Hand-crafted Reclaimed Furniture from Urban Industrial NW

Welder/woodworker Greg Hostetter crafts one-of-a-kind reclaimed furniture out of materials he gets at the Rebuilding Center. The rich colors, warm tones and fascinating grains of reclaimed old-growth lumber characterize his pieces and inspire the artist in him.

After too many years working too many hours as a professional TIG welder, Hostetter left his demanding corporate job for self employment. He and his fiancée founded Urban Industrial NW about two years ago—he builds the furniture and she takes care of the marketing. He gets most of his wood from the Rebuilding Center, coming in at least three days a week to find wood with the rustic character he loves, complete with saw marks and blackening from old nails. “The Rebuilding Center is awesome. Everyone is so nice, the pricing is good and they do a lot for the community,” says Greg. “You never know what you’ll find”

Reclaimed wood takes a special eye, according to Greg. It may be hard to see through the dirt and muck accumulating on a board as it sits around for years, but he loves the magic of that “oh my gosh” moment when refinishing reveals the vibrant golden tones within. Not only is reclaimed wood better than newly harvested product, Greg’s glad no one’s cutting down a forest for his furniture.

Life as a craftsman is good for Greg. Instead of working 60 hours a week for a big company, he gets to spend more time with his family and express his creativity. 90 percent of his work is custom orders, and he puts the rest in his Etsy shop. View his work there and on his Facebook page and get inspired for Creative Reuse!

New to PDX Event @ The Rebuilding Center

Friday, December 11th
6pm - 8pm
The Rebuilding Center
3625 N. Mississippi avenue

Want to meet new people? Do you like to be hands-on? Want to promote reuse? Come to The Rebuilding Center's New To PDX event and join up with like-minded individuals and build a friend base here in your new city!  Local volunteers are a vibrant and wonderful part of the Rose City.  Meet some new folks and help keep usable materials out of the waste stream.  We meet up every second Friday of every month.

Home Repair Help for Cully Seniors

Article by Annelise Kelly

For over 20 years, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI) has reinvested in Portland’s neighborhoods, preserved their diversity and provided tools to help low-income Portland families achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

Other programs operated by the PCRI include:

  • Homeownership Education and Counseling
  • Homeownership Retention
  • Financial Wellness
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDA)
  • Youth Programs
  • Community Centers
  • Community Information and Referral Services

More info on PCRI's website

#GivingTuesday De-nailing Party

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#GivingTuesday is not just about money, you can give back to your community by volunteering time with a deconstruction de-nailing party. Be apart of salvaging resources for reuse in a fun and hands-on way! We’ve created a special event this #GivingTuesday, December 1st at a site on NE 9th (near Broadway). Come prepared with steel toed boots. 

Forecast: looks like it isn’t going to rain! But it will be cold, so dress for the weather.

A few other things to remember:

-We can provide all volunteers with steel-toed boots. If you have your own, please wear them. Otherwise, let us know your shoe size and we'll have some ready for you!

-Volunteers that are under the age of 18 must have a youth waiver signed by a parent or gaurdian.

-Denailing requires gloves and eye protection, so please supply what you can.  We have extras for volunteer use, but it is nice to use your own!

Our Deconstruction services offer an affordable and sustainable alternative to conventional demolition. Working by hand, our crews salvage for reuse up to 85% of a buildings major components. A crucial step in these materials' journey towards reuse is the extraction of their nails, screws and staples. 

Team up with other volunteers and help us do our part in keeping more building materials out of the waste stream!

Here’s an article on GivingTuesday’s website on what it means to give through volunteering!


Friday Sale, Giving Tuesday + Holiday Tree Lighting

We’ve got some holiday fun lined up for you!

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but reopen the next day for a...


November 27th
15% OFF all light fixtures & glass shades
50% OFF all tile
Regular hours: 10AM - 6PM

then on Saturday...


November 28th
Mississippi Commons (between N. Failing and N. Beech St.)

  • Starts at 5PM / live entertainment at 6PM
  • Free treats, cocoa and teas provided by Oregon Deli Co., Townshend’s Tea Company and New Seasons Market
  • Pick up your Holiday Passports - shop and dine on Miss. Ave. participating businesses for prizes and a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE.

After you've enjoyed a big sale, joined us in a community even, it's time to give back.


December 1st

10% of proceeds from purchases made at the Rebuilding Center as well as many other business on Mississippi Ave will go towards Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School. We are proud to be a part of this opportunity to support our kids. Shop at The Rebuilding Center to raise funds for Boise-Eliot School on #givingtuesday! #Oregoniansgive

Trashcans for Sustainable Mississippi Ave

Katy Wolf (Boise Neighborhood board member) talks about our involvement with the Mississippi Ave trashcans that were installed 13 years ago. Because they are paid for by the street and not the city, it can take years to properly deal with the maintenance requirements. We helped move and scrap some of the cans that were beyond repair, others we committed to trying to mend the cracks. Right now Sustainable Mississippi - a Portland, OR neighborhood is drafting plans for new trashcans - check the link for more info. Thanks Tom! Thanks Jarod!

"A BIG thank you to Tom Patzkowski of the The Rebuilding Center for helping to take care of some of the most neglected trash cans on Mississippi Ave. It's not well known, but all the cans were installed about 13 years ago through a community partnership, and the Cloudburst pickups are paid for by the Mississippi Ave Business Association (not the City). However, because it's not anyone's responsibility to actually maintain the cans, it can take YEARS to get maintenance addressed.

The can at Interurban was cracked beyond repair, and had to be thrown out. The one from the John Palmer house was moved there instead, and it has cracking but may be reparable, so Jarod from Rebuilding Center will try to repair it. Thank you!

If you're interested in this topic, you may want to check out a draft plan of recommendations on creating new cans for the street (www.sustainablemississippi.com/trash-can-project.html). The plan won't move forward without business owner and association leadership, so until then, we'll keep repairing what we have and leaving it up to individual business owners to provide exterior cans if they are able to. We appreciate the service that providing cans adds to our community livability, health and hygiene, and that the HMBA pays for their pickup service.

Also, a side note that Williams Ave. Business Association is moving forward with a trash can committee to create new cans. More coming on that soon."

- Katy Wolf, Boise board member

Go to Sustainable Mississippi Ave's website

Reclamation Administration article, "Drowning in Demolition"

Adding to the list of reasons why deconstruction is beneficial: water conservation.

In this eye-opening The Reclamation Administration article, Sara Baiali recounts a morning biking past the demolition site of the old Wonder Bread HQ and notices the hoses wetting down all the materials. She later discovers that those hoses are not only pumping more than a gallon per square foot of building being demolished but that the water is actually being landfilled for the hazardous waste it accumulates in the process!

Deconstruction does not consume water like demolition because it does not require the dust suppression technology required by Oregon and EPA guidelines. Save thousands of gallons of water that is going into our sewers and landfills! Share about deconstruction.

Link to article

Home Fixated talks Keen + Rebuilding Center


Read the full article here.

Close to home, we toured the Our United Villages ReBuilding Center. The ReBuilding Center is a huge, warehouse-like facility that accepts the region’s largest volume of used building and remodeling materials. Their goal is to keep as much of this material as possible from ending up in a landfill. They even have their own DeConstruction Services unit, which can dismantle pretty much any building, salvaging up to 85% of its major components for reuse. Some materials, such as cement and drywall, end up getting crushed and recycled. Much of the remainder is available to the public at a very reasonable price. Everything from a small piece of trim to a huge timber beam from an old industrial building, plumbing fixtures, doors, windows, mantels, hardware…if it was in a building, you’ll probably find it here.

KEEN Utility partnered with Our United Villages in 2014. After donating 28 pairs of boots to the center’s full-time volunteers, they donated another 40 pairs of steel-toed shoes to establish a Volunteer Shoe Library. DeConstruction volunteers can check out a pair, sort of like you would at a bowling alley, only without the big heavy balls, cheap beer and greasy pizza. This keeps their tootsies safe and comfortable while they spend the day de-nailing lumber, stacking and bundling materials, grading lumber, and so on.

Building The Commons: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays weekly

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Building The Commons at Rebuilding Center: Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from  10:30am to 3:00pm weekly until the project is complete

Time Commitment: Jump in when and where you can! It would be best to see the project to completion, yet we’re happy to involve anyone who’s handy in a wood shop (or wants to be). 

Here's a chance to get involved, hands-on, in some Creative Reuse! The Rebuilding Center has been working with a team of designers to create a wonderful new space. Help renovate The Commons to serve as a welcoming place for the community. When completed, The Commons of The ReBuilding Center will show off dozens of volunteers' work and commitment while telling the story of Our United Villages through salvaged building material.

We are forming a team of carpenters to see this vision out! If you are interested in carpentry and cabinetry, contact Dave to put together a time to meet with the team!

City of Portland Offering Deconstruction Grants

The Rebuilding Center has been on the forefront of deconstruction in Portland since our first project in 1999. As Portland develops at a breakneck pace, the value of this sustainable practice is increasingly recognized. Now the city is onboard! Grant awards range from $500 for partial projects, to $2,500 for full deconstruction, and are limited to projects involving the full removal of a house or duplex within Portland City limits. The first round of funding ends December 31, 2015, so get those applications in! Go to ExploreDecon.com for more grant info or learn more about our services on our Deconstruction page.

Tile Mosaics

Next time you’re visiting Rebuilding Center, be sure to visit the bathrooms! Mosaic artist and long-time staffer, Mayela Alvarado created the bright and colorful recycle sign in the Women's room. And Dan Borg brings our logo to life with this triple-hammer still life in the men’s room.

“I get so much pleasure in taking items that have been discarded and transforming them into lasting works of art” says Dan—and all our customers feel the same way! Check out more of Dan’s work at www.borgmosaics.com.

Mayela says that the Women's bathroom tile mosaic piece was only her second project after the mosaic class she took!

Come by our tile section to create your own reclaimed masterpiece.

Volunteer Spotlight: Shabani Butoyi

Shabani started volunteering at Rebuilding Center in July 2015. With his passion for helping people, he finds the work here rewarding and enjoys the variety of ways he can be of service, and the variety of people he meets. He also enjoys sports: he runs and plays basketball, and volunteers at his school for track meets. Shabani came to Portland with his family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, seeking a better life as refugees. With his passion for helping people and his ambition to become an engineer or doctor, we know he’ll keep making a better life for himself and his family as well as his community.

Thanks Shabani!

Trade Show Training: Wednesday, November 11th

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Trade Show Training
November 11th
6:30pm to 7:30pm

Time Commitment: After training, 3 - 8 hour shifts available throughout the year. Each event is different and flexible, so let us know what works for you!

Once a year, we offer this training to those of you who enjoy getting out in the community and connecting with people at events. We go to Trade Shows, Fix-It-Fairs, Sunday Parkways, Environmental Expos and many other community events. Tabling at these events is all about building connections and sharing your experience with, and knowledge of, The Rebuilding Center. We have a great line-up of community events on the schedule and look forward to involving all of you in the community outreach and information sharing. 

You will receive an email reminder 24 hrs prior the the event. Sign up below:

Name *

Volunteer Leader Training on Wednesday, October 28th

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Volunteer Leader Training:
Wednesday, October 28th
6:30pm to 7:30pm

Time Commitment: After training, 3 hour shifts - on your own schedule! Volunteer Leaders fill slots on the schedule as they see fit.

It’s that time again where we provide you with an opportunity to take the reigns of our leadership and community engagement efforts by getting trained as a Volunteer Leader! VL’s have the unique opportunity to act in a guiding, delegating, and supporting role for the many projects underway at The Rebuilding Center. The training consists of two parts: a one-hour class room portion when we review the position and go over some of the basic responsibilities, and a shadowing portion alongside a Salvage Specialist staff member.

We spend the classroom hour going over the Volunteer Leader Handbook so you know where to find all the resources you need to excel as a leader. The shadowing portion allows you see, first-hand, where and how you can use your new knowledge! Ranging from material identification and common usages to pointers on how to work effectively with diverse populations, the training is geared towards empowering existing volunteers to take a more involved role with our communities through leadership. 

To sign up, email volunteer@rebuildingcenter.org


Dan Archer Sketches for Social Justice

The Community Legacy Program is a project of Rebuilding Center which engages and strengthens the social fabric of our community through storytelling.

Let’s meet artist Dan Archer. Dan sketches as “a kind of graphic slow journalism.” Sean O’Connor, our Outreach and Strategic Coordinator, connected with Dan at a conference on community engagement and journalism.

In this short film, Sean explores Dan’s unique and personal approach to how he sees and records the world, as he engages with people through his art. Check out Dan’s website to learn more about his eclectic background of service, politics and activism: he’s been involved in game-changing projects in India and Nepal as well as the US and Great Britain.

Rebuilding Center Staff Get Crafty for Creative Reuse Day

To celebrate National Reuse Day, we wanted to give you some inspiration to create your own reuse projects! Check out what our crafty staff members at The Rebuilding Center have made out of repurposed materials.

Kelly Stevens, the office manager at the Rebuilding Center created this cute, crafty and very Northwest scarf hanger. Kelly purchased the fixture from us a couple of years ago to store her Timbers Army scarves and wood goal coin!

Michael McMahon shared his inspiring ADU's (Accessory Dwelling Units) he hand crafted out of materials from the Rebuilding Center warehouse in his backyard.

Tom Patzkowski laid his own pavers with a successful little wall that sections off his side hard.

shed doors creative reuse lumber

Sean O'Connor is in the process of moving into a small home with his family 4 where they are utilizing all the spaces on the property. Here you can see the shed walls that he has created with different stained pieces of lumber from our lumberyard.

Share your creative reuse projects with us and receive a 10% off discount! Email us at: communications@rebuildingcenter.org!

National Reuse Day: Rebuilding Center x Pistils | Terrarium Workshop

In celebration of National Reuse Day, join us for a fun workshop on repurposing old glass light fixtures into terrariums!

One air plant, a light fixture, rocks, sand and other decorative items will be available for each participant. 

Pistils Nursery has also provided an additional 30% off discount in their store up the street if you'd like to get more elaborate with your ideas during the workshop (for October 20th only).

We have a limited capacity, only 12 spots are available. 

All you need to bring is your creative selfs and $5 cash.

October 20th
6pm - 7pm
Rebuilding Center Commons
3625 N. Mississippi Ave.

Email workshops@rebuildingcenter.org with any questions.

Name *

Mississippi Avenue Ice Cream Social

Last Tuesday, the Mississippi Avenue community hosted an ice cream social for the public.  Participating organizations included the ReBuilding Center, Laughing Planet, Radar Restaurant, Mississippi Pizza Pub, Salty's Pet Supply, and countless others. Here are a few photos that highlight the success of the event:

Thanks to all who participated in making this event a success!

Photos: Sean O'Connor/Our United Villages

Keen Provides Utility Volunteer Boot Library

Here's a loving post from Keen's blog about our relationship and their support of our volunteer's toes. Click here to see the full article.

Here's an excerpt:

"We recently teamed up with our friends at the ReBuilding Center to create a boot library! The ReBuilding Center is one of KEEN’s favorite non-profits, located just a short bike ride away from our headquarters in Portland, OR. They specialize in providing reclaimed building materials at little or no cost for individuals, small businesses, and other grassroots organizations looking to complete a project. They also provide deconstruction services as a sustainable alternative to conventional demolition.

It’s run by a small staff and over 2,000 volunteers, who all require sturdy, steel toe boots when working at the center or helping with a demolition. We recently met with Sean O’Connor, the Strategic Coordinator at ReBuilding Center, who said that mandating steel toe footwear for deconstruction projects has decreased their volunteer pool. “A lot of people came in to help but couldn’t do the tasks because they didn’t have the proper footwear,” he explained."

Outreach and Strategic Coordinator, Sean O’Connor

Walking into the workroom

The handcrafted entrance made entirely of repurposed materials

We caught Mayela mid-laugh. She’s longtime employee and an expert glass cutter

The KEEN boot library at the Rebuilding Center


Just when we thought we saw all of the center, we turned a corner and found the expansive lumber yard

Another entrance to the Rebuilding Center

A pair of KEENs on the job

Every color in the cabinet rainbow

The view of TRC along Mississippi street