Teacher helps students open door to Portland’s past

The eighth-grade students of Beaumont Middle School embarked on a project to discover the forgotten history of Portland’s mysterious Vanport chapter. Vanport, a city within city, was created to house workers for the growing need for shipbuilding during World War II and was destroyed by a tragic flood in 1948. Vanport was considered the second largest city in Oregon, and today the area is occupied by the international raceway and several soccer and softball fields. In the 1940s, it was home to many African Americans who had followed the great migration West to build new lives. Despite common practices of discrimination in Portland proper and tension within Vanport, some 20,000 residents (of whom about 6,000 were African American) thrived in integrated schools and community centers prior to the tragic flood.

The Beaumont students were excited to create an art project that revealed this forgotten chapter, and some even discovered they have family ties to former Vanport residents.

The students of Kirsten Parrott's 8th grade class were given a grant two years ago by Concordia University, and they decided to create something different than just poster art. For their event at Beaumont School, they decorated doors that were donated by the ReBuilding Center. The doors displayed the history of Vanport, some with text and writing and drawings. The Portland Expo Center thought the doors would make a great exhibit and paired the students with The Vanport Mosaic Initiative to create the event that honored Vanport’s past. The event was held on May 25th before Memorial Day Weekend. Kirsten Parrott described the event, “[It’s a] representation of students opening the door to the history of their community. A way to integrate history and incorporate their own creative touches and work in a team.” Over 100 people attended the event, including Terri Johnson, who lives where the Vanport flood once was with artifacts she has found in her yard on display. There were 18 doors that were part of the installation, made by 52 students, and 28 students attended the event held on May 26th at the Portland Expo Center. Four students spoke about what they had learned and the experience of creating these doors to history.

The ReBuilding Center is proud to have been able to support this event by donating doors for the exhibit. Kirsten Parrott says, "We really appreciate the generosity and quick turnaround. It was easy to pick them up and staff were very helpful." The ReBuilding Center is all about reuse, and inspiring strong community. These 8th-graders are surely an inspiration to the future of our city!

Historic Black Williams Avenue Project

by E. Hill

North Williams and Russell, 1962

North Williams and Russell, 1962

It is now very well known that North Williams Avenue is changing significantly. And quickly. What many now living, working, and entertaining themselves in the area don’t know is that for the majority of the 20th century, N. Williams/Albina was Portland’s largest African American community.

Though forced into the area by government-supported discriminatory and race-based land ownership and financing regulations, the Black community of Portland went from a few thousand pre-1940 to more than 20,000+ in less than seven years. Those changes, the important history of surviving Jim Crow Oregon, establishing a strong community despite those significant barriers, and thriving against disinvestment and regional socio-economic limitations are now part of an effort driven by the Historic Black Williams Project. The ReBuilding Center’s previous Community Outreach Manager, Linda Hunter, started the work with them providing services and support for the project and Edward continued through the end of 2016 helping them establish their 501c3 status.

Historic Black Williams Project

This multimedia arts project is now culminating in the installation of colorful and historical sidewalk tiles along North Williams Avenue, once the vibrant heart of Portland’s Black community known as the “Black Broadway,” which served as the primary corridor for business and cultural activities for the Black community between 1940 and the early 1990s.

In 2011, a 26-member community-based Stakeholder Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council, accepted the charge to address safety and traffic concerns on Williams between Broadway and Killingsworth and made recommendations to PBOT. The group agreed to make decisions with a contextual understanding of the safety issues on Williams Avenue while also acknowledging the damaging planning processes of the past and those who have been hurt or damaged by those planning processes, specifically focusing on the historically displaced Black community.

Black History of Williams Avenue

The Black Williams Project was a direct result of that work, and was moved forward to begin to reconcile the wrongs. To lead this effort, they chose a dynamic African-American couple to direct and design the project. Kayin Talton Davis and Cleo Davis, both native Portlanders, brought a combined background of architecture, industrial design, materials science, mechanical engineering, graphic design, fine art, and a deep connected love of the Black community of Northeast Portland. Kayin and Cleo are bringing this fading history into public view through this cultural and historical multimedia public art project. The art project is funded by PBOT and administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council with a $100,000 grant from the $1.5-million-dollar Williams Safety Project—a street redesign project that was supposed to cost $370,000 dollars and ended up stretching past schedule to 18 months at a cost $1.4 million for street improvements.

As part of their process, they also sought and received assistance from the ReBuilding Center’s Community Outreach Program, under the leadership of now-retired Linda Hunter. The overall goal of the project was to gather and collect visual images and personal stories about the quickly evaporating history of Williams Avenue and the broader Black community of NE. “Many of the landmarks are no longer around and our friends’ families no longer live in the area,” says Cleo Davis. “We grew up with stories about the Maxey’s and the old crew on Gantenbein, going to Hank’s Dairy on Williams and Fremont, and attending Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church on Ivy and Rodney.” It is this history that will now being creatively integrated into public walkways and streetscapes along the Avenue.

The couple recently previewed their work at a May 20th Black community event held at the Billy Webb Elks Lodge. The Historic Black Williams Project is holding its first public viewing on Saturday, June 3rd as part of the Art Unveiling + Community Walk from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM at Dawson Park located at N. Williams Ave. and N. Stanton St.

PBOT’s Public Involvement Coordinator and supporter Irene Schwoeffermann stated, “These events are a cultural and historical ‘homecoming’ for both longstanding and displaced community members.” To learn more about the project directly, contact PBOT at: historicblackwilliamsproject@portlandoregon.gov or by telephone at (503) 823-4239.

This is RSVP LINK: RSVP + Community Survey

FACEBOOK LINK: Facebook Event


Education & Inspiration at the 25th Annual WOMEN IN TRADES CAREER FAIR


On Friday, May 19th, over 1,000 middle- and high-school-aged girls from around Oregon and Washington participated in Oregon Tradeswomen's 25th annual Women in Trades Career Fair - School Day. By 7:30am that morning, the place was already buzzing with excitement and the students hadn't even arrived yet. The fair brought together professional tradeswomen from every trade you could think of.  There were fire engines and ladder trucks to climb, giant logs to chainsaw, bucket trucks to ride in, tiny houses to build, water mains to repair, lights to wire and so many more awesome activities to engage this gigantic curious group. 


This year, the ReBuilding Center presented a workshop led by the ReBuilding Center’s own head cashier, Ella Rose, Salvage Specialist, Mayela, and DeConstructionist, Becca. Tables full of brave, bright, and inquisitive girls were led though the construction of mini-planter boxes which they were able to take home. Students learned all about what the ReBuilding Center does, and of course what it means to be a "DeConstructionist". The most incredible moments came when the girls' faces lit up with the confidence of a newly gained skill, and the proud smile that comes with the completion of a project.

Girls working together, encouraging one another, and having a blast using power tools was so much fun, even a couple of teachers jumped into the mix and used these tools for the first time as well. All in all, the day was a total success. There were hardly any supplies left over after a nearly-constant stream of girls walked away with their newly built planter boxes. It was an incredible display of women empowering other women and girls. Watch for this event again next year. 

Modernizing the ReBuilding Center

Mike Alfoni joins the ReBuilding Center team this month from, of all places, the Board of Directors. Mike brings a wealth of experience from managing political campaigns to makerspaces, to consulting for both for- and non-profits on data and technology. Mike comes to us as a result of a three-year grant we received from the Murdock Charitable Trust to make the market for salvaged materials a part of everyday life.

Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves.
— Murdock Charitable Trust

Over the next three years, Mike will help RBC develop and implement new point of sale and inventory systems that will allow us to know exactly what is in the store at all times and to make it available online. This represents a major modernization of the salvage industry and we are excited to be a part of it.

Over the coming years, you will see new technologies and systems coming into place here. You’ll eventually be able to view our inventory online from home or with one of our staff in the warehouse who will be able to point you to the exact door, chandelier, or lumber you’re looking for. You’ll also see improvements to how materials are organized in the building itself.

As we go through this process, your opinion matters. Do you have things that you would like to see here in terms of how things are organized, how you might interact with salvaged materials online, or in terms of finding and buying things at the Rebuilding Center? Please let us know!


Under new management, Community Outreach at the ReBuilding Center is 275 days (almost a year) into its newly created strategic work plan under the direction of Edward Hill. Hill was hired last August to succeed and continue the work of Linda Hunter; one of the key founders of Our United Villages, the origin point and foundations of the now-named ReBuilding Center, by reaching out and starting conversations with community members about their situations and what might help face a challenge.

There is so much to share and update! In 2016 the Village Coalition, the houseless convening group that found a safe space to hold meetings at ReBuilding Center, is now a formal nonprofit organization with leadership, a voting and decision making process, and committees that are changing the game in how houselessness and villages are treated and supported in Portland. Black Williams Project found partnership with Portland Bureau of Transportation and is launching soon with City support. And NE STEAM Coalition has secured funding with the State of Oregon Regional Solutions Center to address brownfield remediation (clean-up of local soil toxins).

So, what is Community Outreach doing? There are some awesome projects that we are providing support and technical assistance to that are not only growing in impact, but are also creating really clear demonstrations of what it means to be working “in community with community for community!”

Work has continued under the grounded philosophy that the ReBuilding Center’s work is always working to provide resources, tools, and materials to those that are seeking to make “a thing” better for more people. Community Outreach has continued to bolster that position and grow.

Here are some highlights:


We are honored to be providing support to Right2Root, a community-led design assisting gentrification-affected community members to build complete communities that increasingly improve health/wealth outcomes, led and designed by Cat Goughnour. With RBC support, Right2Root is writing grants to submit for program operations and stipends. Right2Root, with ZGF Architects, will be holding a launch event in early June in the ReBuilding Center Commons. As part of her work, Cat will be holding workshops, DIY teach-ins, and “pop-up” market events scheduled through December ’17.

MudBone Grown
Farming & Food Education 

Featured the February newsletter, Mudbone Grown is getting into their spring 2017 growing season at the newly renamed “Unity Farm” located at Oregon Food Bank and will be having their open house on June 9. Art Shavers and Shantae Johnson, owners of MudBone, have been working with ReBuilding Center to identify contracts and training opportunities to improve their farm start-up, and utilizing recycled materials as part of their farm build-out plan.

Green Workforce Development Collaborative

A new dynamic partnership of community organizations, NGOs, trainers, “green” businesses, and job development specialists is working to bring equity to the ground and address gaps in current workforce programs for highly impacted populations. This work, funded partially by Meyer Memorial Trust and Metro, is the first phase in a broader community-driven effort to build a more resilient pathway for populations under-represented in waste management, materials recycling, green infrastructure, and environmental services.

This is just the beginning of much more exciting and space-activating work from Community Outreach. This summer we are working with other staff and departments to install murals in the alley and on the front of the building. We are completing the restoration and painting of the cob “Community Trees” at the main entrance, hosting poetry at the Mississippi Ave. Street Fair and a Native American Craft Market & Fish Fry on June 23rd, and cleaning-up our bioswales on the Michigan Ave. side of the store with volunteers in July.

Be sure to stay connected to our Facebook and Twitter feeds to learn more and be part of the movement to create and sustain our diverse and resilient community!

Meet RBC's new German Intern Team

ReBuilding Center is proud to collaborate with international educational groups like Northwest International Student Exchange (NWISE)! This year, we've teamed with NWISE, Oregon Food Bank, and Portland Parks and Recreation to welcome 11 interns from Germany as part of their Summer Homestay Program. Homestay students stay with local host families and volunteer their time in order to immerse themselves in American culture and the English language. Many of these students will go on to study abroad programs in U.S. Colleges and Universities. Meet the new interns here:

German interns introduce themselves

One month ago we landed in Portland, excited and curious about what we would experience, see, and feel during our three-month stay. We are a group of 11 students from a city called Marburg, near Frankfurt, Germany and will be working two days a week helping the organization.

The first few weeks were exciting—everything was new. We settled in with our families, homes, city and all the new activities. We learned a lot about what we can expect in the "Serve your Community" program we are participating in. On the first day at the ReBuilding Center, we got to know Dave [RBC Volunteer Services Manager] and the other employees. We felt comfortable within seconds and after a few days we got got into the groove at the ReBuilding Center.

Our work varies a lot. Some of us are helping Ashley [Marketing & Communications Manager] with the newsletter, others joined Tom in the Lumberyard. We also enjoyed working with the Portland Public School students that were building their own guitars in the wood shop. We've tried work in the tiles section as well as in the office. So far we are enjoying our stay and work here a lot and are looking forward to many great experiences!

Franca and Vivien

Franca and Vivien


AGE: 14 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: hang out with friends, shopping


AGE: 15 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: chill with friends, doing sports
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: I want to help people and create new experiences

Gordian, Jonathan, and Tom

Gordian, Jonathan, and Tom


AGE: 16 years
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: I always want to meet new people


AGE: 16 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: play soccer

from left to right: Tristan and David

from left to right: Tristan and David


AGE: 16 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: do sports (especially in the gym)
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: I want to do something I have never done before


AGE: 16 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: play American Football
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: volunteering is not that common in Germany and I want to try it

Carolin, Johanna, and Sina

Carolin, Johanna, and Sina


AGE: 15 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: play the guitar and piano and do gymnastics
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT PORTLAND: nature (like Multnomah Falls)
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE REBUILDING CENTER: working with the children in the shop
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: I want to learn about the community and support them


AGE: 15 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: play the guitar and do sports


AGE: 15 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: play the piano, do sports
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE REBUILDING CENTER: sorting things, working in the shop
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: I want to make new experiences and help people






AGE: 16 years
I DECIDED TO VOLUNTEER IN PORTLAND BECAUSE: I want to do something different abroad other than going to school


AGE: 16 years
IN MY FREE TIME I LIKE TO: code computers

written by: Carolin Mauersberger, Sina Jeck, Johanna Kleinehanding


May/June 2017 Volunteer Opportunities

Join the ReBuilding Center in the second annual Day of Service, meet other Portlanders and enjoy a discounted happy hour during our Building Community Through Reuse social night, help build a ReBuilding Center theme park for the Alberta Last Thursday, or prep for ReFind Adult Education classes! 


Saturday June 3rd

ReBuilding Center will be at Madison High School on June 3rd for the Latino Home Fair. Sign up to represent us at this event. Spanish lingo a BIG plusIf you haven’t tabled with us before, get in touch with dave@rebuildingcenter.org to learn a bit more. It’s fun and easy.

Latino Home Fair is Hacienda’s biggest annual event that assembles a team of trustworthy professionals every year to provide useful resources to support future homeowners.

Hacienda CDC's Homeownership Support Program is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  They provide group education and one-on-one counseling to first-time homebuyers and homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Hacienda CDC services are available to all Oregon residents. 

The cultural atmosphere makes this annual fair a great family event for all with food, music, raffles and prizes (like a one month rental and down payment assistance.)

You can schedule yourself by visiting you schedule through the Volunteer Portal, or by emailing Dave directly.

Day of Service


Every year the ReBuilding Center joins with the African American Alliance for Homeownership to bring the community an annual Day of Service, offering minor repairs to neighborhood homeowners. These services are provided to our neighbors who are at risk of being displaced from their homes due to their need for repairs. In 2016, volunteers proudly completed 10 projects on 5 different properties, tackling a wide range of issues:

  • Removal and repair of rotting stairs
  • Demo and re-pouring of concrete stairs
  • Cleaning up overgrown yards
  • Installation of handrails
  • Mending fence boards
  • Sink installation
  • Door hanging
  • Painting houses

This year the ReBuilding Center plans to take on similar projects with double the number of homes! This is an excellent opportunity for volunteers who would like to learn DIY skills or those with prior building experience who would like to apply their expertise to a greater cause. If you are interested in joining our team to build a healthier more vibrant community please pre-register now to be placed on our list to receive further information, pick preferred projects as they become available, and be considered for a position as one of our Crew Leaders.

To sign up, fill out this form >


SECOND THURSDAY of every month
6PM - 8PM

The ReBuilding Center invites you to join us for an evening of socializing and de-nailing on the second Thursday of each month from 6pm to 8pm. No need to be registered as one of our existing volunteers, this monthly event is open to the public. Get some rewarding hands-on experience while keeping usable building materials from making their way into landfills and waste streams. Meet and socialize with like-minded individuals! If you are looking for a great way to expand your friend base here in the Portland community then this monthly mixer is for you! After the de-nailing has concluded, regroup with your fellow volunteers across the street at Stormbreaker Brewing and enjoy an additional 25% off for your contribution. 

To sign up, please RSVP with David Lowe, our Volunteer Services Manager:



The ReBuilding Center is looking for help in our Refind Education shop getting tools and material ready in preparation for upcoming youth and adult classes. 

To sign up, email the ReFind Education Coordinator, Aaron Green at:  aaron@rebuildingcenter.org

For more information on any of the volunteer opportunities listed above or to check out other ways you can help build community through reuse follow these links:



Old Drawers to New Ends

Revive some cheap, old drawers into nice, new end tables with these DIY decorating tips from your friends at the ReBuilding Center. Expand your creative reuse skills and help promote the reuse economy in style. RBC has plenty of drawers of all different shapes and sizes (prices ranging $2-$10) that would be perfect for this project!

Photo credit: Shannon O

Photo credit: Shannon O

Photo credit: Yatzer

Photo credit: Yatzer

For this project you will need:

Photo credit: Desire to Inspire

Photo credit: Desire to Inspire

  • Salvaged drawers (available at the Rebuilding Center for under $10 each)
  • Some house paint
  • 4 legs from an old sofa or your local hardware store; or caster wheels
  • Scrap wood cut to fit the inside of your drawers
  • Blind nuts
  • Screw driver
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring tape

Step 1

Photo credit: Shannon O

Photo credit: Shannon O

Attach the legs to the bottom of the drawers using blind nuts making sure that they are evenly spaced.

Step 2

Photo Credit: Shannon O

Photo Credit: Shannon O

Use wood glue to glue your center piece of scrap wood into your drawers. Make sure to measure evenly and leave to let dry over night.

Step 3

Photo credit: Shannon O

Photo credit: Shannon O

Paint your drawers with the house paints. Let dry, and congratulations! You now have some gorgeous end tables to brighten up your room!


Photo Credit: Hammers and High Heels

Earth Day Guide to Spring Cleaning

This year, Earth Day will be officially celebrated around the world on April 22nd in more than 193 countries with teach-ins on environmental and climate literacy, marches, and other activities that demonstrate support for environmental protection. After a rough winter, spring has finally sprung in Portland; make a positive impact this Earth Day by following these four green Spring cleaning tips:

1.     Host a Neighborhood Clean-Up Event

The City of Portland promotes and sponsors neighborhood clean-ups. This year, there are over 40 cleanup events scheduled around the city in April and May, that will “prioritize and promote both recycling and reuse,” completely in spirit with the Earth Day celebrations.

Find your neighborhood and get information about your local cleanup >

2.     Collect Your Junk and Bring it to a Local Reuse Organization

We've all heard "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Why not bring your junk to one of these specific organizations that deal with specialty materials and make sure they're going to a good home? Plus, rest assured that your contributions will be of considerable benefit to your community! Whether it's an old bathtub, a box full of zippers, a love seat, or a cell phone, we've got the reuse center hookup for you. 


Used Building Materials, Cabinets, Appliances, Lighting

ReBuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave
(503) 331-9291

If you want to recycle your old lumber, doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, sinks, toilets, lighting, fixtures, and more, drop them off at the donation area or see if you qualify for their free pick-up service. RBC salvages the region's largest volume of used building and remodeling materials for reuse and supports community-led projects to build a more sustainable and equitable Portland. Acceptance guidelines here >


Textiles, Wood Scraps, Paper Products

1736 SW Alder St
(503) 294-0769

Donate your wallpaper, art supplies, containers, fabric, decorations, metal, office supplies, wood, paper, and other goods and make them available to your community at incredibly fair prices. SCRAP accepts donations 11am-6pm Tuesday-Saturday and funds educational programs in schools, provides reuse education programs, and donates materials to other nonprofit and educational groups. Find out what they accept and what they don't accept > 


Used Computers and Electronics

Free Geek Thrift Store
SE 10th Avenue
(503) 232-9350

Free Geek accepts smartphones, tablets, e-readers, video game systems or obsolete gadgets, printers (including extra ink and toner), scanners, routers, UPS, digital cameras, PDAs, cell phones—they don’t have to be in working condition! Volunteers get technology in the hands of people who need it including the disadvantaged, schools, nonprofits, and other community change organizations. View what they take here >


Vintage Furniture, Household Items, Mattresses

Community Warehouse
3969 NE M L King Blvd
(503) 445-1449

Community warehouse accepts “treasures you no longer treasure.” The store’s ever-changing inventory of antique, vintage, and retro furniture and housewares is fun, funky, and well-priced to keep folks coming back. Pairing up with local social service agencies, the Community Warehouse gets goods to families in need. Check out their acceptance guidelines here > 

3. Create your own DIY cleaning supplies with easy-to-find and more environmentally friendly ingredients.

Learn how to make a baking soda paste to clean your oven chemical-free, create an all-purpose cleaner with only two ingredients, and utilize other environmentally friendly mix-it-yourself cleaners in this Good Housekeeping guide. You can also check out Fix.com's DIY Natural Household Cleaners post that features how to make your own wool dryer ball, homemade vanilla rosemary air freshener (yum!), plus the only all-purpose cleaner recipe you'll ever need.

4.     Be creative and repurpose old items!

Repurpose containers in your fridge, turn old drawers into more storage, or repurpose your tired t-shirts into a multitude of craft projects. There's no end to the possibilities; get creative or use Pinterest for some crafting inspiration.

How to Give Your Planet a Kiss on Earth Day 2017

As we all dry off from one of the soggiest winters in memory, I suspect we can all agree that Mother Earth, our planet and our home, suffers from neglect. Earth Day comes this weekend. This is your chance to step up and say: We love you Mom!

There are lots of things to do, from celebrating with the great students at PSU on Friday, to helping the Urban League prepare its Urban Garden for spring planting just a block away from your very own ReBuilding Center, to clean-ups by SOLVE all over the State of Oregon. So, jump in; get involved; and give your planet the big wet kiss she deserves.

Portland State University’s 10th Annual Celebration of Earth Day
Friday, April 21
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
PSU Park Blocks

Join Environmental Club for the 10th Annual Earth Day Festival featuring live music, community and student organizations, student artists and a reuse fair. This event is free and open to the public. A film screening and free dinner will be offered in the evening.

Image: Lyn Topinka

Image: Lyn Topinka

Kelly Point Park Clean Up
Friday, April 21
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Kelly Point Park

Join the Cascade Environmental Club for the Kelly Point Park Clean Up! This will be an all-day event of invasive species removal, planting of native species, trash pick- up, and a metal detector beach walk. The event will feature a live recycled art expo and local music and food! Lunch will provide for volunteers w/costume T-shirts. Contact Dustin.Boomer@pcc.edu for more info.

Urban League Garden Clean Up
Saturday, April 22
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Corner of N. Beech and N. Albina

Help the Urban League get its garden ready for spring cleaning.

Operation Clean Sweep
Saturday, April 22
10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Check in at NE 18th and Alberta

Alberta Street’s 7th annual Earth Day clean up offers more than just a a feel-good chore. The event welcomes neighbors near and far to clean up Alberta Street then celebrate at the Golden Garbage Awards. After cleaning up garbage and removing graffiti along Alberta from MLK to 33rd Avenue, you’re invited to eat pizza, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, treats from Random Order, and enter to win prizes from local businesses. Don’t forget to bring your own water, gloves and any tools that might help beautify the area. FAQ are answered here and don’t forget to register online ahead of time.

SOLVE Cleanups
Saturday, April 22
Various times & locations

Presented by Portland General Electric, Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism (SOLVE), is a non-profit organization that has one mission: “Bring Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship.” Interested? Good thing there are countless Earth Day clean-ups to choose from this April 22. Transform Barrows Park in Beaverton to a thriving habitat, spruce up the Oregon Human Society Dog Path or join the 2nd Annual Invasive Species Scavenger hunt in Vancouver; those are just a few of the options for volunteer action. Check out the website below to find a volunteer opportunity that works for you and your family.

Monday, April 24, 11am in PAC Lobby at Sylvania
Monday, April 24, 2pm in MAHB 104 at Cascade
Wednesday, April 26, 10am in Building 9 Events Center at Rock Creek
Wednesday, April 26, 2pm in the Community Hall at Southeast

In #EcoSocialJustice, Dr. Chatelain explores our recent history and current events in our country as a context to better understand the interconnections of racial, social and environmental justice. Looking at the many issues we face – racism, food insecurity, environmental degradation, widening economic disparities, climate change – how can these movements come together to strategically align for sustainable change? If we are stronger together, how have we failed to collectively mobilize in the past? 

Chatelain initiated the #FergusonSyllabus after the death of Michael Brown. She has been featured prominently on CNN, MSNBC, NPR and on other national platforms.

Rodolfo Serna Mural Takes on New Life at the RBC

The ReBuilding Center is excited to have just adopted a very special work of art by local Native American muralist, Rodolfo Serna.  The 9' by 32' mural, designed and constructed by Rodolfo and the youth from Christie Care and P:ear, once graced the wall of the Por Que No? restaurant on Hawthorne and now takes on new life hanging proudly above the lighting section of the ReBuilding Center.  Rodolfo was happy to do an interview with a member of our newsletter team and share his appreciation along with some more information about his art and role in the community.


What is your favorite part about making murals and why did you choose this as your primary artistic focus?

I love the collaboration process and community aspect.  These large scale projects that I do with large groups of kids are very special to me and are greatly tied to my spirituality.  I had done some individual art projects with kids and realized that I wanted to be able to work with lots of kids at same time.  We learn and grow so much through this process, and everyone gets to take ownership of the piece.  We do every step of the work together, and when it's done we all celebrate together. 

How do you design your murals, and create space for everyone to express their ideas? What are the challenges and benefits of working collaboratively like this?

In art school I met other muralists who treated this work as an independent practice.  I found many artists to be very self-focused and this didn't appeal to me.  I was inspired by the way in which Mexican artists had historically used murals to bring community together.  I decided I was going to practice incorporating elements of my Native American philosophy: respect, humility, and compassion.  When you look at the temples in Mexico, these were never created by one individual, but massive amounts of people.  Tears of the pyramids were even created by successive generations.  I brought all those ideas into it.  I let go of a lot of what I was taught in school: to be in full control of the piece.  When you let go of control, you learn to trust your community and kids.  What we have created together is always something far greater than what I could create myself.  They come up with the ideas.  I draw the composition, the blueprint.  When they approve it, we then transfer it using the grid method - so they also learn about how to construct large scale art with this method.  Once it is transposed, we begin the first layer of the painting.  There are many layers of painting that we all do together, and these layers are very important.   


Who painted the mural now at the ReBuilding Center, and what can you tell us about the symbolism of the imagery?

Two groups of kids worked on this, Christie Care [a residential youth village] and P:ear [a homeless youth mentoring program].  The kids at Christie Care wanted to represent the relationship between us and nature, and P:ear wanted to represent diversity.  I often use images that reference Native tribes, like the Lacota or Aztec, and philosophy of the Native community.  Here I used the imagery of the four directions: there are two lines, a circle, and four colors.  These represent our relationship.  The four colors are the four continents.  The circle is really significant in symbolizing that we are all relatives and all related.  The idea of this medicine wheel is widespread in Native philosophy and it is very important.  The female figures in the mural are strong, and from different cultural backgrounds.  The turtle represents Turtle Island, another name for America.  There are representations of the four elements: wind, fire water, and earth.  The side panels are more about the relationship between us and the earth - a symbiotic relationship represented by the humming bird and flower and traditional dancer in the tree. 

What is the original story behind why this mural was created, and why is it now at the ReBuilding Center?

I made this mural about six years ago because of an invitation I received from the Por Que No? restaurant on Hawthorne.  The neighborhood association and owner of the restaurant, Bryan Steelman, invited me to do it and I put the project together with the owner who wanted to bring more art to his restaurant.  I got a grant for the public art that was only good for five years, and space beside the restaurant was then rented the mural was blocked by carts.  The owner took it down.  Stephen [the Executive Director at the ReBuilding Center] agreed to store it, and then decided to put it up. 

What would you like people to take away from your art? 

For me, it's really important to tip the scales for everyday people.  We don't have as much power to change the world as we would like to.  I make beautiful imagery and art.  I'm trying to tip the scales with what I do and add some goodness to the world.  Give to the life giving forces.  Share my art with kids.  Make the world beautiful.  Not only because it is aesthetically pleasing, but because it is part of my spiritual practice and I really believe it has an effect.  I believe color and imagery help stimulate the brain and this affects our health as human beings.  It activates the brain and makes us think.  I'm doing what I can with this medicine that is in me.  My art is my medicine.

How does this piece resonate with the ReBuilding Center's mission of improving community through reuse? 

When the mural was taken down, I was about to say goodbye to it.  I had nowhere to store it, but there was still so much life in it.  There is so much value in these things that are going to be thrown away.  Instead of being thrown away, it is getting used a second time and gets to keep living.  The ideas of harmony and working with the earth that are symbolized in this piece is exactly what the ReBuilding Center does.  Reusing rather than wasting is part of the message behind the mural.  

Can you tell us a little about your work with Latino Network and local youth?

Latino Network is a nonprofit where I work with at risk youth.  I work with a lot of immigrant families, helping them to navigate services and housing support.  I get referrals from the county for kids that are in the juvenile system.  I work in the juvenile detention center, where I'm starting Red Stone Collective, a place where they can do art and participate in Native American practices such as dancing.  This is going to become a nonprofit as well, and will become be a full cultural community center. 

You've worked with an extensive array of nonprofits.  Can you name some of the ones that you have worked with or share any stories from that work?

I work on the board of an Aztec dance group that does cultural presentations at schools and community events, and holds ceremonies several times a year that are open to the public.  We just became a nonprofit and will be expanding.  I'm on another board that also just got nonprofit status that does healing for people through Native sweat lodges.  I'm really proud of those two groups, and that I get to be part of them and the amazing people that run them.  My work at the detention center is also going to become a nonprofit, and I'm hoping it will become a community center, a safe place for all these kids to share art and culture and just stay safe.   

Are you working on any new projects right now?

I've been invited to do a mural or two at the PDX airport, and I'm currently working with high schoolers on that.  I've applied for some other things, but nothing certain just yet.  I was just invited to the Clackamas Art Alliance.  I've worked with four schools from there in the last year, which is great.  I'm definitely growing. 

How many murals have you created in the Portland area?

Over 30 now, I think.  

Are you active or accessible to your fans through social media such as Facebook or Instagram? 

Yes I have pages on those, and that's been the best way for the youth to keep in touch with me since I'm not always in the same place. 

Anything else you would like to share?

I'm really grateful for the ReBuilding Center.  When I saw my mural back up it was powerful and beautiful and it warmed my heart.  I'm very pleased by this validation and affirmation of my work.  The staff there is great and this has been a great experience.

RBC Submits Proposal to Dismantle Portland Building for Reuse

Love it or hate it, the Portland Building is in need of some dire repairs, and the first step to get the 15-story downtown municipal office building up to code is to deconstruct the structure, skimming it of its reusable parts. The building is not coming down completely, rather it is being partially deconstructed to make use of the materials that back in 1982, architect Michael Graves sparked great controversy with the use of such a wide variety of surface materials and colors. Considered the first icon of postmodern architecture, Graves refused Modernist principles and values, but with its infamously small, tinted windows, most are excited for the deconstruction and renovation to begin. Opinions about the building and architect range greatly. We sat down with Douglas Lichter, the ReBuilding Center’s DeConstruction Services Manager, to tell us a bit about the background of this monumental deconstruction project.

We asked Lichter why the ReBuilding Center is involved in such a huge demolition project, “We saw it as an opportunity.” Salvaging items from the building for reuse, such as bicycle racks, fountains, toilet accessories, and the exterior lights, allows the ReBuilding Center to divert waste from the landfill, create jobs, and give history-lovers a chance to get their hands on these significant items.

The Portland Building is home to the iconic Portlandia statue by Raymond Kaskey. It appears in the opening sequence of Portlandia, the eccentric sketch comedy show. The statue is located outside the building, above the entrance and is the second largest copper repousse in the country after the Statue of Liberty! One of the items up for potential reuse is a Portlandia reproduction that lives indoors, safe from the elements. Among other exciting items, there is a beautiful salad bar adorned in copper and oak, and many quality, retro light fixtures. Anyone who’s been in the Portland Building has probably noticed the cool blue-green tiles; the indoor tiles are protected due to historic value but the hope is to secure the outdoor tiles.

Recently the ReBuilding Center has linked up with Maarten Gielen who owns Rotor Deconstruction in Brussels, Belgium. Lichter and Gielen met at the Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) Conference in May of last year where Gielen was a speaker. Knowing that Gielen was extremely knowledgeable about deconstruction and had an eye for architecture (he runs Resells Architecture), Lichter knew Gielen would be a nice addition to the team. The ReBuilding Center also linked up with Core Recycling, a division of The City of Roses Disposal, who are well known for ensuring that what-would-be discarded waste be reused, recycled, or reduced.

The 362,422-square-foot building may be memorable from the outside, but when asked what the inside looked like, Lichter said, “It’s kind of a boring office building, with the exception of the elevator lobbies.” Getting into more detail, the building seems to have more or less character depending on the floor. Plagued with water damage, lack of natural light, and a few environmental deficiencies, the building is due for some repairs. The ReBuilding Center is poised to take on the project, bringing nearly 20 years of experience to the art of dismanteling for reuse. The materials will then be available for sale to the public at 40-90% of market and retail values. Proceeds (after operational costs) fund RBC’s Community Outreach Program and ReFind Education.

Presuming the General Contractor and the City Of Portland accept the ReBuilding Center's proposal, RBC estimates the process could take from two to three and half months, with hope of completing the project by the end of 2017. The basic proposal is presented in three tiers: 1) what the City of Portland wants to keep; 2) what RBC wants that the City of Portland doesn’t; and 3) materials that the ReBuilding Center may be able to sell.

Possibly the most controversial building in Portland, and certainly one that stands out amongst the rest, Portland embraces progressive DeConstruction Services to make use of the iconic materials. Renovations will help significantly with energy efficiency and shed much-needed natural light on the employees.

Breaking Down Deconstruction in PDX

If you’ve been following the news, you know that Portland’s City Council recently adopted an ordinance mandating that in lieu of demolition, home structures built prior to 1917 be fully deconstructed instead. Prior to the ordinance, roughly 30 homes in Portland were deconstructed annually with 300 being demolished. With the ordinance, it is estimated that as many as 100 homes will be deconstructed each year, diverting up to 2,400 tons of materials from the landfill.

To ensure that the skilled workers are available to take down all of these old homes, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held a training in March, led by the renowned deconstructionist Dave Bennick of Bellingham, WA. Fifteen trainees participated over 12 days, taking down three homes.


All of which is enough to get us excited at the ReBuilding Center. But what was really cool was the class of trainees itself: women, people of color, the formerly incarcerated. Every single one of the trainees came from a class of people who are not traditionally well-represented in the trades. And as a sustainability organization, that was amazing because development that is truly sustainable must not only “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” but also needs to work for everyone in the community. Let’s meet some of the trainees!

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Zach is an incredibly affable guy. He learned about the training from his Home for Good manager. “It’s pretty incredible. It’s an amazing opportunity. The first house came down quick. It moves fast, fast. Removing flooring was probably the coolest thing. It was oak. Nice stuff. Learning how to rock it back and forth so you don’t rip the groove out, that was something I’d never seen before. We had Shane, Forrest, and Augest teaching us how to do that. And the roof came off in like two hours. The hardest piece was the plaster in the other house. It was a good inch thick and we just had to hammer it and hammer it and hammer it.”

Savannah, a recent Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. graduate, learned about deconstruction during her pre-apprenticeship training with OTI. She enjoyed it, did some research on deconstruction and “realized it was something ethically I believed in; and I like hard work and I love the idea of rebuilding things… It’s gratifying to be able to visually see progress on something. I love the idea of salvaging materials and keeping things out of the landfill.” 


Joe was living in a shelter when she heard about the training. She owned her own home for fourteen years and so knows a thing about reuse and repair. “You’ve got to do some of it---the repairs---yourself. You just can’t afford to have someone else do all of it.” Joe said, “I think the training's great. I always believed in deconstruction and reusing. And I think having this program vs. coming in with big equipment and wrecking everything and taking it to the dump, it’s great. I think it’s really important that we can use places like the ReBuilding Center to keep reusing. Dave Bennick gave a great speech about energy, about how it takes a certain amount of energy to make the roads to get the items, to take them somewhere to build them, and that we lose that energy if we don’t save the materials and reuse them. So let’s reuse them.”

And then there’s Umoru. Umoru was a carpenter before he came to the United States. He’s been hanging around the ReBuilding Center for about a year, volunteering and trying to get back into the trades. Umoru said, “There are some tools that I didn’t know the names of but that I know how to use. So there’s one big tool that I really like to use, a big pry bar, I like using it. I feel like it’s good for me. It is dirty work but it’s a good job.”

Safety is always a concern. Dave Bennick, the intrepid instructor explains: "We’re practicing taking out florescent light fixtures in a safe way. It’s above your head. So not only is there the danger of the light falling down but you’ve got debris. And it’s an older light fixture so there may be PCPs in the ballast. And another concern is that we’re worried about taking it out in such a way so that it can be re-used.”

But the best story was from Sara Badiali, a former ReBuilding Center employee, the founder of Reclamation Administration, and a fixture in Portland’s deconstruction scene. “This has been a really fun group of people. They work together really well. The guy with the dumpster dropped it off in the wrong spot. So Dave Bennick was showing everyone how you use levers and we actually fit it into the right spot. And I turned to Kyle (one of the students) and said, ‘Man you work together really well.’ They had the communication down. And she turned to me and said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been a longshoreman and I have never actually worked with a group of people who worked together so well and had such a good time,’ and then she leaned over and she said, ‘You know, there’s always kind of an a**hole in the group that sort of ruffles everyone’s feathers. But there’s not a single one in this group.’”

Reducing waste. Reusing materials. Building a more sustainable Portland, for everyone. And having fun while they’re at it.

Keeping Portland weird.

Learn How to Cob & Build Community April 8th & 9th!

You’ve probably seen the intriguing, organic, red bay at the main entrance of the ReBuilding Center that we call the "Community Trees.”  You may have asked yourself how these walls and trees were built? The answer is cob, a traditional building technique using earth mixed with water, straw, and sand.  The Community Trees are in desperate need of repair and we need your help to fix them! Learn valuable skills on how to mix, build, repair, and plaster with cob while building community!

The ReBuilding Center is sponsoring a two-day workshop to learn about making and using cob to repair the Community Trees. 

Saturday, April 8th & Sunday, April 9th
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. all day drop-in
1-hour lunch at noon

All are welcome! This cob workshop is intended to be accessible for all from children to elders. This is a family-friendly event. 

Drop-ins welcomed within these times:

Saturday, April 8th 

10am - Opening Circle
10am to Noon - "Classroom" Conversation
12pm to 1pm - Lunch
1pm to 4pm - Mixing Structural Cob, Mixing Plaster Cob, Cob Application
4pm to 5pm - CleanUp, Closing Circle

Sunday, April 9th

10am - Opening Circle
10am to Noon - Cob & Plaster Application
12om to 1pm - Lunch
1pm to 4pm - Cob & Plaster Application
4pm to 5pm - Wrap Up, CleanUp, and Closing Circle

Instructors will discuss the a history of the practice and its resilience to earthquakes.


Seed was born in Duwamish Coast Salish territory, Seattle, and grew up in Multnomah Chinook territory, Portland. He has traveled around Turtle Island trading work for skills like cob building, gardening, and ecological restoration, with a focus of supporting indigenous sovereignty projects—a core foundation of ecology in every region. He teaches and works with cob as a material for building sound structures, community, and metaphors for his own and our collective volition. Learning and growing through leading workshops past, including the Village Building Convergence, Seed hopes to facilitate a conversation of resilience skills, applied practice, and collective Spirit. Aho!

Sharky is a free spirit, born and raised playing in the mud of Kalapuya territory aka Eugene, OR. For the past 5 years, Sharky has traveled across Turtle Island studying off-grid living, natural building, farming, and passive solar construction. After building with different styles including earthships, earthbag construction, and cob, Sharky prefers cobbing because it is free-form, soul-soothing, accessible and fun for everyone. Sharky hopes to empower others to create autonomous buildings and community that, with a little TLC, will last a millennia.  

The Community Trees all dressed up for an episode of Grimm

The Community Trees all dressed up for an episode of Grimm

Kenton Neighborhood Approves Proposal for Tiny House Village for Houseless Women

On the night of March 8, a vote by the Kenton neighborhood approved a tiny house village for 14 houseless women with a landslide vote of 178 to 75 in favor of this innovative solution. At the vote, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly weighed in, “No neighborhood is going to be exempt from this conversation," Eudaly said, "This is a problem for all of us to solve. We're not talking about importing people to Kenton. We're talking about housing your houseless neighbors." 

The ReBuilding Center has been reporting on this story. To learn more, read The Oregonian article Tiny house village for homeless women approved by Kenton neighborhood >

“The newest idea in housing homeless people earned the first round of approval Wednesday night with a vote by the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland.

The neighborhood residents voted 178 to 75 in favor of a village of 14 tiny houses for homeless women.

Key city officials back the pilot project to form a community with shared restrooms, common space and a garden at a site off North Argyle Street, near Kenton Park. Charlie Hales kicked off the idea during his term as mayor and now Mayor Ted Wheeler is championing it as a better alternative to people sleeping on the streets or in tent villages.”
— Molly Harbarger, The Oregonian

The tiny homes were built by students from Portland State University's Center for Public Interest Design and the Village Coalition, a houseless advocacy nonprofit (that RBC helps support) using space and materials provided by the ReBuilding Center.

Before being moved to the Kenton neighborhood, the tiny homes are being stored at the ReBuilding Center's temporary lot. You can spot the ReBuilding Center’s head cashier, Ella Rose showing her beaming smile up on a billboard behind Ted Wheeler in the video below.

Drink and Craft at Portland's DIY Bar

DIY Bar is a gathering place in Portland, Oregon to get your craft on. On their website they say, "we're bringing people together to work on individual projects from our craft menu. Think of it as a Pinterest workshop where you get to sip on your favorite wine, beer, or cider. We've done the work for you to find the projects, gather the tools, and the materials needed to make beautiful and functional crafts." 

DIY Bar wrote about the ReBuilding Center in this blog post

We are excited to say the wood used for the frame of our bar, and our utility sink, are from the ReBuilding Center on Mississippi. The ReBuilding Center is filled with materials to get you through home, commercial, or recreational projects. A lot of these materials would have otherwise been recycled or landfilled, so it’s awesome to see them get a better use. They also have a deconstruction team, so if you need a house demolished you know who to call. Say goodbye to those pesky neighbors!

We asked DIY Bar a few questions about their mission, DIY culture, and reuse! See their responses below:

What is DIY Bar?

DIY Bar is a place for crafty and not so crafty people. It's part crafting studio, part bar. We supply the tools, materials, and tutorials for folks to sit down and complete a project from our project menu. It's similar to a paint and sip place, but we offer any of our projects at all times. The projects are self-guided with tutorials, and our craft-tenders are around if anyone needs assistance.

Who's it for?

We welcome everyone, but we're geared towards adults. As adults, it's easy for us to lose track of our creative and playful sides. We want to bring that back in those who have lost it, and continue to fuel it for those who still have it.

Why did you choose the ReBuilding Center for materials?

We share similar values as RBC. We grew up in the waste industry and worked in it before starting DIY Bar. We are familiar with how much waste is generated and the importance of using reclaimed materials. RBC is our go-to for reclaimed building materials. We're happy to say the heart of our bar (the bar) is made with materials from RBC.

How did RBC and DIY Bar get connected?

We familiarized ourselves with RBC by being involved with the waste industry. And now that we're neighbors it's even better (and dangerous because there's so many good things in there).

What is it about DIY culture that interests you?

We want to share the experience and feeling you get after completing a project. For us it's a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. You can look back at your project and know you made or built it with your hands. You've put your own creative twist on it. You made that thing!

What are some of the projects you're most excited to lead?

As mentioned above, we'll have craft-tenders to help support folks with their projects, instead of leading individual projects at a time.

What types of projects will you be hosting?

We have about 20 different projects on our craft menu. They range from leather projects (clutch purse, wallet, passport holder), to light wood working (6-pack carrier, drop catch bottle opener) to home goods (magnetic shelf, cat scratcher) to jewelry (hex nut bracelet, beaded wrap bracelet, tree of life necklace) to a variety of other projects (nail and string art). They're projects with a purpose!

What kinds of materials will be used?

We have a lot of different types of materials! We'll be using wood, string, nails, paint, magnets, leather, feathers, beads, chains, etc.

DIY Bar plans to launch in the Spring

and will be located at:


Jami and Kourosh Remodel

This summer Jami and Kourosh Poumad completed a 4,300-square-foot home restoration using as many recycled materials as they could.    They wrote and complimented the staff of the ReBuilding Center for helping them select the following, all of which were used in the remodel.

Kitchen Cabinets
Corian kitchen counter and sink
24 exterior windows
3 entry doors
11 interior door knobs
4 bathroom showers, sinks and hardware
9 Cast iron radiators
Stair railing

21 indoor light fixtures
All deck straps
20 bags of insulation






Jami and Kourosh kindly responded to questions we had that explained in detail their experience and reasons for using recycled materials from the ReBuilding Center:

Is this the first time you have used recycled items in your home?

This is not the first time. Whenever we have a repair or change at home the ReBuilding Center/recycled materials are our first choice.


For items that had to be “built-in," like the kitchen cabinets and countertops, the 24 exterior windows, and the stair railing, did you have any problem getting them to fit? Or did you have to modify them in some way?  

Yes. The windows all had to be re–framed and one of the kitchen cabinets was converted to a sink module since the "set" didn’t include it.  We also installed a kick plate at the base.  The Corian counter was too long and had to be cut at one end. The stair railing had to be re-drilled and the old holes had to be filled in with wood putty, then re-stained.  (The metal rails were new, not recycled)

Why do you use recycled materials?

Lower cost and we like to bring products and materials “back to life.”

Have you used sources other than the ReBuilding Center to obtain/purchase items?

Yes—Habitat for Humanity in Portland, Cedar Hills and Forest Grove; Goodwill; and Craigslist.

Do you have a philosophy that supports your use of recycled building materials?

Considering a great deal of effort and expertise goes into manufacturing a walnut door or a leaded glass window, it’s a shame to send a craftperson’s work to a landfill.  We find that often a recycled item is just as good as or better than new [materials] and is less expensive.  Those savings are passed onto our family and employees, it puts a whole new spin on recycling!

What other things have you purchased from the ReBuilding Center? 

1 heavy duty outdoor door and 1 French door for our business
We re-purposed an alabaster hanging bell lamp to a soft table lamp
We installed 3 – 6’x1’ windows in our daylight studio
Insulation for the studio
16 cast iron radiators for our home
Roofing material for our home
A double stove for our home

Of all your purchases of recycled items, which do you like the most?
We like the windows used on the front deck in place of iron balusters.  It saved us a lot of money in place of using many balusters.  And it gives the home a charming artistic flair without being over the top.  



Found on Pinterest, here are some fun craft opportunities utilizing old cabinet doors, which ReBuilding Center has plenty of!  Not “recycled,” but “upcycled” into a southern style work of art, these serving trays are perfect for any style home décor.  The one shown above was created by Kim from Savvy Southern Style and included on the Cottage Market Blog.

Here’s another cabinet door upcycled into a useful tray from Randi of Dukes & Duchesses. Follow her how-to here >

And another! Inspired now? This one is from Addicted 2 Decorating. Follow Kristi's informational how-to here >

 The ReBuilding Center is a good source for these and many other objects that can be upcycled into unique uses. Get your creative reuse on and tag us in your next project @rebuildingcenter!


High School Students Power Tiny Homes for the Houseless

High school students from Catlin Gabel are powering tiny homes for the houseless with a project they call “The Juice Box Project!” Check out this 3-minute video and hear from the residents about how this system is helping them get back on their feet!

An innovative solution to off-the-grid communities like Hazelnut Grove, these eco-friendly boxes provide solar powered energy to juice light and electricity, which “allows residents to become more independent, productive and engaged in their communities!” Help The Juice Box Project win this year’s Lexus Eco Challenge by sharing this post! The ReBuilding Center is a proud partner in this initiative.

What Is Juice Box?

Juice Box is an efficient and sustainable way to provide electricity for off-the-grid, portable pods for previously homeless people.

  • The shelter "pods" are equipped with 100W solar panels that deliver power to the Juice Box, mounted inside. 
  • The power of the sun is harnessed to charge an 18 AH 12V battery. Batteries are recycled from FIRST Robotics teams.
  • This power can then be used to power devices that plug into a wall outlet  (120V AC, 300W max) or 12V DC automotive accessory socket.
  • The battery also powers a bright LED light bar mounted on the front of the Juice Box, perfect for illuminating rooms at night, and extending the day of the user.

Come and get your junk fixed at the Next Repair Cafe


Repair PDX was formed in March 2013 to bring repair events to Portland residents. Inspired by the Netherlands Repair Cafés, a group of dedicated volunteers have held Portland Repair Cafés about once a month since May 2013.  The typical Repair Cafés are festive events where you can often get a bite to eat and a drink while meeting others from your community who are also interested in repair. Volunteer experts are on hand to fix items and to teach you how to fix your own items.  

Each repair café event is unique, based on the venue and the volunteers present. The types of items that can be repaired depend on the skills of available volunteers.  That’s right, repairs are carried out by “volunteer fixers!”  Note: you can become a volunteer fixer to work at other Repair Café events – just email repairpdx@gmail.com with your contact information and what you’d like to do.  Join us for a Repair PDX event at the ReBuilding Center!

Repair PDX Event
May 23rd
6:00–8:00 pm.
ReBuilding Center

Bring your garments for mending, bikes and small appliances for repair.

Bring your garments for mending, bikes and small appliances for repair.