Volunteers Are Key at The ReBuilding Center!

Each and every day ReBuilding Center volunteers help take in and sort donated materials. We would not be able to maintain the level of organized chaos that we do without the support of these wonderful and hardworking people. 2011 was a record year for volunteer service with a total of 1,866 individuals contributing a total of 19,018.5 volunteer hours! Over 580 people dropped in during our business hours to volunteer and over 1,275 people came with 55 different groups ranging from schools to businesses to other non-profits. 


We want to give a shout out to Central City Concern’s Community Volunteer Corps who contributed almost 2,000 hours of service in 2011, as well as Helensview High School (374.25 hours), Hands on Portland (357 hours) and Cornerstone Transition Program (280.5 hours). Although most of our volunteers helped in the ReBuilding Center warehouse, we also had 4 great interns, a dozen fantastic trade show volunteers, and 8 dedicated ReFind volunteers.

Want to get involved in 2012? Join in on one of our Hands on Greater Portland after-hours work parties or stop by the warehouse any time during business hours to lend a hand. There are exciting changes in the works to make 2012 more productive than ever! Learn more about volunteering on our volunteer page or contact Rosie McGown at volunteer@ourunitedvillages.org or 503.467.4985.

Storm Window Savvy

We received a wonderful note this past week. Tracy took the storm window class we offered in September. After completing the three part workshop, she went on to create storm windows for her home. See what she had to say below…

I made one window in the class and recently completed 13 storm windows for my 1922 house.  I am so happy that the original windows will be saved from this project and that the energy efficiency has increased.  I also fixed an original dormer window that had rotting wood… I was able to take what I learned from the class (initially I knew almost nothing about woodworking) and build on that. The teacher was patient with my many questions. I am extremely happy with the finished product and know it will last for many years. - Tracy

Photo of the September Sash Window Repair and Screen/Storm Window Building class.

Photo of the September Sash Window Repair and Screen/Storm Window Building class.

What do you want to learn this winter?

We have three winter classes that still have available spots. Sign up now to learn a new skill this winter and finally get that tiling project finished or give the gift of knowledge to a loved one with an interest in woodworking. 

Tile It Workshop:
Tuesday, 01/24/12 – 6pm - 9pm and Wednesday, 01/25/12 – 6pm - 9pm Full
*New* Introduction to Woodworking 102:
Friday, 01/13/12 – 6pm - 9pm and Saturday, 01/14/12 – 10am - 2pm Full
•*New* Building Bee Hives
Saturday, 01/07/12 – 10am - 1pm and Sunday, 01/08/12 – 11am - 2pm and Monday 01/09/12 – 6pm - 8pm 1 spot open Full

Missed the class you wanted to take? Don’t worry a full schedule of Spring classes will be out in the upcoming months. Classes fill up fast, if you don’t want to miss the opportunity be sure to subscribe  to our “Updates on new classes and workshops” newsletter.

In Case You Were Wondering…

How we determine what used materials The ReBuilding Center (TRC) accept

The ReBuilding Center accepts used building materials solely based on whether or not they are re-usable rather than how much they’re worth monetarily. If based on our working experience and industry knowledge, we can find a new home for a used item, we can accept it. There are donation guidelines (available on our website and hard copies upon request) TRC Salvage Specialists use to help determine what materials we can accept and those we cannot.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, federal law specifies tax-deductible donations must be in “good used condition or better.” Unfortunately, we can’t accept items damaged beyond reuse or used materials we can’t re-purpose. We also cannot accept materials containing hazardous substances, or deemed unsafe. On very rare occasions, we will implement a moratorium on a specific item when it’s overstocked.  The moratorium will be lifted as space becomes available. (For example, we currently have a moratorium on fiberglass tubs.)Whether we accept an item or not, we’re always grateful for anyone’s efforts to try and save materials rather than just discarding them as waste. We’ll always do our best to recommend other alternatives over waste for anything we cannot accept.

If you have questions regarding an item you’d like to donate, please view our donation guidelines or call 503-331-1877. All donations must be accepted in person by a TRC Salvage Specialist or a representative of our free pick-up service. The ReBuilding Center diverts up to 8 tons of used materials each day for reuse thanks to thousands of people like you who make the extra effort to keep reusable materials out of the waste stream. 

ReFind Storefront Opening Party

On the eve of Thursday November 13th, ReFind Furniture celebrated the commencement of the long awaited ReFind Furniture Showroom.

Friends, supporters and contributors gathered to celebrate the new space and to enjoy a crisp, beautiful fall evening with food, fun and laughter. The festivities were a wonderul culmination of a few years (and especially a few recent months) of hard work by everyone involved. Check it out!

We extend our sincere appreciation to all those who contributed their resources to make the ReFind Storefront a reality.

Please accept our warmest invitation to join us for the “Grand Opening” of the ReFind Furniture Storefront on November 22nd from 3-5pm. There will be Junk to Funk fashions modeled from 3-4, raffle prizes at 4 and of course snacks and beverages to go around! While there is still much work to be done to complete this beautiful space, we hope you will join us in celebrating the exciting developments already made! See you there!

DeConstruction for “Small Farm Incubator”

DeConstruction Services is finishing up a project just south of Sherwood, OR where a barn was deconstructed on a 58 acre farm. The property was purchased by Community by Design LLC, small farm incubator in an effort to explore alternate models of small-scale agriculture. close to the Portland metro area. The property will be tended to by multiple farming families who will operate independent small farming businesses.  Their “overarching goal is to pursue a permaculture approach to farming and land stewardship.” Learn more about Community by Design LLC Community by Design LLC

The new owners worked deconstruction into their budget because they saw the value in the materials in the barn and did not want to see them wasted. The materials from the deconstructed barn will be saved and be used to rebuild a couple barns on the property.

After the barn was deconstructed you could see the full impact and beauty of the space. The property has a year-round creek (Rock creek) and pond, water rights for irrigation, a total of three lots and three residences, varying topography, ~17 acres of mature blueberries and a lovely view of Mount Hood.

Learn more about DeConstruction Services or schedule your own free estimate.

Fall Brings Volunteers to The ReBuilding Center

At The ReBuilding Center we host hundreds of volunteers every year. The number of volunteers tend to slow down in the summer but come October they are back in full force! We are excited this year to welcome back many of the schools we have worked with in the past. Helensview School (picture above) and Cornerstone Transition Program bring students once a week. Mt. Scott Learning Centers, Oregon Episcopal School, Gilkey International Middle School, to name a few, also will be back this month and last weekend we had a group of Alpha Kappa Psi members from Oregon and Washington helping out.

We would not be able to do what we do without their amazing support. Thank you!

If you want to help out, join us for a volunteer work party on the evening of Thursday October 20th from 6-8pm hosted by Hands on Portland. Click here to learn more.

Inspire and be inspired!

The ReUse Ideas Project is finally underway! Starting tomorrow (October 1st) you can submit a creative reuse idea to share with The ReBuilding Center community. These ideas will be complied and added to our ReUse Idea Library as well as displayed in the Community Resource Area and around The ReBuilding Center warehouse. 


The ReUse Ideas Project was born from a desire to encourage people to engage in creative reuse. Creative reuse involves discovering new purposes for salvaged materials, such as turning a door into a table or using a chair as a planter. Creative reuse is a vital component of the ethos at The ReBuilding Center, where used materials often rely on the ingenuity of design to bring them back to life.

In addition to inspiring the community to incorporate creative reuse into their lives, everyone who submits an idea will receive a 10% discount on your next ReBuilding Center purchase as well as be entered to win a $25 gift card!

We currently have an array of projects available online. Including the Salvaged Wood and Pipe Table featured up top. New ideas are being added daily so come back often. Check out today’s featured project: Elevated Pet Bowls pictured above.

What type of projects would you like to see featured on our website? What are you most excited to share?

DeConstruction Service Featured in the Oregonian

Did you catch the article about DeConstruction Services of The ReBuilding Center on the front page of The Oregonian’s Oregon Living section? If you want to hear about someones experience first hand with DeConstruction Services and learn more about the industry in Portland check this article out.

When we decided to remodel our kitchen, we chose deconstruction… The bids we got—deconstruction vs. demolition—were virtually identical, plus we wouldn’t have to pay for a trash bin. What’s more, we would receive a tax deduction for the (nominal) value of the items we donated to the ReBuilding Center.—Naomi Kaufman Price

Get a free estimate for you project on the DeConstruction Services free estimate page or contact us at decon@rebuildingcenter.org or 503.331.9875.

Have you used DeConstruction Services for one of your projects? Share your experience in the comment section below!

Portland Youth Builders Working Hard and Supporting The ReBuilding Center

On Friday a group of 12 from Portland Youth Builders came out to volunteer for 5 hours! The group unload miscellaneous items, lighting, and tile from carts and helped them find a temporary home in the warehouse. They also helped clean out the community tree cob structure and the front of The ReBuilding Center warehouse for a Portlandia shoot which happened later in the afternoon. Most of the day was spent de-nailing lumber from one of our DeConstruction Services projects that was recently completed. 

We also had a group from Central City Concern’s Community Volunteer Corps helping out on Friday afternoon. We enjoy the company and hard work of CVC on a weekly basis.

What a group of fantastic, hardworking volunteers! Thank you!

Mississippi Ave Ice Cream Social

Last Wednesday brought out tons of neighbors for the 8th Annual Boise Neighborhood Ice Cream Social. Over 30 local businesses came together to celebrate our neighborhood and pass out ice cream cones to whom ever wanted one. We went through almost 6 gallons of ice cream in one hour (and we were only 1 of 30)!

Ural Thomas came out with his band in The ReBuilding Center donation area and provided great entertainment while we gobbled up scoops and scoops of ice cream. Join us next year to celebrate and thank Boise Neighborhood. View more photos on Flickr.

A HUGE thanks to the Historic Mississippi Business Association and everyone who worked hard to make this happen.

University of Portland Service Plunge Volunteers

Last Wednesday we had 29 students from University of Portland spend their morning volunteering in The ReBuilding Center warehouse. They helped de-nail wood, paint in the Community Resource Area, organize trim, molding, and tile.  These 29 students were just a fraction of the 130 total who were out in the community spending their first days in Portland learning about, and supporting, the local community before school starts next week. In addition to this group of UP students, a group of 10 students from Reed College come out for a few hours last Monday and two more UP groups will be joining us in the upcoming week! 

Volunteers are essential to the operations of The ReBuilding Center. We would not be able to maintain any sense of organization without their help, but more than anything else we love the fresh energy and welcoming volunteers into The ReBuilding Center family. Thank you to all of the volunteers who continue to help on a daily basis.

If you are interested in bringing a group of volunteers to The ReBuilding Center, or just want to learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Rosie McGown at volunter@ourunitedvillages.org.

Volunteer as ReFind Furniture Workshop Assistant

ReFind Furniture is currently searching for a few more volunteers to assist with the creation of picture frames and other home furnishings for the ReFind Furniture Show Room. Volunteers play a vital role in the creative process and production of items. Use your skills and creativity to inspire the community to do their own projects with salvaged materials.

If you have experience with woodworking and would like the opportunity to continue to build your skills than you may be a perfect fit! You can learn more about the position here or contact Rosie McGown at volunteer@ourunitedvillages.org or 503.467.4985.

Make a Reclaimed Lamp Terrarium

Looking for a cool way to reuse that old hanging lantern taking up space in your garage? How about create a terrarium out of it!

Materials you’ll need:
Reclaimed hanging lantern
Potting soil
Succulent plants

Tools you’ll need:

Remove hardware from a glass hanging lantern. Fill with rocks, potting soil, arrange succulents. Not only do the paned panels recall the look of traditional terrariums, but the piece also includes a convenient door — originally for changing light bulbs — which is perfect for the occasional rearrangement of the plants and rocks.

Adapted from:

Like this re-use idea? Sign up for our monthly creative reuse idea newsletter here.

Developer Chooses Deconstruction Over Demolition

The Daily Journal of Commerce ran an article today featuring developer Brad Fowler’s decision to choose deconstruction over demolition. Click here to read the full story.The ReBuilding Center’s DeConstruction Services crew and Driving Department team are reclaiming and transporting the materials. Our warehouse Salvage Specialists are finding new homes for the materials. And ReFind Furniture is developing visions for reuse. 
For more information about DeConstruction Services or to fill out our job estimate form, go to DeConstruction Services

Preserving the Past

DeConstruction Services is currently dismantling two large turn-of-the-century NE Portland buildings. Built in the early 1900’s, they total 11,439 sq ft of finished space. The larger structure features architectural splendors indicative of the era:  mahogany wainscoting, leaded glass, large double-pocket doors, and a brick veneer rising up to a high pitched roof with ornate overhangs. By choosing to deconstruct rather than demolish these buildings, the lumber saved for reuse is the equivalent of 189 trees left standing. For more information or to fill out our job estimate form, go to DeConstruction Services

TRC Drivers Bring in the Darndest Things!

This original 35’ wooden flagpole flew for 100 years at the Meier & Frank warehouse on NW 14th and Everett! Come visit The ReBuilding Center to see for yourself some of the amazing one-of-a-kind materials we have available for sale.

07/07/11 | 2 Comments | TRC Drivers Bring in the Darndest Things!


  • 1.Hooray that it won't be burned for firewood like the original one at Columbia Barracks, Fort Vancouver !

    FichenDich | May 2011 | Wood Village, OR

  • 2.It's nice to see one of our flagpoles that we made many years ago. Our company started to build wood flagpoles in 1885 and did so till we could no longer get the quality of wood we needed in the late 1970's. 

    We are still owned and operated by the fifth and sixth generation, in San Francisco. 

    Larry Bolander


Thank You Volunteer!

The ReBuilding Center has been gifted with an abundance of awesome volunteers. We hosted FIVE “alternative spring break” college groups during March—students who chose to give back rather than rest and relax. Pictured here is our lively volunteer group from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Volunteers make a huge difference in helping us keep the warehouse clean and organized. Their contributions constantly amaze us. We love our volunteers!  To find out more about how you can volunteer, go to: Volunteering at The ReBuilding Center

The ReBuilding Center Finds the Darnedest Things

I always enjoy the great finds that come in from our free pick up service tucked away in a cabinet or that our DeConstruction Services team unearth during a project. These are some of the items hanging around the office this week.

This old globe was saved from the dumpster. Couldn’t find a date but base on the countries, its definitely a few years (decades) old.

These are Oregonian issues from 1934! Looks like bikes were popular back then too (and big hats)! These came out of the current DeConstruction Services project in downtown Beaverton.

We also have a display of found items in the Community Resource Area of The ReBuilding Center, right behind the Community Tree Cob entrance.

See more photos of the items above here.