DeConstruction Services Update


As of July 5, Deconstruction Services at the ReBuilding Center will close. We thank all who helped us pioneer this trade, including staff past and present—as well as supporting clients and community members.

More than 20 years ago, when our DeConstruction Services were launched, the ReBuilding Center pioneered a new way to remove buildings that was far superior to mechanical demolition—it protected neighbors from harmful dust and debris and salvaged materials for reuse, rather than sending them to the landfill.

Over the course of our operations, we deconstructed almost a million square feet on over 1,000 projects, and gave rise to an entirely new sector in the building industry. We were so successful, in fact, that the City of Portland decided that ours was the model they wanted to replicate, to make it mandatory for residential structures built before 1916 through a Deconstruction Ordinance.

We made the very difficult decision to stop doing deconstruction in part because the need for a nonprofit deconstruction firm no longer exists with so many capable for-profit firms meeting the need for deconstruction in the Portland region.  

In this sense, we have actually succeeded—we have pioneered a new method that has been so successful that others have stepped in to meet the need. Our team has done amazing work over the years, and has built our reputation as a pioneer in sustainability and reuse.

If you are seeking a deconstruction firm, we recommend viewing the City of Portland’s list of certified deconstruction contractors.

In the 20-year history of DeConstruction Services, we have:

  • Worked on 1,240 projects;

  • Deconstructed 369 whole houses;

  • Engaged in 73 whole-house guts and/or roof removals;

  • Deconstructed 30 commercial buildings and/or apartments;

  • Dismantled 20 barns of various sizes;

  • Deconstructed 260 garages (also of various sizes);

  • Dismantled 20+ sheds; and

  • Performed house skims; kitchen skims and guts; bath skims and guts; and flooring removals.

Andy and Ryan finishing work on the last deconstruction project.

Andy and Ryan finishing work on the last deconstruction project.

DeConstructing Walls and Barriers

By: Claire Schilperoort (Salvage Specialist)

Ella Rose with Workshop Participants

Ella Rose with Workshop Participants

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of joining Andy (DeConstructionist) in representing the ReBuilding Center at the annual Oregon Tradeswomen’s Career Fair, hosted at NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center. Mayela (Salvage Specialist) and Ella Rose (Salvage Specialist) attended on Friday to demonstrate making planter boxes and coat racks with reclaimed materials (and using of a lot of wooden cabinet knobs)!

Andy and I arrived on Saturday morning and navigated parking to unload the marvelous temporary wall Andy constructed for our deconstruction demonstration. We set up our table, overflowing in terrific handouts about RBC— education class information, business cards, bumper stickers, and job applications—then grabbed some muffins and coffee at the food station, and were ready to go.

Mind you, we were in a back demonstration room, hallways past hallways, away from the main party, and a little hidden. Worried about not getting enough foot traffic our way, Andy made some beautiful signs to hang throughout the building, and I set up our “deconstruct a wall!” sign on a stool in the hallway, and we waited.

Things were slow at first. I’d eaten all my muffins, our coffee was cold, and aside from a few heads peaking in the door, our wall was lonely and untouched. But low and behold, a group of 5 or 6 young ladies came through the door, and the pace of the day was changed forever. Their enthusiasm and vibrancy about learning and getting their hands on materials was extremely refreshing. Some were shyer than others, but even they grabbed hammers, put on those safety glasses, and patiently listened to Andy’s instruction. I thought we’d take some trim off and maybe talk about reuse, but these girls ended up deconstructing the entire wall, from light fixture to studs!

Andy posing with the DeConstruction Wall

Andy posing with the DeConstruction Wall

From then on, we had a pretty steady procession of interested people trickle in—people of all ages and education levels. A five-year-old with our giant gloves on, safety glasses falling off her little face, found comfort with the drill driver and took every panel off one side of the wall. Others had already received some degree of formal education in electrical/construction/etc. and were more curious about who RBC is and what we do. We explained our mission, the different departments of RBC, and how they all exist together to make things flow. We told many interested people about the classes we offer, volunteer opportunities, and handed out every single job application!

Several young ladies we met had never held a drill before, let alone an impact driver. They were hesitant, posturing as if the wall would explode when they pulled the trigger, and stripped a couple screws a little, but once they realized they were in control, how to hold it, pressure needed, how angles mattered, etc., there was no stopping them.

Andy and I took a couple turns walking around the facility while the other led demos, exploring the more than 70 exhibitors and 40 hands-on workshops. So many opportunities and happy, ambitious people sharing their knowledge and answering questions!

DeConstruction Highlight: Living Cully

A couple years ago, the Sugar Shack strip club closed, and the property at the corner of Northeast Cully Boulevard and North Killingsworth Street went up for sale. It was purchased by a group of community organizations who did not have a plan, but knew they wanted to transform the crime-ridden property into a space to cultivate community. Over time, the site was named Living Cully Plaza, and a plan was created through a collaboration spearheaded by Hacienda Community Development Corp. to build affordable apartments. During the time of planning, the property was immediately transformed into a community space used to organize the Cully community.

Living Cully.jpg

The ReBuilding Center is one of many organizations who are involved in the Living Cully Plaza project. Our DeConstruction team was on site for a lumber skim, and the reclaimed lumber was brought to our store. Additional deconstruction took place by other organizations, with many materials going back into the Cully community for reuse.  

In early December, members of the Cully neighborhood and the Living Cully Community gathered to celebrate the Sugar Shack demolition. Many stories were told about the community’s ability to rally together and create change in the neighborhood. This project has been many years in the making, with an incredible amount of people and organizations dedicated to make a positive difference with the property.

To follow along with Living Cully progress, check out the Living Cully website.

A DeConstructionist's Treasure

DeConstruction, the art of dismantling for reuse, is a more affordable and environmentally sustainable alternative to demolition. DeConstruction reduces waste, promotes reuse and recycling, and minimizes the impact on our region’s natural resources.

The ReBuilding Center’s DeConstruction team oftentimes deconstruct homes built over 100 years ago. The team is able to salvage up to 85% of a structure’s component parts, however, building materials aren’t always the only items that can be salvaged.

Jose Garcia, a ReBuilding Center DeConstructionist, gave us a sneak peak into some of the items he has found while deconstructing. These treasures can be found almost anywhere -  in walls, in between shelves, or under floor boards. Jose believes it is important to save these pieces of history and has a passion for collecting these deconstructionist’s treasures.

Take your time looking through this gallery. The details of these items are fascinating, and, in Jose’s words, “can tell a whole story of the history of a home.”

New Demolition Ordinance Creates Opportunities and Possible Challenges

As the oldest deconstruction firm in the City, the ReBuilding Center’s DeConstruction Services was well positioned to take up the additional work when the City of Portland implemented the mandatory deconstruction requirement for homes built in 1916 or before. The City also had been planning to move up the date of construction for homes subject to the mandatory deconstruction ordinance. However, in February, instead of expanding the mandatory deconstruction ordinance, the City passed an ordinance imposing a series of new requirements for the demolition of homes built after 1916 in the interest of environmental and community health and safety benefits.

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Requirements for home demolitions under the new ordinance include removing the exterior of the house before mechanically demolishing the rest of the structure. This could boost local interest in deconstruction, but new procedural and staffing requirements could prove onerous if the City decides to apply them to deconstruction.

Details of the New Requirements

The new ordinance requires removal of any painted elements on the exterior of houses (windows, doors, siding, etc.), before mechanical demolition. Once the exterior is removed, the permit holder can mechanically demolish the rest of the house, but if they do, the ordinance requires new procedures, including:

  • The contractor must continuously spray water on their equipment and waste materials to suppress dust.
  • All mechanical demolition must stop if winds exceed 25 mph.
  • Place plastic protection around the exterior of the house.
  • Cover all non-salvageable waste containers.
  • Have an accredited asbestos inspector on site during all work.
  • Submit a demolition/deconstruction plan detailing how the contractor will comply with the new requirements.
  • Post notices on all properties within 150 feet of the project at least 72 hours before work starts.

What the New Ordinance May Mean for Us

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The ordinance says that, if the whole house is deconstructed, the watering and the wind speed requirements do not apply. However, there is a lingering question about whether the additional procedural and staffing requirements would apply to whole house deconstructions.

If the City applies the procedural requirements to deconstruction projects, it could create challenges, including:

  • Each new non-mandatory deconstruction job would require additional preparation work to develop a demolition plan and may require additional onsite measures.
  • We'll need to certify multiple deconstruction staff as asbestos inspectors and will have to ensure that each job site always has a certified asbestos inspector on site.

Mandatory Deconstruction v. New Demolition Requirements

The City said they expect the new ordinance to increase the number of whole house deconstructions. Therefore, the City decided not to move up the date for homes subject to mandatory deconstruction, for fear of overwhelming the small number of deconstruction contractors in the area. Traditional demolition contractors may, indeed, decide to hire deconstruction contractors to do the exterior deconstruction. Additionally, some permit holders may opt to deconstruct the entire house. Plus, the new ordinance applies to hundreds of more residential buildings than the mandatory deconstruction ordinance. However, it is not a foregone conclusion that the new ordinance will be beneficial for licensed deconstruction firms.

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What's Next

The City will need to develop rules for implementing the ordinance, including an official statement on what requirements will apply to whole house deconstructions. The City will begin enforcing the new demolition requirements this summer, and DeConstruction Services is prepared to support and comply with any regulations that the City passes to improve environmental and community health.

Sara Eddie, Business Development

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.

Oh, What A Year!

What a year! February 2016 seems like eons ago—when Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve the nation’s first ordinance mandating the deconstruction of all homes scheduled for demolition built prior to 1917. (These homes represent about 33% of single-family home demolitions.) You can watch the Council debate here; it starts around minute 70 and includes testimony from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s (BPS) Shawn Wood (1:19) and yours truly, Stephen Reichard, the ReBuilding Center's director (1:37). 

Flyer created for event

Flyer created for event

This landmark resolution will create jobs, increase safety related to lead and asbestos materials, and divert 4,000 tons of building materials annually for reuse. This is a crucial and pioneering first step, and we will work hard in 2017 to adapt to the growth of the deconstruction sector and drive further progress.


February also saw the dedication of the Sons of Haiti’s new food cart lot just to the south of the ReBuilding Center (RBC). A true community-wide partnership, dozens of supporters from across the neighborhood donated nearly $11,000, which was matched by $40,000 from the Portland Development Commission, in the effort to rebuild the lot to bring it into compliance with city code. This rebuilding effort established a significant revenue source for one of the last remaining Black-owned enterprises on Mississippi Avenue.

In March there was the Building Materials Reuse Association’s (BMRA) bi-annual gathering in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fresh off our legislative victory in Portland, the ReBuilding Center’s DeConstruction Services Manager, Doug Lichter; BPS’s Shawn Wood; and Metro’s Bryce Jacobsen told the story of the four-year effort to enshrine deconstruction as the preferred method over demolition. A local group of deconstruction industry representatives has submitted a proposal to host the fall 2017 BMRA DeCon Conference in Portland—the new epicenter of deconstruction.

Remember York? A one-man play about the first African American to the Pacific Northwest?  We co-produced this play with the Native American Youth and Family Association before an audience of 500 at Jefferson High School Auditorium in early March. 

Elaine & Milhouse pose in front of their house getting a fresh new paint job

Elaine & Milhouse pose in front of their house getting a fresh new paint job

More coalition building followed in the spring as the RBC’s Volunteer Services partnered with the African American Alliance for Home Ownership to establish a new tradition—Day of Service. More than 35 volunteers conducted much needed repairs on five homes in Portland’s North/Northeast Corridor for homeowners at risk of losing their homes. 

7th grade class posing with their new 3-string instruments

7th grade class posing with their new 3-string instruments

Flyer for adult education classes taking place in the RBC workshop

Flyer for adult education classes taking place in the RBC workshop

With the time, energy, and vision of more than a dozen volunteers, in 2016 our ReFind Center was reborn as the Education Program, offering classes and much, much more in the ReBuilding Center’s fully equipped workshop. In 2016, 402 Portland Public School seventh-grade students came to learn about the physics of sound while designing and building their own three-stringed instruments, documented here in Three-Stringed Theory. Additionally, the Education Program offered 14 adult classes on how to safely and creatively work with used building materials. Over 70 participants enrolled in hands-on topics such as “Basic Carpentry for Women” and “Build and Play a Cajon (Peruvian Box Drum).” 

The Village Coalition, a network of urban villages and their allies representing Portland Metro’s houseless community, got its start at the ReBuilding Center in March. We hosted 25 meetings fueled by generous food donations from Mississippi Pizza. When the Village Coalition meetings recently grew beyond the size of the RBC’s conference room with the involvement of many village residents and allies, we facilitated a move to the Albina Youth Opportunity School

Loki with her tiny house built in the RBC lumberyard

Loki with her tiny house built in the RBC lumberyard

The Village Coalition inspired an innovative private sector initiative to build hard tents or “pods” for Portland houseless communities, 18 of which were built in the final quarter of 2016. With the incredible support of City Repair, Congregation Beth Israel, Castaway Portland, Tivnu, Oregon Tradeswomen, Constructing Hope, Portland Youth Builders, Natural Felt, National Urban Housing, Center for Public Interest and Design, and many more—including Andy Olshin and the Village Coalition—we will build up to 100 more pods in 2017. The ReBuilding Center continues to supply building materials (along with the help of Lowe’s and Parr Lumber) for this initiative as well as transporting the tiny houses around town.

During the summer, nearly 100 individuals came together to advise the RBC as it considers re-developing the north end of its property. That report has provided RBC with the invaluable wisdom of the community as we seek to leverage our space to the fullest potential to expand our mission to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of our community. 

ReBuilding Center Japan in Nagano

ReBuilding Center Japan in Nagano

An extraordinary spoken word event at the Mississippi Street Fair; the construction of a new reused materials studio at; the opening of ReBuilding Center Japan; the first of a new annual Labor Day community celebration at the RBC, complete with the lumberyard music stage (this year's event honored the retirement and service to community of long-time Community Outreach Manager Linda Hunter); and so much more—we could not and would not have realized so much with the support of so many of you.  

And let’s not forget Lean Portland, an extraordinary group of professionals who are giving up their Saturdays pro bono to help the RBC become a more efficient and effective organization to better meet the needs of our guests and our community. When you visit our store in 2017, you’ll notice “lean system” efforts underway!

With the support of the Energy Trust of Oregon, we converted to LED lighting. With the support of the Autzen Foundation and the Portland Development Commission, we were able to undertake a feasibility study to explore the expansion of our space and mission. With the support of the Collins Foundation, we are well prepared for the challenges of successful implementation of the deconstruction ordinance. 

We deconstructed 20 homes and dozens of kitchens, garages, bathrooms, and barns in 2016. These projects diverted nearly 3,000 tons of materials from the landfill; saved more than 40,000 gallons of water; and prevented some 500 tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere. 

None of this would have been possible without the assistance of nearly 2,000 volunteers, providing us with more than 20,000 hours of your precious time. This was your year—from ushering people to their seats at York last March, to repairing homes in June, cheering on the spoken word in July, and building sleeping pods in the fall. And each and every day, processing materials, putting them on the store shelves, and taking them off the shelves again to give to our guests. Our customers, volunteers, supporters, and staff—the ReBuilding Center community without whom we would not even be here. 

We may remember 2016 as an extraordinarily difficult year—one that may well change the trajectory of our nation and our planet. In what may be challenging times ahead, do not forget to recall what you accomplished this year—with others, in community. You’re amazing. Thank you.

Cover photo by: Carlyle Ellis

December Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

Get involved with the Portland reuse community this winter with the Rebuilding Center! Help build community with Hands On Greater Portland; add to your resume with Rebuilding Center internships; join the newsletter team; and learn more about reuse and remodeling with the Portland Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show. Check out these amazing opportunities below!

Hands On Greater Portland: Community Building and Volunteer Day

Are you interested in making new friends in the community while volunteering? Look no further than Hands On at the Rebuilding Center.

December 15th
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 p.m.

Come to the Rebuilding Center to help with hands-on projects while working with donated materials. Afterwards, head across the street with fellow participants to StormBreaker Brewing for a post-volunteering happy hour!  For more information, contact Dave Lowe at .

Marketing Analyst and Media Internships Available

Do you have an interest nonprofit work, data analysis, media creation, or social media? Do you want to gain experience using data analysis and marketing tools to boost nonprofit efforts while increasing your business, technical, and marketing skills? If so, apply for the Digital Marketing Analysis internship or the Media Content Creator internship with the Rebuilding Center! For more information, email Ashley Howe at

Join the newsletter Team Every Thursday 

Every week, the newsletter team meets with Ashley, the ReBuilding Center’s Communications & Marketing Manager. Together, the team writes stories, carries out interviews, takes photos, and puts together the ReBuilding Center’s e-newsletters. These newsletters are great portfolio/resume builders!

The newsletter team is comprised of volunteers just like you! This is your newsletter, written by volunteers, for the ReBuilding Center community.

Sign up if you have an interest in:

  • Photography/Videography
  • Journalism/Social Media
  • Sustainability
  • Creative Reuse
  • Graphic Design

Channel your creativity into serving our mission to build community through reuse!

To sign up schedule yourself through ReBuilding Center's online Volgistics portal by entering in your login information here, click on "My Schedule," select any Thursday, click "Schedule me," select any time between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., hit "Continue", and confirm! Alternatively, you can email Ashley Howe, the Communications & Marketing Manager at

Table at the Portland Home Show: Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show

Need some home modeling inspiration? Join the ReBuilding Center at the Portland Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show from January 6-8, 2017, at the Oregon Convention Center. Volunteer for a shift at our table to share ReBuilding Center info with attendees. Before or after your shift, see the latest design trends and talk to experts about energy efficiency, home automation, windows, and much more. 

Volunteers that table at the Build, Remodel, and Landscape Show will actively engage those attending the show as a representative of the ReBuilding Center. 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." Volunteers can sign up through Volgistics or contact Volunteer Services at to get registered.

New ReBuilding Center Flourishes in Japan

As many Portlanders know, there is a great affection between Portland and the people of Japan and vice versa. Each year, we have dozens of visitors from Japan, many of them through Portland State University. Two years ago, Kanako Azuna visited us and was very impressed with our ethic of reuse and building a sustainable economy that works for the entire community.  He was so inspired that when he returned to Japan, he began to create the Japanese version of the ReBuilding Center. After revisiting us in August 2016, Kanako opened the ReBuilding Center Japan in the Nagano prefecture of Japan in September of this year. 

The ReBuilding Center Japan has been very active, both in the community and online. The Center’s Facebook page currently has about 3,500 followers, and a promotional video detailing the founder’s visit to Portland and the construction of the Nagano site has been posted to YouTube.

The new ReBuilding Center Japan also maintains a blog where they educate the community about waste utilization, and report on completed community projects. According to the blog, one of ReBuilding Center Japan’s first community jobs was to dismantle a warehouse so that new condominiums could be constructed in its place. 

When roughly translated, the Rebuilding Center Japan’s website says “ Our philosophy is to ‘ReBuild New Culture…giving value to things abandoned in the world, sent out to the world once again, they will connect to the next generation.’"

These are some photos from Rebuilding Center, Japan

PSU Architecture Students Build RBC Trade Show Booth

Videographer, director & editor: Ryan Fruge

The ReBuilding center has teamed up the Portland State University's architecture program to create a new booth for ReBuilding Center to use in trade shows and community events. Much like the interactive kiosks that are being built for ReBuilding Center's Commons launch, the trade show booths too should be visually appealing and functional.  The new design hopes to encourage and build relationships within the community and inspired poeple with reuse ideas. The booth aims to further understanding of ReBuilding Center's mission and all of its component parts. It will showcase our commitment to the reuse of building materials through DeConstruction as well as our Community Outreach Program, volunteer services and information about our warehouse donations and available materials. Margarette Leite is the instructor at PSU to the architecture students involved in the trade show booth project and shared some information on the project.

When the trade show booth was its developing stages, there were many ideas thrown out on what to incorporate; a mini museum, showcasing objects found at DeConstruction sites; a photo gallery displaying photos of homes through the DeConstruction process. The students had to respond to technical challenges such as how to include video aspects like the kiosks or how supply lighting without being reliant on an electrical source. They played with the idea of magnets and incorporated a metal sheet into their design. Students found ways to use both rough and finished pieces to show the range of materials available at the ReBuilding Center. 

To keep the concept fluid throughout, certain guidelines had to be meet. Size constraints were established to be sure the booth was booth mobile and easily transported. Structural integrity had to considered due to the wear and tear, and possible damage over time.

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

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

City of Portland Offering Deconstruction Grants

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

Stillmotion Creates New Film for The ReBuilding Center

Check out Stillmotion and you’ll find a band of filmmakers and storytellers, who as a rule, let their curiosity get the best of them. They believe that the process of discovery is just as important as what ends up on the screen. Loving to share their passion for film making, a few times a year Stillmotion hosts EVO, a 4 day intense educational workshop where 3 teams conceptualize, shoot, edit, and deliver a final piece to 3 pre-selected non-profits, to help tell their story and give back.

A heartfelt thank you to the team members who produced the film: Michael Gerhman (Neenah, WI), Robert Borejszo (Vancouver, BC), and Paul Harrison (Frisco, TX), and team leader, local Portland photographer, Leah Nash, and Stillmotion!

“It was a pleasure and an honor for the EVO team to create this piece for The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages.  I was struck by the amount of heart and dedication we encountered in every person the center touches.  The film is an opportunity to give a voice and face to an organization so dedicated not only to a healthier, more sustainable environment but to a thriving local community.  The piece is for the people that go out of their way to make the place we all call home just a little bit better.” – Leah Nash

Reclaimed Building Material Transport by Bike Event!

On Sunday, February 24 and again Saturday, March 2, 2013 The ReBuilding Center initiated our first ever reclaimed building materials bicycle transportation event. Inspired by Portland bikers and motivated to take sustainability to another level, we worked with local bike enthusiast Ted Buehler and Shift to Bikes! to coordinate and safely move materials from a house hand dismantled by DeConstruction Services to The ReBuilding Center’s warehouse.  It was a blast and we look forward to doing it again! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Two Homes Saved For ReUse

DeConstruction Services is in the middle of taking down two whole houses and one detached garage at SE Alder and 20th Ave. These homes, built in 1891 and 1924, are producing racks and racks of amazing lumber. You can find volunteers de-nailing it daily in the ReBuilding Center lumber yard.

The location is the future home of Buckman Court Apartments being built by Creston Homes, LLC. Another deconstruction project is in the works with Creston Homes, LLC. to take down an old building on E Burnside. Thank you Creston Homes, LLC. for your commitment to saving these buildings from the landfill!

2011 has been a great year. We are excited to see what 2012 will hold. Help make 2012 successful with your own deconstruction project. Contact us for a free estimate or learn more about our services at

DeConstruction for “Small Farm Incubator”

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