The Impact of a Door

The ReBuilding Center welcomes requests for donations of used building and remodeling materials from grassroots projects and organizations that are inclusive and directly benefit the local community. One of these organizations, Community of Hope, located in North Portland, serves homeless, single-parent families. They provide shelter, classes, mentoring, and community life for 4-6 months while families heal from past trauma, build skills, and find stable jobs and homes. We recently caught up with Linda Jo, Community of Hope’s Program Director, to find out how a small donation has made a material difference at Community of Hope.

Community of Hope used wood facing and hinges we donated to help repair and stabilize bedroom doors. These small materials make a huge difference at their facility. Many of the families they serve come from living in an unconventional space, so having private space with a locking door is very significant. It helps to provide the families a sense of safety and gives them a secure space in which to leave their belongings.

Linda Jo explained Community of Hope’s awareness of the impact they have on the environment:

We want to make as small a carbon footprint as we can, and we want to get the materials we use as inexpensively as possible. Reusing materials is both cost effective and keeps things out of our landfill. We feel good to be part of the community who makes our world a better place in terms of environment as well as the people who live in it.

Check out these photos provided by Community of Hope. They have repaired the wood facing and hinges; paint is the next step. A huge thanks to Linda Jo and Community of Hope for sharing their story!

Give!Guide Announcement

Dear Friends, Neighbors, Family, and ReBuilders:

The ReBuilding Center has once again been selected to be a part of the Willamette Week's Give!Guide, a local effort that aims to highlight and support amazing Portland nonprofits by leveraging year-end giving.

How does it work?
Give HERE to the ReBuilding Center between now and December 31. Donations of $100 or more are matched 1:1 by our business partners, ¿Por Qué No? Taquería and Mississippi Pizza!

You will also be entered to win gift certificates to spend at the ReBuilding Center, either to attend a DIY class or to shop at our Store. And, if you're 35 or younger, you get a free pint from StormBreaker Brewing!

But wait, there's more!
If you donate on Big Give Days, you'll be entered to win HUUUGE Give!Guide-sponsored prizes like finger-licking ice-cream parties, luxurious shopping expeditions, spectacular getaways, VIP entertainment packages, and much more! 

Are you in?
Every dollar you donate from now until December 31 will help the ReBuilding Center keep tons of materials (literally!) out of the waste stream and in community hands; offer more and more relevant classes to makers, creators, and homeowners; support the building of more tiny houses for our houseless neighbors; continue creating pathways to green jobs for folks who have been excluded from making a living in the trades; and so much more. 

We thank you in advance for your ongoing support; without it, we couldn't do what we do every day. 

P.S. The ReBuilding Center is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization,
so all of your donations are tax deductible.

BeFunky-collage (1).jpg

Where Does Your Donation Go?

By: Ian Hayes

What happens after you donate something to the ReBuilding Center? Well, sometimes, we donate it right back to someone else! The ReBuilding Center welcomes requests for donations of used building and remodeling materials from grassroots projects and organizations that are inclusive and directly benefit the local community. So far, we have donated materials to over a dozen of these projects in 2018 alone! We were able to catch up with a few of these groups to find out what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been making a material difference, hoping to inspire you with fresh ideas for your next visit.

Passion Impact, Inc.

Passion Impact, Inc. was founded in 2014 by Stefan Peierls and Brad Burns. Their mission is to provide low-income and minority high school and college students the opportunity to develop leadership skills through community service.

Stefan told us they used the wood we donated to build a large shelf that holds almost all of their office supplies, leaving more room for student meetings, trainings, and presentations. “By reusing the resources in our community,” Stefan said, “we show students that no matter how old someone or something may look, there is still tremendous value in their existence and service to the community.” We love to see so many people getting so much reuse and sharing resources with each other!

Passion Impact.PNG

You can learn more about Passion Impact’s volunteer opportunities here.

Sharon Seventh-Day Adventist Church

The Sharon Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Northeast Portland has paid host to several large families who have immigrated from Rwanda, and their teacher felt they would feel much more connected and comfortable if they could sit around a large family-style table. Jann Stowe was able to find the perfect table at the ReBuilding Center within a week of requesting the donation. It needed some refinishing, but that’s part of its story.

Jann said, “That is why I love the ReBuilding Center, it helps individuals and organizations take an idea or concept and see it through to fruition with the use of used or donated goods at a fraction of what it would cost retail. There is also something very special and tactile when you look at a finished project and see a bit of Portland history.”

We know what it’s like to have strong feelings for this city, and its welcoming community, which is why we look for opportunities to give back wherever we can. You can learn more about Sharon SDA Church on their website.

Nutz N Boltz Theater Company

Nutz N Boltz.PNG

Nutz-n-Boltz was founded in 2004 by three individuals who were frustrated by the lack of quality community theater and took it upon themselves to raise the bar with a theater they built from scratch. Their name comes from the idea of building something from the ground up and creating theater as art for art’s sake. For thirteen years, they’ve been performing plays without sponsors and with minimal donations.

“We have made it on ticket sales alone and some of our own money, which is unheard of in the theatrical world,” said Justin Lazenby, co-founder and co-owner of Nutz-n-Boltz. He explained, “We’ve done this by reusing everything we can possibly reuse.”

Every year, Nutz-n-Boltz puts on about four to five performances, and each one requires a set to be custom-built for the production. Over the course of a year, the same space may pay host to a Netherlands country home, a Victorian sitting room, a farm house kitchen, or even an entire set made out of candy.

“The ReBuilding Center has helped significantly in our effort to ‘age’ our sets. Old, single-pane windows, ratchety screen-doors, and tarnished door hardware all contribute to the time and the setting of the show.” If the ReBuilding Center didn’t make these items available and affordable, Justin says, “they would probably be in a landfill or deteriorating in the weather in someone’s backyard.”

The name “Nutz N Boltz” comes from the idea of building a show from scratch, and their theater company is dedicated to “the dying art of hand-built stagecraft.” We can’t wait to see what they have to build next. If you’d like to see a show, find their season schedule here.


If your organization needs materials for a project in the Portland Metro region, we offer donations of used building and remodeling materials to local community-oriented organizations and projects. Find more information and fill out a donation request form here.

Donation Strengthens ReFind Education & Class Offerings

Dawn St. Clair, Rick Pogue and Stan Pulliam with Heffernan Insurance dropped by the ReBuilding Center last week to present the ReBuilding Center with a check for $3,000 to support ReBuilding Center’s ReFind Education Program, which provides hands-on educational classes for adults and kids on how to safely and creatively work with used building materials.

This important donation will help support our ReFind Education program by supplying our shop with much needed equipment such as chop saws, nail guns, band saws and other various hand tools which will strengthen our capacity to bring hands-on learning opportunities to 7th graders and basic carpentry and DIY classes to adults!

“The support couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Dave Lowe, Volunteer Services Manager, “we need new equipment and replacement parts and are so grateful for Heffernan’s support!” ReFind Education offers a three-day class entitled “Three Stringed Theory,” through Portland Public Schools’ 7th Grade Maker Experience. Students from Beverly Cleary Middle School were building three string guitars when Heffernan’s associates came to present their check. 

Thank you, Heffernan!

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

A huge thanks to all who gave to The Rebuilding Center through Give!Guide

The ReBuilding Center participated in the Willamette Week's Give!Guide for the first time this year... and it was a huge success!

We want to give a huge shout-out of thanks to everyone who donated to us, including our two business sponsors, who are also our neighbors:

The business sponsors offered free tacos and drink coupons as incentives as well as a $2,000 donation match from Por Que No.

The ReBuilding Center hosted an event at the end of November at StormBreaker Brewing to kick off and celebrate participation in the Give!Guide, where we raised an initial $1,250 from donors.

Give!Guide aims to increase year-end-giving participation in individuals 35 years or younger. The ReBuilding Center received more than 100 individual donations, with more than a third of which were made by people under 36 years of age!

For this first year participating in the Give!Guide, our goal was to raise over $10,000, and we are excited to announce we met that goal (including Por Que No's match)! Even though the official Give!Guide period is now over for the year, you can still make a donation to support the work and mission of the ReBuilding Center.

All donations support the ReBuilding Center’s mission to build community through reuse, including our Community Outreach Program, which strengthens the capacity and impact of community-led efforts to create a more equitable, vibrant, and resilient Portland.

Last year, the ReBuilding Center diverted over 2 million pounds of building materials from the landfill—such as lumber, hardware, lighting, and doors—and sold over 400,000 items back to the community for reuse. Through these sales, the ReBuilding Center was able to donate essential building materials to over 200 local grassroots projects, and our Community Outreach Program was able to support 12 community-building initiatives.

Again, thanks to everyone who gave through the Give!Guide this year. We’re excited to participate again next year and look forward to continuing to grow and connect with the ReBuilding Center community!

Tiny Homes on Display at PNCA

In mid-December, 14 tiny houses were displayed in a parking lot near the Pacific Northwest College of Art.  These were designed by local professional architects and students of the PSU architecture program and then constructed at various sites, including two at the ReBuilding Center.  The concept is to provide small, safe, and beautiful sleeping units for the houseless population of the city. Initial planning was carried out by a collection of public and private participants calling themselves “Partners On Dwelling,”  hence the acronym “POD.”  By a happy coincidence, tiny houses can also be referred to as “pods!” 

A collection of “pods” becomes a village, and are planned to be located at various sites throughout the city.  The current 14 pods are proposed to be sited in North Portland in the community of Kenton. New pods continue to be built at the Rebuilding Center, utilizing available recycled materials. The long-term goal of the initiative is to create 30 villages of 30 pods each. 

For additional information you can check out:


In Case You Were Wondering…

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

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

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

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

© All Rights Reserved | Tax ID # 93-1241474