Behind the Materials: Beetroot Market & Deli

For every guest in the store, there’s a story behind why they are here, from projects large and small to no project at all (just stopping by to see what is in or to chat with the community).

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Back in July, we snapped a photo of ReBuilding Center regular, Daniel Goers, and Salvage Specialist, Alex. We learned that Daniel was working on a build out at Beetroot Market & Deli, using ReBuilding Center reclaimed lumber.

Beetroot Market & Deli is a modern NW Jewish deli and specialty food store located at 1639 NW Glisan Street. Sonya Sanford, Executive Chef and Owner, opened Beetroot in mid-August of this year. In preparation for the opening, Sonya worked with Daniel to build out an interior with reclaimed materials.

Daniel Goers, of Goers Design, has been shopping at the ReBuilding Center for a few years now. With a background in furniture making and design, he first started reusing building materials in 2011 while living in New York City. While passing by construction projects, he noticed people were throwing away perfectly usable lumber. Over the years, Daniel developed a deep appreciation for local materials and the beauty of old-growth lumber. He feels compelled to use reclaimed material, rather than purchasing new.


Now that Beetroot is officially up and running, we stopped by on a sunny afternoon to check out the finish projects and to chat with Daniel about his experience using reclaimed materials in the space. (Cont’d below)

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Daniel solely used reclaimed Douglas Fir 2” x 4”s for every piece in Beetroot, from the tables to the shelves. Daniel made the space feel bright and airy by using a clear finish to show off the natural beauty of the Douglas Fir and a white wash on certain pieces to add focal points.

“This project was able to stay low-budget because of resources like the ReBuilding Center,” Daniel explained. “I was able to produce high quality projects because of the ability to use reclaimed old growth lumber.”

Beetroot’s space is simple and modern, but has a clear attention to detail. From the bussing station to the condiment shelf, Daniel’s craftsmanship and appreciation for salvaged lumber shines through. Check out the space for yourself, and pick up a delicious sandwich or yummy treat while you’re at it. Beetroot is open Sunday-Friday from 8AM-4PM.

Side Note: Sonya even donated some material that she inherited from the NW Glisan building to our store! One donation was a custom bar that ended up finding a home at Black Book Guitars, our neighbor across the street. Check it out, here!

Are you interesting in learning how to build your own projects out of reclaimed materials? ReBuilding Center classes like Remilling Lumber: Rough to Finish Material or Intro to Carpentry Tools are great starting points. Come build your skills with us!

Today's Finds: September Archive

Today’s Finds is a weekly collection of some of our favorite items from the ReBuilding Center store! Are you signed up to receive the Finds via e-mail? Sign up here or, if you already receive our newsletter, update your preferences in MailChimp.

  • View the September 5th Finds, here.

  • View the September 12th Finds, here.

Did you see an item on the Finds and claimed it for your own? We love seeing your reuse projects! Share with us at

Fall Into Creative Reuse

Fall is just around the corner and it is the perfect time to finish projects before winter rolls around! Every week we re-post a creative reuse project on our Instagram to spread reuse inspiration. From dresses to planter boxes, we love seeing every project completed with materials that once found their way through the ReBuilding Center. Check out this compilation of projects recently shared with us - maybe they’ll even find their way to your project list!

Reclaimed Window Greenhouse  @noal_pdx

Reclaimed Window Greenhouse

Debris Netting Dress  @babiesbekind

Debris Netting Dress

Reclaimed Wood Planter Box @theartofwoodpdx

Reclaimed Wood Planter Box

Garden Sink  Anne Marie, ReBuilder

Garden Sink
Anne Marie, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Pendant Light  @jamieleeeeejackson

Reclaimed Pendant Light

Reclaimed Boat Light Fixture  ReBuilding Center

Reclaimed Boat Light Fixture
ReBuilding Center

Reclaimed Cabinet Bed Frame  Kristine, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Cabinet Bed Frame
Kristine, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Cedar Planter Box  Claire, Salvage Specialist

Reclaimed Cedar Planter Box
Claire, Salvage Specialist

Jewelry Storage  Lynette, ReBuilder

Jewelry Storage
Lynette, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Wood Utility Box Cover  Lynette, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Wood Utility Box Cover
Lynette, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Drawer Shelf  ReBuilding Center

Reclaimed Drawer Shelf
ReBuilding Center

Reclaimed Wood Stool  @moss__503

Reclaimed Wood Stool

Reclaimed Wood Display Shelf  @evelonian

Reclaimed Wood Display Shelf

Reclaimed Material Dog Gate  Lynne, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Material Dog Gate
Lynne, ReBuilder

Reclaimed Wood Wall  @danstark

Reclaimed Wood Wall

Reclaimed Door Bench  ReBuilder

Reclaimed Door Bench

Have you completed any projects using ReBuilding Center materials?
Send some photos our way to!

Lending a Hand to Long-Time Neighbors

2019 Day of Service Volunteers

2019 Day of Service Volunteers

Teaming up for the fourth annual Day of Service, the ReBuilding Center and the African American Alliance for Home Ownership came together with over 40 volunteers to provide home repairs for low-income and long-time homeowners in North and Northeast Portland.

Over the past few decades, the Boise neighborhood of North Portland—part of the historic heart of Portland’s Black community in the broader Albina neighborhood—has seen drastic changes to its population. According to the US Census Bureau, Boise’s Black population fell from 84% in 1970 to 26% in 2010 to an estimated 14.4% as of 2017. Median incomes have increased by over 20% since 2000, and the median home price has risen from around $200,000 in 2010 to about $460,000 in 2017. Surrounding neighborhoods have experienced similar changes.

The ReBuilding Center opened on North Mississippi Avenue in 2000 with a mission to build community resilience by making affordable reclaimed home improvement materials and repair skills accessible to all. The Day of Service lives into this mission by providing home repairs to homeowners who are unable to perform or pay for the repairs independently. Over the past few years, the ReBuilding Center has seen these improvements help homeowners maintain and secure their homes in ever-changing neighborhoods.

This year, we served nine homeowners in North and Northeast Portland. Repairs included removal and repair of staircases, overgrown yard debris clean-up, lighting repairs, washer replacements, and so much more. While tasks were relatively small, they make a huge difference.

Charlene has lived in her North Portland home for 44 years. She reflected on the changes in the neighborhood and the effects they have: “I can’t afford to stay and I can’t afford to leave. I am stuck, but I am very appreciative of the work the Day of Service provides. It makes it easier.” This was the second year, we were able to provide repairs to Charlene’s home. This year we assisted Charlene by replacing old light fixtures and rebuilding rotting stairs.


Just a few blocks over, we assisted Robert with a sink replacement and fence repairs. Robert expressed similar sentiments as Charlene. He joked, “I’ve been here too long,” before revealing that he has lived in his home in North Portland for 33 years, but has lived in the neighborhood his entire life. Robert is a long-time ReBuilding Center customer, but is no longer able to complete many of his own repairs. He expressed gratitude for the work that was being completed and explained how he keeps a positive attitude, despite hardships: “There is no need to worry about yesterday. As long as I wake up today, that is all that matters. That is what I focus on.”


Year after year, the Day of Service, exceeds our expectations of what can be accomplished in one big day of repairs and community building. A huge thank you to every volunteer and organization involved this year. The 2019 Day of Service was sponsored by Lovett Deconstruction, Neil Kelly Company, Otis Construction, Inc., and Portland Water Bureau. Additionally, the Community Energy Project was a new service provider partner this year.

And finally, check out more photos from the day!

If you would like to be involved in next year’s Day of Service, sign up for our newsletter and keep an eye out for updates!

Building Skills at PALS

Back in July, the ReBuilding Center donated plywood and 2-by lumber to Albertina Kerr’s PALS (Portland Art and Learning Studio) program. PALS is a 10,000 sq. ft. art studio and gallery for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They used this material to help finish a studio worktable for their space. The artists learned to safely operate a chop saw and construct the worktable! Check out the progress photos below. A huge thank you to Albertina Kerr for sharing!


Last year, the ReBuilding Center donated over $20,000 of essential building materials to over 150 community groups. To learn more about our community material donations or how to request a donation for your group, go here.

Reclaimed Wood Partner: Viridian

The ReBuilding Center receives material donations from all over the community – homeowners, schools, restaurants, you name it. One of these donors is Viridian. Viridian is a local Portland business that sells ready-to-install flooring, paneling, and tables made from reclaimed wood. They recently donated many materials to our lumberyard, such as the gym flooring, redwood planks, and the (very popular) bleacher board. The ReBuilding Center is grateful for Viridian’s generosity and willingness to help divert waste from the landfill. We recently chatted with them about our partnership and the reuse industry:


What inspires Viridian to donate to the ReBuilding Center?

We love Portland and we strive to contribute in any way we can. Focusing on sustainability is at the core of why we do what we do. Partnering with the ReBuilding Center forwards our mission to both support our local community and promote the use of sustainable building materials.

What motivates Viridian to reuse/reclaim materials?

Viridian’s start came from our founders’ project to keep some amazing wood from ending up in a landfill. Since then, the mission that has kept the company moving forward is to reclaim as much wood as we can and promote sustainability. The wood we reclaim helps reduce the demand for new lumber and makes our community a better place.

But we don’t stop there! We are always looking for ways to innovate and refine our processes. For example, all our paneling finishes have switched over to a highly sustainable and efficient UV light process. This process is 100% VOC-free, eliminating the need for thousands of gallons of finish chemicals every year.

The region's interest in reducing waste seems to be growing. Why does Viridian think that is? How can we encourage our community to participate in the cycle of reuse?

More and more people are starting to realize the direct impact they have on the environment and their local communities. This creates a new paradigm within a community, and the more people participate, a snowball effect occurs and a new culture is formed.

Inspiration can be a big driver for people to participate. Showing what can be done to upcycle or reclaim can open the world of possibilities for people to find their own amazing pile of wood to save from a landfill.


No Matter Who You Are, You Belong

By: Josh Stark, Driving Team

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I went to high school in the area and learned about the ReBuilding Center while being involved in my school’s Sustainability Team. A few years later, I heard about an open Salvage Specialist position. I applied, had one of my best interviews, and was hired! That was almost four years ago.

On my first day, I had to adapt right away. I learned quickly that the amount of change you want to start is up to you. You have the power to see projects through, create waves of efficiency in your own workplace, and set your own goals. Just like the neighborhood, the ReBuilding Center was very different even just a few years ago. It was pleasantly hectic with a new challenge around every corner. I thrive in fast-paced environments, so this was a lot of fun for me. There were a lot of quite literal team-building exercises that happened daily. 

One of my first impressions of the ReBuilding Center was that no matter who you are, everyone belongs here. The ReBuilding Center community is full of people you can connect with – people who feel like you have known them your entire life. This place has healing capabilities that can have an effect on everyone involved. Dealing with challenges is unavoidable, but there is always a fulfilling experience that can bring you back. Seeing the joy in customers when they find exactly what they are looking for or when we give them advice on projects is an amazing reward.

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I worked as a Salvage Specialist for about a year and a half. After that, I’ve worked multiple management positions focusing on the Driving Team. I really enjoyed being a Driver. I got to see the life cycle of the materials, from donor to customer. It gave the materials more meaning for me. Being a Driver also opened up my eyes to the hard work that our staff does out in the field. This experience helped me connect with and understand what people were going through. There have been many changes over the years, but our foundation is strong. We have remained focused on the impact that we are here to make.

One of my fondest memories is moving tiny homes until late into the night. It wasn’t easy work, but we were dedicated. Working closely with other ReBuilding Center staff, I realized how large of an effect one person can have on this organization. We were working long hours, driving all over the city to bring the tiny homes to villages for those experiencing houselessness. It was a lot of fun and very rewarding to put my personal time aside to get this work done.

When I think of the future of the ReBuilding Center, what gives me hope is the passion that can be found here. When something is possible, we do it. We’re constantly moving forward and trying our best. I think we all have the same mentality of looking at a challenge and wanting to take it on as a team. 

Ever-Changing Shop

By: Aaron Green, Program Coordinator

During the early Spring of 2019, the Education Team met for a few brainstorming sessions to address gaps in efficient usage of the shop, as well as what we all wanted to see the shop do for our current and future students. It was new, it was challenging, and it was exciting.

A photo of the shop from 2002.

A photo of the shop from 2002.

But let’s back up a bit. To date, the Education shop has never really not been in flux. “Ever-changing” seems to be the most preferred adjective of returning students and staff. Before there was Education, the space was basically used as a storage closet for tools and hardware, and before that it was a full-fledged furniture-making shop. A space fit for instruction and for learning, we believed, would require different resources and planning. It would require a whole new look and feel. 

Since we started the Education program in August of 2016, on-going efforts by staff and volunteers to clear the ancient and under-utilized tools has resulted in cart after cart brimming with all sorts of goodies headed for the retail floor: dozens of wood files, hand planes, saw blades, and drawers brimming with drill bits alongside moving boxes heaping with old, crinkled sandpaper. 

By this Spring, however, after collectively assessing our inventory, we decided we’d cleared out enough to begin the real process of re-imagining the space. We began by looking at our large “items” (tables, industrial-sized machinery, racking systems, etc.) and made decisions about how we could modify, better store, or outright sell them to the public. In April we said our goodbyes to our Powermatic Tablesaw and Belt Sander, and in May we bid farewell to our industrial-size “Cyclone” dust collection system.

Volunteers deconstructing the office space.

Volunteers deconstructing the office space.

Next, we looked at the walls. How might we better utilize our walls for tool storage, and which walls (if any) could simply be moved or come down entirely? This step resulted in a thorough deconstructing of our shop “office” and the creation of a brand-new entryway directly into the store.

We then thought about how to divide the room into one-part lecture space and one-part tool and work area. This required re-routing many of our drop-outlets and creating two new “bays” (a “table saw bay” and a “planer/jointer bay”) to go along with our bandsaw and scrollsaw bay. 

Most recently, our staff and volunteers have been hard at work giving the space a face-lift. We’ve created a new “french cleat” storage wall, fit with unique cabinet doors as part of the backdrop. We’ve touched up paint and will be installing new lighting. We’ve clad two walls with interesting off-cut wood to give a reclaimed mural effect. (All of this, I proudly add, has taken zero staff time and has been accomplished completely by volunteers and interns!). We’ve also built new electrical class training stations, and we’ve just broken ground on student storage lockers. 

French Cleat Wall

French Cleat Wall

Reclaimed Mural

Reclaimed Mural

Plenty still to come in the Education Shop. We figure we haven’t quite lost our “ever-changing” reputation just yet. And we’re fine with that! With “Open Shop” due to become a fixture by mid-September, and the promise of new “Homeowner Suite” classes by the Fall, I’d expect to see plenty more exciting additions to the space. Until then, drop by and see all the changes! We’ll see you in the shop!

To learn more about our Education Program and sign up for a class, go here!

Bag It Forward

When you bring a reusable bag to New Seasons, you can donate your 5-cent refund to one of three local nonprofits. For the next six months, you will have the opportunity to donate to the ReBuilding Center at TWO New Seasons Stores: Seven Corners and Happy Valley.

A huge thank you to New Seasons for this program and to YOU for choosing reusable bags! Every 5-cent donation adds up to make a huge difference here at the ReBuilding Center where we work to make reuse the norm; provide access to affordable building materials; teach home repair and building skills; and reduce the outrageous amount of stuff that goes to waste in landfills—diverting over 1,800 tons per year.


Become a Shop Steward


Attention all former and current Rebuilding Center Shop Volunteers! We're writing specifically to you to let you know about a neat opportunity coming down the pike.

In mid-September we will officially be rolling out "Open Shop" to the public! But, in order to do this, we'll need dedicated and knowledgeable individuals to take part as Volunteer Shop Stewards. During Open Shop, Shop Stewards will monitor tools and machines, ensure safety practices are being met, and much more!

In order to be a Volunteer Shop Steward we require at least (1) shift doing Material Prep in the shop, and (1) TA shift in one of our Education classes. Already done both? Great, keep an eye out for Shop Steward shifts available in a month!

Still need to complete a TA shift to level up to Shop Steward? No problem! If you've already spent at least one shift volunteering in the Education shop, you're immediately eligible to become a Teaching Assistant (TA) in one of our classes. We've just opened up more TA shifts for most of our classes from now through mid-September, but they're filling up fast! If you're interested, keep an eye out for new class listings with corresponding TA shifts on your online volunteer scheduler.

As a refresher on how to get over to our website and sign yourself up for a TA slot, simply log in, click the "My Schedule" tab, and sign up where you see availability!

After months of prep, beta-testing, shop updating, tool refining, and so on, we're super excited to get to offer Open Shop, and just so you know, as a Shop Steward for Open Shop, you'd not only be getting to share your carpentry knowledge with others, but would have unique opportunities to refine and grow in them as well!

Please reach out to our education team at if you have any questions. We're happy to help!

Build Hope: a Tiny Home Initiative

Although the ReBuilding Center is located on Mississippi Avenue in North Portland, ReBuilding Center materials come from all over the region and continue living on in many different places. Recently, we had the opportunity to follow the purposeful path of some reclaimed lumber and plywood to the hills of Southwest Portland.

These reclaimed materials were donated by RBC to Build Hope, an initiative to build cost-effective tiny homes to house individuals and families transitioning out of houselessness. This project was formed through a partnership between Cascadia Clusters and Neveh Shalom. Currently, the Cascadia Clusters Maker Village is situated in the upper parking lot of Neveh Shalom.

Cascadia Clusters employs and trains houseless Portlanders to build affordable, sustainable, and high-quality workforce and transitional housing. During our visit, residents of Hazlenut Grove were working on a two-stall shower trailer—very exciting!

Just a couple of miles down the road, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland donated space on an empty lot for this project to continue and expand. The goal is to move the Maker Village to this land by the fall. Whether it is turning an old RV into office space or using a trailer for storage, creative reuse is key for the village makers. Making unconventional use out of the materials that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill allows for new opportunities all around. We’re excited to see the build progress over the next few months!

To learn more about Build Hope, contact Cascadia Clusters at

To learn more about ReBuilding Center materials donations, go here.

2019 Day of Service: Volunteer to Build Community

Each year, we team up with African American Alliance for Homeownership to put on our favorite event—the Day of Service! Volunteers and professionals from all over Portland lend their time and talent to make home repairs for long-time residents of North and Northeast neighborhoods.

This year, on August 24, we aim to serve up to 12 local homeowners in need of home repairs and maintenance. This annual Day of Service isn’t possible without you—the volunteers! Join us on August 24 to learn new skills, practice and refine old ones, and make a lasting difference in our community!

The Day of Service runs from 8:30AM to 4:30PM, with breakfast and lunch provided. We’ll have all the tools, materials, and expertise needed to get the jobs done, so come on out and put those skills into action with us! You’ll see familiar faces, as our staff will be out and about leading crews for the day.

If you’re interested, consider pre-registering HERE, and we’ll be in touch shortly!

A huge thank you to our 2019 Day of Service sponsors: Lovett Deconstruction, Neil Kelly Company, Otis Construction, Inc., and Portland Water Bureau! The Community Energy Project is a new service provider partner this year.



Piano.Push.Play. rescues pianos and puts them on the street and public places for everyone to enjoy. Just as Piano. Push. Play. rescues pianos, the ReBuilding Center rescues building materials. Our customers, volunteers, and staff range in knowledge and skill sets. Creatively reusing salvaged materials doesn’t require mastery; just a commitment to experimentation and resourcefulness. Our intention with the piano was to showcase the playful way in which both the materials and the people come together to make the ReBuilding Center community what it is. There are endless ways in which we can reuse and reinvent the way we use materials to bring life back to a space, a piece of furniture, or a piano!

A huge shout-out to ReBuilding Center staff and interns, Chris Larsen, Mykalene Piva, and Ari Watkins, for dedicating time to creatively reuse materials in the decoration of this piano.

Our piano currently lives by the Community Trees. Come give it a play!


Today's Finds: Summer 2019

Today’s Finds is a weekly collection of some of our favorite items from the ReBuilding Center store! Are you signed up to receive the Finds via e-mail? Sign up here or, if you already receive our newsletter, update your preferences in MailChimp.

  • View the June 6th Finds, here.

  • View the June 20th Finds, here.

  • View the July 3rd Finds, here.

  • View the July 11th Finds, here.

  • View the July 18th Finds, here.

  • View the August 1st Finds, here.

  • View the August 8th Finds, here.

  • View the August 15th Finds, here.

Did you see an item on the Finds and claimed it for your own? We love seeing your reuse projects! Share with us at

Instructor Highlight: Shona

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Shona is an instructor at the ReBuilding Center. She teaches primarily Electrical and Plumbing classes, but has recently starting teaching woodworking classes as well. Learn more about Shona, her experience working in the trades, and teaching in the Education Shop!

What led you to your work in the trades? What led you to work at RBC?
I have a degree in Journalism/Natural Resources Technical Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but never could find anything other than contract or part-time work. Eventually I moved out here, and working full-time with a living wage and decent benefits drove my decision to become an electrician. I’ve never regretted it!

I had to reboot my career about ten years ago when I became allergic to concrete dust, so I transitioned from construction to maintenance. Now I work as a supervisor and my office/typing skills come in handy. I started volunteering at the ReBuilding Center as a Teaching Assistant in the Electrical for Homeowners classes in 2017, and then applied as a part-time instructor. Since then, I’ve worked with the Education Team to develop other electrical classes that we’re working into the rotation.

What was it like when you first started working here? What were your impressions?
I have been a fan of RBC for many years, but was blown away by the first staff meeting I attended. Everyone here is so engaged and I am thrilled that all types of employees have been actively involved in “big picture” decisions like developing the mission statement and recruiting a new director. RBC walks the talk! It’s great to see the support for diversity and community.

Do you have any favorite or memorable moments from the classroom?
Teaching here is so much fun. Every class has at least one “light bulb” moment when someone gets really excited about what they’re learning. Students tell us that the classes are very empowering. I love getting emails from students telling me that they’ve used what we’re teaching here to successfully tackle a project at home!

What inspires you?
People who work to make a difference every day. All of the little efforts add up to big changes.

What has been your experience with teaching Women's classes?
I have always enjoyed teaching women’s classes for different organizations. I think that women are much more likely to help each other out in group settings. If they already know how to use tools, they will usually step back and encourage someone else to take advantage of the opportunity to learn.

What do you like to do when you aren't working?
I hang out with family and friends, read a lot, and do crafty stuff. I like polymer clay, needle felting, and decorating cakes with fondant. Anything small and sculptural. 

Anything else?
If there is a class you’d like to take, please let us know! A lot of the offerings started out as suggestions from students. And if you have any tools that you’d like to donate, we’d love to have them!

DeConstruction Services Update


As of July 5, Deconstruction Services at the ReBuilding Center will close. We thank all who helped us pioneer this trade, including staff past and present—as well as supporting clients and community members.

More than 20 years ago, when our DeConstruction Services were launched, the ReBuilding Center pioneered a new way to remove buildings that was far superior to mechanical demolition—it protected neighbors from harmful dust and debris and salvaged materials for reuse, rather than sending them to the landfill.

Over the course of our operations, we deconstructed almost a million square feet on over 1,000 projects, and gave rise to an entirely new sector in the building industry. We were so successful, in fact, that the City of Portland decided that ours was the model they wanted to replicate, to make it mandatory for residential structures built before 1916 through a Deconstruction Ordinance.

We made the very difficult decision to stop doing deconstruction in part because the need for a nonprofit deconstruction firm no longer exists with so many capable for-profit firms meeting the need for deconstruction in the Portland region.  

In this sense, we have actually succeeded—we have pioneered a new method that has been so successful that others have stepped in to meet the need. Our team has done amazing work over the years, and has built our reputation as a pioneer in sustainability and reuse.

If you are seeking a deconstruction firm, we recommend viewing the City of Portland’s list of certified deconstruction contractors.

In the 20-year history of DeConstruction Services, we have:

  • Worked on 1,240 projects;

  • Deconstructed 369 whole houses;

  • Engaged in 73 whole-house guts and/or roof removals;

  • Deconstructed 30 commercial buildings and/or apartments;

  • Dismantled 20 barns of various sizes;

  • Deconstructed 260 garages (also of various sizes);

  • Dismantled 20+ sheds; and

  • Performed house skims; kitchen skims and guts; bath skims and guts; and flooring removals.

Andy and Ryan finishing work on the last deconstruction project.

Andy and Ryan finishing work on the last deconstruction project.

DeConstructing Walls and Barriers

By: Claire Schilperoort (Salvage Specialist)

Ella Rose with Workshop Participants

Ella Rose with Workshop Participants

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of joining Andy (DeConstructionist) in representing the ReBuilding Center at the annual Oregon Tradeswomen’s Career Fair, hosted at NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center. Mayela (Salvage Specialist) and Ella Rose (Salvage Specialist) attended on Friday to demonstrate making planter boxes and coat racks with reclaimed materials (and using of a lot of wooden cabinet knobs)!

Andy and I arrived on Saturday morning and navigated parking to unload the marvelous temporary wall Andy constructed for our deconstruction demonstration. We set up our table, overflowing in terrific handouts about RBC— education class information, business cards, bumper stickers, and job applications—then grabbed some muffins and coffee at the food station, and were ready to go.

Mind you, we were in a back demonstration room, hallways past hallways, away from the main party, and a little hidden. Worried about not getting enough foot traffic our way, Andy made some beautiful signs to hang throughout the building, and I set up our “deconstruct a wall!” sign on a stool in the hallway, and we waited.

Things were slow at first. I’d eaten all my muffins, our coffee was cold, and aside from a few heads peaking in the door, our wall was lonely and untouched. But low and behold, a group of 5 or 6 young ladies came through the door, and the pace of the day was changed forever. Their enthusiasm and vibrancy about learning and getting their hands on materials was extremely refreshing. Some were shyer than others, but even they grabbed hammers, put on those safety glasses, and patiently listened to Andy’s instruction. I thought we’d take some trim off and maybe talk about reuse, but these girls ended up deconstructing the entire wall, from light fixture to studs!

Andy posing with the DeConstruction Wall

Andy posing with the DeConstruction Wall

From then on, we had a pretty steady procession of interested people trickle in—people of all ages and education levels. A five-year-old with our giant gloves on, safety glasses falling off her little face, found comfort with the drill driver and took every panel off one side of the wall. Others had already received some degree of formal education in electrical/construction/etc. and were more curious about who RBC is and what we do. We explained our mission, the different departments of RBC, and how they all exist together to make things flow. We told many interested people about the classes we offer, volunteer opportunities, and handed out every single job application!

Several young ladies we met had never held a drill before, let alone an impact driver. They were hesitant, posturing as if the wall would explode when they pulled the trigger, and stripped a couple screws a little, but once they realized they were in control, how to hold it, pressure needed, how angles mattered, etc., there was no stopping them.

Andy and I took a couple turns walking around the facility while the other led demos, exploring the more than 70 exhibitors and 40 hands-on workshops. So many opportunities and happy, ambitious people sharing their knowledge and answering questions!

It's Good in the Hood!

The Good in the Hood Music and Food festival is the largest multi-cultural festival in the region. Each year, the festivals opens with a community parade that travels through Northeast Portland. With a focus on community building and multicultural engagement, the Good in the Hood festival allows Portland residents to connect with each other through food and music, inspiring unity throughout the community.

Year after year, ReBuilding Center has a blast on our float in the parade - waving to our friends and neighbors, jammin’ to the musical accompaniment of Ural Thomas and the Pain, and experiencing the strong community that Good in the Hood emphasizes.


Today's Finds: May 2019

Today’s Finds is a weekly collection of some of our favorite items from the ReBuilding Center store! Are you signed up to receive the Finds via e-mail? Sign up here or, if you already receive our newsletter, update your preferences in MailChimp.

  • View the May 2nd finds, here.

  • View the May 16th finds, here.

  • View the May 23rd finds, here.

Did you see an item on the Finds and claimed it for your own? We love seeing your reuse projects! Share with us at

Volunteer Highlight: Marci

By: Aaron Green

Volunteers at the Rebuilding Center are the life-blood of the organization. I heard a staff member say that once during a tour. It’s a big thing to say, too. Could it really be true? When I stop to consider the 15,000+ hours our 2,250 volunteers contributed to our organization in 2018 alone, from wrangling and sorting in hardware and lighting, to lifting and moving heavy items in the lumber yard, data entry and receipt organization in the admin office, to material preparation and tool maintenance in the education shop, I find myself having to conclude that in some ways, yes, I think we really do run on the generosity of our volunteer help! Our volunteers, whether they’re aware of it or not, provide a special service that really does bolster the greater life of our operation.


Now, I may be biased (as one who spends half their time in the Education Shop!), but Marci Edwards, a regular (weekly) volunteer in the shop, and occasional teaching assistant on the weekends, has been one of the most helpful volunteers we’ve had in the two-and-a-half years that our department has been around. From the beginning, Marci made it clear that she was looking grow as a woodworker, and that otherwise she was happy to help however. Marci was a quick study. Before long she was safely and expertly ripping plywood on the saws, maintenancing our planers, and putting together brand new table saws! On top of that, she was always one of the first people to welcome new volunteers into our space and show them the ropes.

We’re going to miss Marci’s calm, caring demeanor and carpentry expertise in our shop. We wish her well in this next chapter and hope to see her again later in the year! She was kind enough to sit down with me for a brief interview about her time with us. Please enjoy!


Q: Marci, how long have you been volunteering with us at the Rebuilding Center?

A: I think it was November 2018 when I started volunteering, but I actually got started here as a student.

Q: Oh really? What the first class you took with us?

A: I took the Hopping Toys class back in September, but then when I found out about some of your more carpentry-heavy classes, I got myself signed up for those. I took the Rough-to-Finished Lumber class, and then the Tablesaw Bootcamp class after that. I knew I really needed to learn the tools from those classes.

Q: So before volunteering with us, what were one or two things you were hoping to gain from your experience at RBC?

A: Safety training and comfortability with using large tools, like the table saw! Then I wanted to learn how to take a deeper dive in rabbets and dados and basic joinery techniques. Which then led me to routers! I feel comfortable and confident enough (since I took routers class as well!).

Q: While here, what has been a unique tool or technique that you’ve learned to work with that you didn’t expect to?

A: Using the circle jig on the bandsaw (for a plant stand), and being able to see a cross-cut sled work [on the table saw]. Also, getting to receive positive feedback from some female students about how I was a resource to them was really fun. It was pleasantly surprising.

Q: What’s been your favorite part about your time here?

A: Getting to build the porch step for a tiny home for the Kenton Women’s Village with another volunteer; getting to see it start from beginning to end, making mistakes and getting to learn from them. That was very rewarding.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about RBC as a whole?

A: It has an amazing staff that is caring, competent, helpful, people-oriented. The staff here in the shop are wonderful as well!

Q: Are you sad to be leaving us for a little while?

A: I am. I've really enjoyed my time in the shop. It's a nice place to go and use the other side of my brain. It's a special treat to get to come in and get to work with wood.

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