Window Reuse Ideas

We have all seen old windows up for grabs on our neighborhood forums and in the aisles of The Rebuilding Center. Once you’ve snagged these single pane lead-filled beauties, what next? Here are some ideas of how you can reimagine old or unneeded windows. 

Coat Rack

Supplies Needed

  • Window
  • Knobs or hooks
  • 1"x4” piece of lumber
  • Screws to fasten it all together
  • Your favorite images

Cut your piece of lumber to size and fasten to the top of your window frame. This will be a shelf for your coat rack. Find your favorite knobs and hook and attach them to the front bottom of your window frame.  Glue or tape your favorite images of your friends and family to the back of the window facing forward.  That is all that this quick DIY project takes. You can always finish the shelf with paint to match your window frame. With the exception of your favorite images, all the items can be found at the Rebuilding Center. 

NOTE: To avoid splitting of the wood, pre-drill smaller holes in your frame before fastening screws. 


Supplies Needed

  • Window 
  • Knobs or hooks
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • Screws to fasten your hardware



This is another simple DIY project. Paint the glass pane with your favorite colored chalkboard paint. Fasten your favorite hardware, keep in mind your needs based on where you will place your chalkboard. If you will have it in your kitchen, it could be cute to hang tea towels or your favorite coffee mug. If you want to hang it in your office or kid's room think about the hardware you will need for your use. Some alternatives to using chalkboard paint are dry erase board paint or magnetic paint. Once the paint is dry, you are ready to go!


Supplies Needed

  • Window frame
  • 1"x6” piece of lumber
  • Hook screw
  • Chain
  • Screws to fasten your lumber
  • Potted plant

This DIY project is great for an empty window frame or broken window reuse. Carefully remove the glass from your frame. Cut the lumber to the length of your window frame. Ensure that the 1"x6” is wide enough to provide stability to your frame. You can use wider or narrower wood depending on the height of your frame. Fasten the lumber to your frame with screws. Pre-drill a smaller hole and screw your hook in the top of the inside of the frame. Before you add your plant to your pot, drill holes for the chain. We used a metal pot; you may have different requirements depending on the type of pot you use. Ensure that the chain is the right length based on where you want the pot to hang. Connect the pot to the chain, add your favorite plant and hang the chain on the hook. 


Supplies Needed

  • Lumber 
  • Screws
  • Hinges
  • Knob

This DIY project requires more cutting and fastening than the above projects and could be a nice day project. The dimensions of your cabinet will depend on the size of your window. For this one I used 1"x2", 1"x6", and 1"x8" pieces of lumber for the sides and the back. I also used two rows of 1"x2" for the shelves. Your window will be the door. I measured the length of my window and added an additional 5". I added 2" to the bottom so the door doesn’t drag on the ground and I added 3" to the top so I can have an exterior shelf. Fasten three sides of your cabinet together using a 1"x2" strip for the rear and 2"x2" for the sides which also doubled as what will hold my shelving in place. So ensure the placement of the 2"x2"s on the sides match. Also make sure all the lumber is even height to avoid any teetering that might occur. Next cut the shelving and place it on the 2"x2" strips. You can fasten it in place but there is really no need. I found it easiest to place the cabinet on its back to install the door (window). Placing your hinges strait and at the same depth is important for the door to swing open with ease. Add your hardware and you are ready to go!

NOTE: The window I used was very heavy so when the cabinet was open it would tilt forward. This standing cabinet will have to be mounted to the wall to use.  

Vanport Mosaic is hosting a film festival in May

The desire to come together to preserve & discuss the memories & stories surrounding the story of Vanport, as well as, learn how they’ve impacted us today is truly inspiring. Read on to see how tragedy can be a learning experience and a chance at community growth and understanding.

Talk about the building of community! “The Vanport Mosaic initiative is a response to a growing desire to honor the legacy of the Vanport community and the 1948 flood, which started an overwhelmingly homogeneous Portland and Oregon down the path toward interracial progress.” The initiative aims to document and tell the stories of those connected to Vanport.

This last month, the ReBuilding Center hosted Laura Lo Forti of the Vanport Mosaic. She led the workshop in discussion as they shared skillsets around oral history, storytelling and spoke about ethical issues that occur when telling other people's stories. They also worked on interviewing skills and video shooting. With these developed skillsets they are now ready to go out and capture the stories of Vanport.

In May, The Vanport Mosaic project will bring together many of these stories, as well as, others at Vanport Mosaic Festival 2016. This event will be held at the site in commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the flood that took place in 1948. The festival will include music, dance, theater, film, poetry, lectures, tours, an historical exhibit, and dance.

One participant in the recent workshop, Todd Fadel, summed up the experience with this statement,

This project symbolizes and encapsulates something I’ve been trying to articulate for a decade - how can a portlander model consideration for the discarded voices of our community in a way that inspires a new thought process far from blame and guilt?

Want to join in the discussion regarding Vanport and the Vanport Mosaic initiative? Check out their website

Salvage Works Reuses Vintage Lumber from Deconstructed Buildings to Make Beautiful Furniture

- by Whitney Laucks

Salvage Works is owned and operated by brother and sister team Preston and Rachel Browning.  They opened their doors in 2010, and in 2015 were able to upgrade to a 25,000 square foot facility in the historic Kenton neighborhood.  Inspired by their mother, who was an architect that practiced green building techniques even before such customs had been given a name, these siblings decided to follow in her footsteps and reuse local, vintage lumber and turnit into something new and beautiful.  

All lumber that Salvage Works uses is reclaimed from deconstructed barns and houses.  Even though these historic monuments may be falling apart as is, by recycling their invaluable material the Prestons are able to keep Oregon history alive. This is wood that is simply unavailable otherwise, and this crew knows the story behind every incredible piece of furniture that they create.  For instance the beautiful bar from Swift and Union seen in the picture below was made out of the lumber from this barn in Canby originally constructed in the 1920’s. 

Everything is made by hand with skilled craftsmanship and a great of team people who committed, not only to reuse, but to the preservation of Oregon History.  Every Third Thursday of the month Salvage Works hosts a celebration of this kind of carpentry and sculptural work, usually accompanied by live local music and libations.

MON-SAT 9-6, SUN 11-4

Camp SCRAP informs children about Creative Reuse

At Camp SCRAP kids from first through sixth grade are given the opportunity to explore the vast opportunities of creative reuse. Each day participants are educated about the fun and inventive ways recycled materials can be used in new and interesting ways.  For instance, one child took an old CD case and turned it into a bird feeder.  There are portions of the day dedicated to scheduled activities lead by staff members. There is also always allotted time for free building to allow the campers to let their individual creativity run loose with access to a craft supply wall that has loads of materials to reuse. Areas that are predominately showcased are Collage/Assemblage, Sculpture, Drawing/Painting, and Sewing.

SCRAP also offers many other educational creative reuse opportunities. Preschoolers to College students can schedule field trips to SCRAP for a unique and hands on experience with reducing excess by reusing materials.  Students will take away an informed vocabulary of this concept as well a true understanding of how important these practices are and how fun and creative this process can be.  These trips are easily customizable based on age group, number of kids, special needs or any other additional requirements. If a field trip is not possible to organize SCRAP will happily visit classrooms to give a one hour tutorial on the amazing benefits of reusability.

Every year SCRAP partners up with one local school that is lacking in art funding to donate reused material and crafts.  They also offer education and insight on projects and activities.  In turn each year’s highlighted school documents their artistic endeavors to further inspire education in the arts and in creative reuse.  Previous schools that have been involved in this program include Rigler Elementary, Whitman Elementary and The Ivy School.

In 1998 a group of teachers were desperate to find a way to avoid throwing away leftover classroom materials each year and decided to incept SCRAP. They originally brought these items to a Portland Public School’s resource space, A Teacher’s Space, for other teachers and administrators to use.  This didn’t prove to be impactful enough, so in 1999 Joan Grimm and group of her peers applied for and received a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to open a resuse center for the whole community.  We, the ReBuilding Center, were the first to donate a space for them to operate in.  In 2013 SCRAP PDX redirected over 140 tons of usable material from the waste stream.  In other words, SCRAP not only rules, but they are the arts and crafts equivalent to ReBuilding Center!

For more information or to sign up for Camp SCRAP or to learn more about SCRAP’s vision and educational opportunities please visit

Decon '16 - Notes From A Conference

Decon '16 - Notes From A Conference
- written by Stephen Reichard, Executive Director

"Wow! For those of you who have met me, and those I have not yet met, I am a novice - a babe in the woods; a colt; a cub; a fledgling – to the world of deconstruction, reuse, reclaim, and repurpose. So it was with considerable anticipation and trepidation that I approached my first BMRA (Building Materials Reuse Association) Deconstruction conference in Raleigh this week.

Where to begin? Let’s start in Savannah, GA where, in 2009, Emergent Structures took down 200 units of housing built in 1943 for shipbuilders as part of the war effort. Following the war, these homes became public housing and, like so much other public housing in the United States, eventually a blighted neighborhood, a haven for crime, and drug use – a place that terrified the very people who lived there. Emergent Structures inventoried the site, creating a three dimensional shopping market on-line that described the materials that were to come out of these 200 units. And they put the materials on line – so that contractors hired to redevelop the site could pre-order materials on-line.

As I came to discover, Heart Pine is to the East Coast as Doug Fir is to the Pacific Northwest. You can’t reuse studs, right? So Emergent Structures worked with a manufacturer and turned those Heart Pine studs into trusses. Reclaimed materials on site were turned into construction materials for the redevelopment of the public housing project. This created happy, healthy homes for the folks who were living in this once blighted community.

Beautiful heart pine trusses, made from salvaged heart pine 2x4s, can be seen here.

There are 230,000 public housing units in the United States that need to come down. How can we transform lives and communities through an ethic of reuse and repurpose?

In Springfield, MA, Pam Howland, 70 years young, refurbishes windows from abandoned factories being repurposed for loft living, removing the windows, stripping and repairing the wood, removing the caulk, refinishing them and replacing the glass, before returning the windows to the repurposed factory, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars and preventing the construction of 900 windows – and the consequent carbon footprint arising from their manufacture – in one building alone.

Pam teaches young, single mothers how to do this work. A single, large window generates up to $650 in revenue. Three windows a week is not out of the question, providing a living wage to a single mother who might otherwise struggle in this depressed rust-belt city.

In Philadelphia, PA, Greg Trainor (Philadelphia Community Corps) has bootstrapped a deconstruction business into a job training business. And while their measured output is jobs, they generate materials and rejuvenate neighborhoods in blighted North Philly.

And in Vermont, three friends have come together to create a workers’ cooperative that promises ownership in the business to hired workers within six months to a year of employment, helping the underemployed to gain job skills and capital as they seek to build a future for themselves by reclaiming materials. 

For-profit or not-profit, and beyond the ethic of repurpose, reuse and reclaim, every organization in attendance seemed to hold as a fundamental principle the concept of justice: livable wages with benefits; hiring ex-cons, women, POC. Like no other industry in which I’ve ever worked, there is at its core the understanding that sustainability is not just about the environment; it’s about human systems interacting with our environment in a way that enables both the humans and the environment to thrive. I love this place! "

In a nutshell...

In a nutshell...

Stephen attended the Decon '16 Conference February 29th - March 2nd in Raleigh, NC.


The untold story of the only black man on the Lewis & Clark Expedition-York comes to Portland on March 12 and 13

The ReBuilding Center and the Native American Youth and Family Center invite you to attend York, a powerful one-man play about the only black man on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

David Casteal plays York as “a whirlwind, a force of nature, a vital, laughing, raging bundle of muscle and brain” (Jim Kershner, The Spokesman-Review).

Proceeds benefit NAYA’s Early College Academy and the ReBuilding Center’s Community Outreach Program. Each performance is preceded by spoken word by Native American students in the Early College Academy.

Showtimes: 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 12 & 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 13 –  short Q&A panel to follow

Location:     Jefferson High School Auditorium (5210 N Kerby Ave.)

Tickets:        Purchase advance tickets at ($7.00 for students and $12.00 for adults or $15.00 at the door). To inquire about group ticket sales, please email


March 12th
Saturday Evening

6:30 p.m. - doors
7:00 p.m.

Spoken word performance
Play begins

8:40 p.m. - Play wraps

10 minute intermission

8:50 p.m. - Q & A

9:15 p.m. - Close

March 13th
Sunday Matinee

1:30 p.m. - doors
2:00 p.m.

Spoken word performance
Play begins

2:40 p.m. - Play wraps

10 minute intermission

2:50 p.m. - Q & A

3:15 p.m. - Close


York tells the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the eyes of York, William Clark’s childhood companion and slave. The RBC and NAYA are proud to share this story of people of colors' contributions to this iconic event in Pacific Northwest history. It’s a slice of American history rarely told, from a perspective rarely heard.

Directed by Susan Hardie, York was conceived by two Spokane-based talents, actor and African drummer David Casteal and playwright Bryan Harnetiaux. York has been performed across the Northwest to packed houses and standing ovations. In a stirring performance, Casteal weaves the story of York’s challenges and accomplishments, blending gripping first-person narration with energetic, live African drumming and traditional Native American drum recordings. Although York proved an important participant in the Expedition, he was not recognized as a member of the Corps of Discovery until nearly 200 years after the Expedition. In 2001, President Clinton posthumously awarded York the rank of Honorary Sergeant in the Corps of Discovery.


David Casteal, actor: Casteal is a sixth-grade teacher and expert African drummer. He has a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology.

Susan Hardie Director.png

Susan Hardie, director: Hardie directed the original 2005 production of York in Spokane. She acts and directs throughout the Northwest.

Bryan Harnetiaux, playwrite: Harnetiaux has been Playwright-in Residence at Spokane Civic Theatre since 1982. He has written over 40 plays.


Ron Craig, master of ceremonies: Craig is a filmmaker and author with a 17-year history with York, beginning with a documentary in 1999, “Who Was York? A New Look at the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

For the Q&A Panel, David Casteal and Bryan Harnetiaux will be joined by:

Se-ah-dom Edmo, panelist, is coordinator of the Indigenous Ways of Knowing program at Lewis & Clark College. Her published works include Tribal Equity Toolkit: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit & LGBT Justice in Indian Country, Identity Wars: A Comparative Ethical Critique of the Debate Over Indian Identity, and a book entitled American Indian Identity: Citizenship, Membership, and Blood. Her tribal affiliations are Shoshone-Bannock, Yakama, and Nez Perce. 

Roger Wendlick, panelist, is a nationally recognized Lewis & Clark historian and author. He compiled the most significant collection of Lewis and Clark literature anywhere in the world, donatedhis materials to Lewis & Clark College and wrote a memoir about his collecting days.

Spoken Word Performance
ECA Student Poet Group: Rebels on Stage

Manuel Jackson (Klamath Modoc), Aaron Lilly (Navajo), J’Laina Grimm (Kickapoo Winnebago), Paulina Gutierrez (Inupiaq), Talise Mendoza-Green (Klamath)


Want more historical background on York?

To learn more about the fascinating tale the unofficial member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, watch this half-hour documentary: Oregon Experience: Searching for York, produced by OPB.

Article provided by the Oregon Historical Society:

York of the Corps of Discovery: Interpretations of York’s Character and His Role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition

FALL 2003, 104:3

Take a Stand for Deconstruction!


Wednesday, February 17th
City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave.

sign up to testify by 1:30
hearing starts at 2:30

In 2015, 337 homes in Portland came down. Of those, only about 30 were deconstructed. The cost to our community, and to our planet, in terms of waste to the landfill, increased atmospheric carbon, not to mention the loss of valuable materials (that could have helped build a sustainable Portland) are calculable.

·      4,800 tons of materials sent to the dump

·      7,200 tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere

·      720,000 gallons of water wasted

·      4,800 tons of materials with a market value of more than $5,000,000 that could have been re-used or re-purposed to build a more sustainable Portland

In addition, the opportunity to create dozens of meaningful jobs with good pay and good benefits is lost.  

On February 17the Portland City Council will consider a resolution that will mandate that all homes built more than 100 years ago must be deconstructed. The hearing begins at 2:30PM.

The resolution would direct BPS to develop code language that:

Requires projects seeking a demolition permit for a one or two-family structure (house or duplex) to fully deconstruct that structure if:

1. The structure was built in 1916 or earlier; or
2. The structure is a designated historic resource.
Demo permits per year built.

Demo permits per year built.

Individuals who would like to testify should arrive no later than 1:30PM to sign up. Testimony will be limited to no more than three minutes, possibly two minutes depending upon the number of people who would like to testify. In an effort to testify within time limits, it is recommended that those who would like to testify should limit their remarks to just one topic.

I hope to see many of you there! Join us for happy hour drinks around the corner and deconstruct the Deconstruction hearing afterwards.

Stephen Reichard
Executive Director
The ReBuilding Center

Support for Sons of Haiti

On January 17th, ReBuilding Center hosted a successful community event in collaboration with Boise Neighborhood AssociationMississippi Ave, Stephen Gomez and Sarah Cantine, and the PDC to support one of the last black owned businesses on Historic Mississippi Avenue, the Sons of Haiti Lodge, in their efforts to revamp the food carts on their property. The event was catered with gracious donations from ¿Por Qué No? Taqueria and Mississippi Pizza Pub.  Attendees learned about plans for the project and about the Sons of Haiti Lodge and what they do for the community.  We are so grateful for everyone in that came out and showed their support! 

The process of renovating the space is well on the way. Our team over at ReBuilding Center continued to show support by offering our DeConstruction services to lift and remove both Ella’s and King Burrito’s food cart storage sheds from the Lodge site to the pole barn on North Cook and Albina space, generously offered for use by Marathon Development. Site clearance will continue till Sunday with construction by Lloyd Development will start January 25th.    

The city permit requires stormwater management, landscaping and utilities all up to code.  The work will include excavation, grading, installation of water and electric lines for carts, a bioswale and dry well, paving of the site, new trash enclosure with drainage and landscaping. The site will also be fully disability accessible when completed.  

Architects rendering of the project when finished.

Architects rendering of the project when finished.

The project is now fully funded! We have raised just over $16,000 and the PDC grant (via a Community Livability Grant) is providing $40,000. However we are still continuing to raise $2,000 additional in funds for the following:

1. Sidewalks and site lighting.  Though not currently required by the city we believe some or all of the sidewalks will need to be repaired.  In addition we want to light the site for night time business.

2. Contingency funds:  we just don't know what might need to be addressed once the site is excavated

With construction scheduled to start Monday January 25th and an expected construction time of about five weeks, we will get the carts back on the site by March 1st! The new project allows for three additional carts (currently there is only room for two) which will provide additional income potential for the lodge!

If you would like to donate to this project and support the Sons of Haiti Lodge and members and stabilize one of the last black-owned properties on historic Mississippi Avenue follow the link below.

Special thanks to all of the private financial contributors which include: Por Que No?, Marathon Development, Mississippi Pizza Pub, ReBuilding Center, The Winkler Companies, Nels Gabbert (One North Developer), Stephen Reichard, Stephen Gomez, Ben Kaiser, Neil Kelly Company, Bryan Wannamaker, all of the GoFundMe supporters and the group of comics that organized the fundraiser “Black Laughs Matter” which provided over $1,300 in additional funds.

Girl Scout's Little Libraries

A major part of what keeps ReBuilding Center up and running are volunteers and the community itself. The girls of the Scout Troop 45642 came to us looking to achieve the highest honor a junior girl scout can achieve and ventured to find what they could do for their community.

The troops collaborated on ideas and decided to build two little libraries. They knew they wanted to use reclaimed and salvaged materials so they came to us! The girls were eager to find all the different parts they needed to build their birdhouse-looking libraries. The girls explored the warehouse looking for drawers, door hinges, knobs, glass, wood, screws, cupboard doors and other knick knacks. They were pleasantly surprised that they were able to find almost everything they needed right here in the warehouse. In the end, the little libraries were made of 90% repurposed material. During their visit, the girls were shocked to find out how many materials were saved from landfills.

Girl Scout troop 45642 were thankful that everything they had collected for their project at ReBuilding Center was donated to their project and sent us a handful of articulate and adorable thank you letters. We are thankful to them as well! Girl Scout Troop 45642 displayed what true leadership looks like by coming together as a team to accomplish what they set out to do for the betterment of their community and environment. We would like to thank the Girl Scout Troop and let everyone know that it’s volunteers and community that allow Rebuilding Center to continue to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of local communities!

Check out all the sweet letters the girls wrote us!

Done With Winter Creative Reuse Project


Winter is slowly coming to an end and it’s almost time for all the beautiful roses and ripe tomatoes to blossom and grow. In Portland, with all the excess rain it's a little harder to make sure your plants don’t get overwatered. Other times the sun just doesn't want to cooperate. You might be thinking, “well there's not much I can do to control the rain or shine”. You could purchase a greenhouse, although it might be quite a financial investment when all you want is a few vegetables and a some flowers. Why not come down to the ReBuilding Center and pick out some beautiful windows and make your very own miniature greenhouse?

All you need is screws, nails, your toolbox, and, most importantly, some used windows.

Let's get started! Here are two options, so it’s up to you to start your own mini greenhouse project that you are most comfortable with:

Option 1:

•Lay one window flat as the floor (or go without a floor so that the greenhouse can be picked up and placed over plants as needed)


•Attach two windows with a piece of angle iron in a peak for a gabled roof

•Lift one wall taller than the one opposite with a 2×4 so that you can lay another window •across them to make an angled roof

•Use nails, screws, hinges, or angle irons to attach sides together

•Opt out of a door and leave one side open


Option 2:

•Place the sides of the four walls firmly against each other in a square (again, make sure they are the same height and length)

•Hammer nails gently through the wooden frames at each corner

•Strengthen with angle irons placed on the inside corners if needed

•Place a fifth window flat across the top and attach to one side with hinges to create a lidded roof

Check out this link for the full how-to.

It all comes down to your personal style. Do some experimenting. If you’re more comfortable with tools, feel free to get creative with a frame, legs, and gabled roof. Happy gardening!

Volunteer Spotlight: Angela Ramseyer

ReBuilding Center volunteer Angela Ramseyer may have constructed and lived in a tiny house, but she brings the ReBuilding Center a huge amount of knowledge and experience. Angela’s interests and experiences have already benefited the ReBuilding Center staff and guests, and she’s just getting started!

ReBuilding Center volunteer Angela Ramseyer is an artist, poet, writer, tanguera and  neophyte guitar player, recently relocated from Whidbey Island, WA to Portland, OR. Despite her relocation, perhaps her most interesting journey has been the five-and-a-half years spent building an 8'x16' house on wheels. With no prior construction experience, no owned land, land, and four moves over the course of the project, Angela successfully completed, and inhabited her home for the following two years. Her incredible journey can be found on her blog:

Since beginning her volunteer service at the ReBuilding Center, Angela has joined the Newsletter Team, worked on a deconstruction site, taken donations, joined the Kiosk building project, volunteered in the lumber yard, and shared her artistic ability in photography for Today’s Finds and other productions.

We are so grateful to have Angela on our volunteer team!

For more information on how to volunteer with the ReBuilding Center, contact Dave Lowe at

Hopworks Bike Bar

When it comes to sustainability at work in Portland, Hopworks Urban Brewery and BikeBar have mastered the art of healthy land and water use, as well as the use of smart energy and local ingredients. Check out their company, locations, and how you can achieve your goal of creating, or visiting a sustainable business.

Hopworks Urban Brewery is a Gold Certified Sustainability at Work business committed to sustainable building construction, healthy land use and management, mindful water use and re-use, organic and local ingredients for food and beverage production, healthy and fun work environment, excellent customer service, 100% smart energy and a zero-waste initiative. Hopworks Urban Brewery is located at 2944 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR.

Vote for ReBuilding Center!

New Seasons Market has nominated the Rebuilding Center to be on the ballot for their #BagItForward event, which offers customers the option to donate their reusable bag credits (5¢ each) to a non-profit. Vote for us in the "promoting environmental conservation" category! This is a huge opportunity for us, and could make a huge difference for our independent organization and our mission to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of local communities. If you are a New Seasons Market shopper, please vote January 13th – 26th at any New Seasons Solution Center.

Filmed by Bike, Portland, Oregon Film Festival Inspiring Movie Submission Opportunity!



Filmed by Bike, Portland, Oregon hosts an annual, gigantic festival in May that you don’t want to miss! Throughout the weekend, Filmed by Bike hosts a Street Party, filmmaker Q&A sessions, dance parties, Brewery Tour Bike Rides with the Filmmakers, and award ceremonies.

“Filmed by Bike movie collections are an exciting mix of movies that showcase a true love for cycling. Everyone leaves the theater inspired to ride bikes.” - Filmed by Bikes Take advantage of the opportunity to submit your own movie (25 minutes or less) before January 20, 2016. Approximately 35 movies are featured at the Festival, and are then shown throughout the world to inspire others to get on a bike. Entry information can be found here.

New Year Volunteer News

New Year:
Time to Volunteer!

But first we'd like to congratulate all the December volunteers. We couldn't have done it without you! The warehouse is looking better than ever. Together you have put in nearly 1,700 hours last month! From market research, to the building of interactive kiosks, to the daily processing of donated building materials, all of your valuable time and effort are greatly appreciated!

Get to know your neighbors at our monthly Friday evening volunteer project

When: Friday, January 8th from 6pm to 8pm
Description: All volunteers will receive a 25% discount at a happy hour to follow the project at a local brewery on N. Mississippi Ave! Come contribute to our efforts to keep salvaged, and usable, building materials out of the waste stream. PLUS, you get to work with Pete! 

Trade Show and Events Training

When: Wednesday, January 20th 6:30pm - 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!
Description: Twice 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 are 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. 

Trade Shows in January

Event volunteers will answer questions, provide information, and be a general steward for our organization's mission of "Inspiring people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities". 

Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show
When: January 8th, 9th, and 10th
Where: Oregon Convention Center

Portland Renovation and Remodeling Show
When: January 22nd, 23rd, and 24th
Where: Portland Memorial Coliseum 

Scheduling available through your volunteer portal at or click on the button below.

MLK Jr. Day of Service

When: January 18th
Description: Working in conjunction with Hands on Greater Portland and the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, the ReBuilding Center will host a day of service in honor of the late great Doctor Martin Luther King Jr! Gather with your family and members of your community in honoring his legacy by volunteering! 

Go to Hands on Greater Portland's website to register and browse additional opportunities to take part. 

DeConstruction Volunteer Corps

When: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays throughout January
Where: 6175 SW Arrow-Wood Lane 
Description: The ReBuilding Center's DeConstruction Services is working to dismantle an entire house in the SW to make use of it's component parts! Take this opportunity to see first-hand how, with a little elbow grease and much skill, a future can be sustained through the art and practice of mindful gleaning. 

More opportunities may arise at various locations. We'll keep you posted on projects as they come up! For more information email Dave Lowe at

Green Building

- by Mercy Shammah

Over the past decade the concept of green building has become all encompassing. New ideas are helping broaden what we can do to be a part of the green building movement. Old techniques are on a rise. New green building standards are being developed.  The City of Portland Planning and Sustainability defines green building as “a way of designing and constructing buildings to increase performance and enhance the health and experience for people who work, live and play in these structures.” Considering green building, I’d like to ask two questions: WHAT are they building with and HOW are they building?

“What are they building with?” 

One of the easiest ways to build green is reusing old materials. The Portland area has a great number of companies already doing the hard work of obtaining building materials and making it ready for us to use. Many businesses demolish a building and trash all of the materials while others are taking the buildings down by hand and reusing all of those components. ReBuilding Center among others provide deconstruction services with the aim to keep materials out of the landfill. 

The City of Portland has a full list of companies that salvage materials for reuse in the Metro area. Check their website for to find out where you can source materials for your next project: 

Instead of depleting valuable resources such as trees, constructing with salvaged goods is a more thoughtful way to build. One sustainable building material that is all around us is earth. Cob is made from water, soil and usually straw. Some of the oldest structures found in the Middle East are made of cob and this ancient tradition of building can be found in every continent. Modern cob buildings have seen an increase in popularity. The technique can be seen in many types of energy efficient homes. 

In Elora Hardy’s INKtalks, she speaks about bamboo’s serious potential to sustainable building. Bamboo shoots are ready for harvest in 3 years. A clump will provide 20 or more poles of timber annually. Compare that to genetically superior black walnut timber which takes 25 to 30 years to be ready for harvesting.  

Commonly thought as a luxury, utilizing high end and durable materials that will last is another way to build green. It is important to consider using materials that will not need to be replaced every couple of years which reduces the number of materials used in the life span of a structure. 

“How are they building?”

In addition to what materials we use, how how does the construction process effect green building? One area to think about is energy efficiency with the goal to reduce the amount of energy required for a structure to function comfortably. In our modern day homes, the big energy vampires are heating and cooling which can be reduced with good insulation.

Passivhaus or Passive House is a voluntary design process standard for energy efficient building. The standards include very low energy consumption and pretty air tight insulated buildings. Designers of passive houses want to eliminate the need for heating and cooling, creating a low carbon building. Worried about getting chilly in your passive house? Well, just add body heat. Passivehaus is just one of the many energy efficient certification processes that buildings can receive. Check out this link to learn about other programs:

You may live in a home that was not built by Passivhaus standards. That’s ok. You can still weatherize your home. Weatherization helps reduce the amount of energy homes use. Unlike remodeling, it convertis older, inefficient buildings into to progressive, energy efficient spaces. Weatherization workers complete a number of safety checks and monitor areas that are hidden to the untrained eye to help increase the homes efficiency, safety and air quality. Insulation, air leak fixes and making sure your large energy consuming appliances are running efficiently are huge considerations when weatherizing your home. If getting your home toastier during the winter isn’t enough to get you moving, Energy Trust of Oregon is giving a $100 cash back incentive for your weatherization upgrades. Find more information here:

Advance framing is a building technique that uses minimal lumber. While advance framing isn’t the answer to all of our prayers, it does use less wood and saves energy.

Another way to become more green is to think about where you source your energy from. Wind and solar power have become more popular and more affordable in recent years. These trends are global and show no sign of slowing down. 

Next time you are building and renovating, think green and find a method that works for you.

Preparing for the Trades

- by Mercy Shammah

I had the opportunity of completing Oregon Tradeswomen’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program this fall. The program is called Pathway to Success and really sets the bar for preparing women to go into the trades. 

Women in a Man’s World

If you’ve been on social media in the past year, you may have noticed mini movements speaking about inequality for women. Like women refusing to move out of the way and running into men and their sidewalk entitlement.

Women who want to ‘man-spread’ instead of taking up the smallest amount of space as possible.

People want more than a high school prom queen line of questioning for our female celebrities and athletes. People are pushing for gender neutral toys because only playing dress up and brushing hair influences the scope of what girls think they are capable of decades down the line. These movements remind women that it is their world too.

How does this relate to the trades? Oregon Tradeswomen (OTI) has taught us that we don’t have to apologize for our very existence. We can swing a hammer just as good as the men because of the nature of us being human beings. Many women in the program don’t have a trades background or know anyone in the trades. The training program is an introduction to the field and more. The program goes over the rough and tough construction culture, what to expect, how to navigate it and where we can go for support when we need it. The program reminds us that we can be strong and empowered when we are on the job site surrounded by men, some of whom won’t expect much of us and others who won’t want us to be there at all. 

There are very few programs like OTI in the United States yet; women fill just 3% of all trades jobs. Through this program we learn how to find our voices, to feel confident and know that we have the knowledge to back it up. While 2015 has been a strong year in requesting social change for women, Oregon Tradeswomen has been doing this since the late 80s. 

Three Days

Pathways to Success is broken up into three days a week; each day provided us with a different experience. The first day of the week is a classroom day. These are the days where we receive fundamentals for the trades culture, learn about tools and job site safety, learn basic construction math and measurements and prepare for interviews. We get to learn more about each other and our program as we grow in to tradeswomen. 

The second days of the week are our field trip days. We are introduced to many different trades and learn the ins and outs, opportunities that are available and how much we would get paid. For many entry-level positions, the answer is: a lot. We would get paid a ton. In our training of the different trades we were provided with hands on activities which allowed us a better understanding of what exactly we would be doing. We had the opportunity to make things, use power tools and get the physical experience of the work. Enthusiastic recruiters expanded the list of possible careers we were capable of.The last days of the week were our job site days. This is where we would put all that classroom knowledge to use and get a good sense of the physical work we were getting ourselves into. These days could be very demanding yet fun. One of the biggest projects we worked on in my term was Living Cully. It was a strip club strip mall on 60th & Killingsworth that we deconstructed to be utilized for something that will better serve the community. Oregon Tradeswomen has a history in partnering with community organizations for the job site days. It is a bonus for us to be a part of something great while getting our feet wet in the trades. We were the ones who got to tear down those walls which oppressed so many women. Living Cully was just one of our projects, we participated in builds at other locations as well. 


This program requires a huge level of commitment for the women looking to graduate. The program is three days a week for seven weeks. You have to find income sources around that schedule as well as figure out childcare. OTI is serious when it comes to timeliness. If anyone arrives late on the first day of training (or within the first week), they are removed from the program and there are a line of women waiting to take the spots of the latecomers. 

Handing in all your homework is mandatory to graduate. In addition, OTI tests on math, measurements, tool knowledge and fitness. During my term they partnered with Fulcrum Fitness to train us twice a week. This helped us become better prepared for the physical test and work. 

Oregon Tradeswomen is putting us out in the job field with their seal of approval. We represent them and we are starting off with as much knowledge and confidence as any man in our trade and then some. We are making a big commitment to ourselves. For some of us we are breaking out of our shell and accomplishing something we never knew was a possibility. For others, they are making a commitment to their children for better and more secure life.

Christmas Tree Recycling and Upcycling


by Teale Niles

In the US we buy 25-30 million fresh cut Christmas trees each year (1). Those trees don’t have to end up in the landfill now that the holidays are over! Here are four easy ways to recycle your tree (2). And also a few more ideas for those feeling inspired!

1. Curbside Recycling

Live in the City of Portland and have curbside yard debris collection? Cut up your tree and place it completely into your green compost roll bin. This is free! Alternatively, you can place whole trees that are 6 feet or shorter on the curb for pick up on your regular pickup day for a $4.50 fee. Trees over 6 feet should be cut in half. There will be a $4.50 fee for each piece.

2. Environmentally Conscious Recycling (ERC)

This recycling company in NE Portland will take your tree (flocked and unflocked) for a mere $2 apiece!
Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 7:30 a.m-5 p.m.
12409 NE San Rafael

3. Bring it to the Boy Scouts

In Lake Oswago there is a 3 day tree recycling event on Jan. 1-3
Drop off your tree, and suggested donation at:
West End Building
4101 Kruse Way
Lake Oswego, Or

If you live in Tigard, sign up here for curbside pick up
Jan. 2, 3, 9 & 10, 9 a.m.

And in Beaverton on Jan. 2, 3 & 9 You can bring your tree to this address for recycling:
St. Andrew Lutheran Church
12405 SW Butner Rd.

4. McFarlane’s Bark

Conveniently located in both Milwaukie and Vancouver, McFarlane’s Bark is charging $3 to recycle each Christmas tree.

Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
13345 SE Johnson Rd.
Milwaukie, Or

8806 NE 117 th Ave.
Vancouver, Wa

Upcycle Your Tree

Trees taken to the recycling programs above will most likely get chipped and used as mulch. Which is way better than taking up space in a landfill. But, why stop there? There are tons of other ways to use a used Christmas tree.

Create salmon habitat. The Tualatin Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited will be collecting trees to be placed in streams. Submerged trees act as shelter for baby salmon and also attract microorganism and other critters which the salmon eat. Read the full story here.

Drop off your tree on Jan. 4, 11 and 18th from 9 am to 4 pm
Royal Treatment Fly Shop, 21570 Willamette Dr., in West Linn; AND
Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters, 10910 NE Halsey, in Portland.

Turn your tree into a backyard bird feeder. Be sure to remove all tinsel and ornaments first. Then place it in your backyard, hang some bird treats on it (such as pine cones covered in peanut butter and seeds) and voila! The winter birds will love you! The tree will start to decompose and before too long you’ll be able to break it apart by hand and use it around your backyard landscape.

Around the nation people and organizations use Christmas trees in creative and resourceful ways. Christmas trees can be used to feed goats, to rebuild sand dunes, and even build houses (3)!  The National Christmas Tree Associations has a huge list of Christmas tree recycling programs from around the nation. Check it out!


Help us plan our new workshops + classes!

At ReBuilding Center we strive to inspire people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities. From the beautiful, old growth wood milled decades ago to cabinet sets gleaned from historic Portland homes, we would like to generate excitement around the wealth of amazing materials that are available to us in the Pacific Northwest.

We are in the process of resurrecting our ReFind shop where we would like to create a space for sharing ideas, teaching skills, creating a culture of safety and building community. Please let us know any and all of your ideas for this community space and fully equipped wood shop.

help us design our workshops + classes by filling out a 8 question survey!

Mississippi Avenue Holiday Passports

You're invited to join in on the first ever Mississippi Holiday Passport event! This holiday season, pick up your passports at participating businesses and collect stamps for prizes. This is how it works:

  1. Pick your passport up from a participating business. (See below.)
  2. Shop and enjoy food + drink on Mississippi Ave.
  3. Receive a stamp for each local business you support.
  4. At 5 stamps receive your Mississippi Ave mug! (You can claim your mugs from The Rebuilding Center, Trailhead Union or Flutter.) 
  5. For every 10 stamps you will be entered in for a grand prize bundle of Mississippi gift certificates. (That means 20 stamps gets you 2 entries, 30 stamps gets you 3 and so on.)

*No minimum purchase is required.

Here is a list of participating businesses:

Black Wagon
3964 N Mississippi Ave

Blue Sky Wellness
3944 N Mississippi Ave

Crow Bar
3954 N Mississippi Ave

Ecliptic Brewery
825 N Cook St

Emerald Petals
3948 N Mississippi Ave

3948 N Mississippi Ave

Gumbo Gifts & Gallery
3900 N Mississippi Ave

Gypsy Chic
3966 N Mississippi Ave

3920 N Mississippi Ave

The Herb Shoppe Pharmacy
3912 N Mississippi Ave

4057 N Mississippi Ave

Jennyfer’s Boutique
4018 N Mississippi Ave

Land Gallery
3925 N Mississippi Ave

Laughing Planet Cafe
3765 N Mississipppi Ave

Manifesto Shoes
3806 N Mississippi Ave

Mississippi Studios
3939 N Mississippi Ave

Mr. Green Beans
3908 N Mississippi Ave

North Light
3746 N Mississippi Ave

Oregon Deli Co
3560 N Mississippi Ave

Paxton Gate
4204 N Mississippi Ave

PDXchange - Fair & Square.
3916 N Mississippi Ave

Pistils Nursery
3811 N Mississippi Ave Suite 1

4237 N Mississippi Ave

Por Que No?
3524 N Mississippi Ave

Radar Restaurant
3951 N Mississippi Ave

The Rambler
4205 N Mississippi Ave

Reading Frenzy
3628 N Mississippi Ave

The Rebuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave

Salty’s Pet Supply
4039 N Mississippi Unit 104

She Bop
909 N Beech St

Sloan Boutique
3824 N Mississippi Ave

Spin Laundry Lounge
750 N Fremont St

Stormbreaker Brewing
832 N Beech St  

Townshend’s Teahouse
3917 N Mississippi Ave

Trailhead Credit Union
3904 N Mississippi Ave