster healthy relationships with economically challenged and at risk children and teens within the structures of the educational system.

Lean PDX Helps Streamline the RBC Shopping Experience

A streamlining process to improve the shopping experience at the ReBuilding Center (RBC) started with a band of “secret shoppers" made up of five Lean Portland volunteers and five RBC employees. The RBC Executive Director, Stephen Reichard, and Manager, Tom Patzkowski, were working the floor so the staff could work to improve the organization.  The “secret shoppers” were tasked to find materials for typical DIY projects, like building a dog house or replacing an exterior door. This allowed the staff and volunteers to gain a first-hand experience at what it is like to be a customer. 

The second workshop explored long term goals, identifying projects where Lean could consult with the RBC through 2017.  They also designed an experiment to improve customers’ first time shopping experience.  They promptly responded to the things they discovered in their studies and made a mockup kiosk with signage that identifies and explanes how to navigate the warehouses and make a purchases.

They summarized the results:

It was a lot of fun, and we saw about half the people pause and read the sign – some even taking tape measures (a key tool) with them as they went to go shopping. It was a great example of getting real-time feedback on something, without spending a lot of time planning to make it perfect. Our follow-up was that the team decided to continue to get feedback on the kiosk, and possibly create two additional kiosks for the additional entrances.
100_1304.JPG

The next step over the next few months will be to identify opportunities for improving RBC donation and checkout processes. For the long term they would like to develop plans to increase capacity of the center while creating a more satisfying environment for their employees and their guests.

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.