With Our Own Two Hands

We have a lot to celebrate this year. Although it did not go far enough, the Paris Agreement, within the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, was a giant step forward. For the first time ever, a clear international commitment was made to keep a significant portion of remaining hydrocarbons in the ground. Drafted in December 2015, the agreement “opens for signature” on Earth Day—April 22, 2016. 

Community members and organizations in Oregon have echoed the sentiment of the Paris Agreement by organizing to apply pressure on decision makers to move away from carbon-based fuels and toward a sustainable future. Thanks to these grassroots efforts, last month landmark victories were achieved to keep new LNG and coal projects out of Oregon.

And there’s been good news even closer to home. In February, Portland’s City Council passed a groundbreaking resolution to make deconstruction mandatory for all homes built more than 100 years ago that are scheduled for demolition (about 33% of single-family demolitions). The process of deconstruction will save millions of pounds of valuable building materials for reuse that would otherwise be put into the landfill. This new ordinance will reduce atmospheric carbon by roughly 800 tons per year while generating 20-25 new living-wage, permanent jobs. The ReBuilding Center is thankful for all who came together to vocalize your support for this resolution. Our DeConstruction Services department is excited to grow, and our store looks forward to offering more materials to the community!

These important policy developments, from the international to the local level, did not take place because politicians decided they were good things to do. They occurred because community members worked for them from the bottom up: we organized; we applied pressure; and, at long last, politicians acted. 

In the work we do and the incredible people we encounter every day at the ReBuilding Center, I am constantly reminded of the words of Desmond Tutu, painted on the front of our building: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

We invite you to join us as volunteers at the ReBuilding Center to be part of that change you want to see in the world—only together can we can create a sustainable community, environment, and economy. And so I will close with the lyrics fit for Earth Day from Ben Harper:

I can change the world
with my own two hands…
with our own
with our own two hands

or watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEnfy9qfdaU. If you haven’t heard it, it’s a great tune. Enjoy! 

Stephen Reichard
Executive Director

It’s National Volunteer Week and Earth Day is right around the corner! We’ve got a lot of volunteer opportunities for you in these next two weeks. Here is a list of volunteer opportunities to give back to the community and support environmental protection!

Table at the Fox Tower Sustainability Fair

Fox Tower is coordinating an event for eco-friendly, sustainable and local vendors. This would be a chance for you to spread awareness of the mission and goals of the ReBuilding Center to the business community in Portland and reach a wide range of people. This event will be held in the Fox Tower lobby April 21-22, Thursday and Friday; 11am-1pm.

Get exclusive tickets to events through volunteering with Wave PDX

We are excited to host some volunteers from wave this Thursday. Haven’t heard of them? They incentivize volunteerism through events where the only way to get tickets is by volunteering time in the community. Next month, Revolution Hall hosts Kurt Vile for an exclusive concert!

Glean materials from Metro Central

Work with us to visit the Metro Central Transfer station twice a week in order to keep usable building materials out of the waste stream! Twice weekly, we are organizing volunteer opportunities at the transfer station for those interested in sustainable waste management and getting a "behind the scenes" look at how we can help!

Available on Monday's and Thursdays from noon to 3pm, this project is looking for volunteers that can dedicate multiple trips in a row. Safety training and orientation on-site will be provided for your first shift. 

Spring and Summer Internships now open!

Every year, interns with ReBuilding Center take on amazing projects with our efforts to build communities with greater social and environmental vitality. If you, or someone you know, can benefit from a 3-6 month internship or a prolonged volunteer opportunity, consider working with us! Internship opportunities include: 

  • Creative ReUse Library Curator
  • Administrative Assistant Intern
  • Volunteer Coordinator Intern
  • Salvage Specialist Intern
  • Volunteer Leader

Don't see anything that interests you? Let us know! We love to create opportunities for those committed to better world. Areas of interest where we have created internships in the past: 

  • Community Health
  • Social Justice
  • DeConstruction
  • Film/Photography content management

Monthly Volunteer Event

Thursday, April 14th, 6pm - 8pm

The second Thursday of every month is our after-hours volunteer event! It’s coming up quick, so grab your spot and get together with other volunteers from around the Portland area to enjoy a night of light-hearted material salvage. There’s a happy hour at StormBreaker Brewing to follow. Volunteers receive 25% off!

Help us reign in our Tile Area!

We are looking for a dedicated volunteer to take on our ever-growing tile area. Our wonderful volunteer, Bobby, has moved on to bigger and better things and we're looking for someone to fill her shoes. Check out the video we put together highlighting Bobby and her work with us!

The work done at the ReBuilding Center is all about creating opportunities for our community to become more equitable, vibrant, and sustainable. Volunteers like you are the backbone of our mission. If you have an interest in reducing waste, engaging in your community, and making a better world, come on out and hang with us - we'd love to see you!


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