The Dropbox Derby: Overnight Sensation

Move over World Naked Bike Ride; back of the line Pickathon and Bridge Pedal; take a backseat Sunday Parkways. There’s a new sheriff in town. Or at least a new, instant classic Portland street event.

The first – of what must absolutely be – annual DropBox Derby took place on Saturday, September 30 at Lovett Deconstruction. Fourteen teams, four hours, a supply of identical salvage materials to each team, and a vague concept – Bridge House. Throw in a little beer and a little cider and we have the start of what will soon be a Portland event institution.

The brainchild of deconstruction entrepreneur Der Lovett, and former ReBuilding Center employee, Dropox Derby is a one-day design and build competition using salvage materials. Participatants included Team Curry from Owen Gabbert, Siteworks Design-Build, Splintered Fingers from Clarkbuilt, Inc, Team RBC from The ReBuilding Center, Revive Upholstery & Design, Festering Splinters from Salvage Works, Team Silver Fern, Red Rooster Remodeling, Metalwood Salvage, Plan B Salvation, If you build it they will come from deform, Team Compound, Mightier Miter from CarpentryPDX, and Team Decon from Lovett Deconstruction.

The event took place during the Portland ReUse for Societal Transformation: A Week of Neighborhood ReUse.

The Rebuilding Center Team. Photo Source

The Rebuilding Center Team. Photo Source

Sponsors included Heiberg Garbage & Recycling, Voodoo Donuts, and Umpqua Bank. Cider Riot served up pints and Aybla served up authentic and delicious Mediterranean cuisine, while the Ukaladies and a Mariachi Band performed. Even though we didn’t take home the win this year, we are thrilled to be part of this event, and excited to try again next year. The first prize went to Team Silver Fern for their inspiring interpretation of a Bridge House, second prize went to Clarkbuilt Splintered Fingers and third to Siteworks.

We spoke with Der at Lovett Deconstruction to see how they felt after the event and where they saw it going in the future:

Whose idea was it to have the derby?   

I had this idea some years back then last year I pitched it to the Lovett Deconstruction team and we decided to make it happen this year. And so we did.

What was your vision for the event?  

My vision was to have a fun event where crafts people got to make cool stuff with reclaimed materials. I kept imagining tons of tiny structures like architectural models, built from beautiful wood that normally gets thrown away.

What was your impression of the day?

I loved the idea and our team loved the idea but we weren't totally sure how people would respond. As it turned out it was quite clear that all participants and spectators loved it just as much as we did.

What were some of the things you felt made the event such a success?

The vibe! The energy! I lost count of the number of times people told me they couldn't believe this event didn't exist already. And of course everyone said “This is so Portland!” The builders, the makers, the carpenters all said they had been looking for something like this. One carpenter said “chefs get to compete all the time and show their creativity. Now at long last we carpenters get an opportunity!

What are your plans for the future?

This is just the beginning. The plan is to host this event each year and for it to become not just an ever present on the Portland Events Calendar but one of the most anticipated events of the year. We learned so much this time round. We are already starting to plan for next year. I think every entrant on Saturday said "sign us up for next year" as did many visitors. We're hoping to see it grow, and for us to build community around it as well as raise monies for some well deserving organizations. We raised $2300 on Saturday for Sisters of the Road Cafe.

So it looks like we can expect the Dropbox Derby to be an annual event during PDX Rust's Portland ReUse for Societal Transformation: A Week of Neighborhood ReUse Events. Further information on the events during that week can be found here. For more information on Sisters of the Road Café or how to donate to their cause visit their website.