Today's Finds

With Our Own Two Hands

We have a lot to celebrate this year. Although it did not go far enough, the Paris Agreement, within the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, was a giant step forward. For the first time ever, a clear international commitment was made to keep a significant portion of remaining hydrocarbons in the ground. Drafted in December 2015, the agreement “opens for signature” on Earth Day—April 22, 2016. 

Community members and organizations in Oregon have echoed the sentiment of the Paris Agreement by organizing to apply pressure on decision makers to move away from carbon-based fuels and toward a sustainable future. Thanks to these grassroots efforts, last month landmark victories were achieved to keep new LNG and coal projects out of Oregon.

And there’s been good news even closer to home. In February, Portland’s City Council passed a groundbreaking resolution to make deconstruction mandatory for all homes built more than 100 years ago that are scheduled for demolition (about 33% of single-family demolitions). The process of deconstruction will save millions of pounds of valuable building materials for reuse that would otherwise be put into the landfill. This new ordinance will reduce atmospheric carbon by roughly 800 tons per year while generating 20-25 new living-wage, permanent jobs. The ReBuilding Center is thankful for all who came together to vocalize your support for this resolution. Our DeConstruction Services department is excited to grow, and our store looks forward to offering more materials to the community!

These important policy developments, from the international to the local level, did not take place because politicians decided they were good things to do. They occurred because community members worked for them from the bottom up: we organized; we applied pressure; and, at long last, politicians acted. 

In the work we do and the incredible people we encounter every day at the ReBuilding Center, I am constantly reminded of the words of Desmond Tutu, painted on the front of our building: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

We invite you to join us as volunteers at the ReBuilding Center to be part of that change you want to see in the world—only together can we can create a sustainable community, environment, and economy. And so I will close with the lyrics fit for Earth Day from Ben Harper:

I can change the world
with my own two hands…
with our own
with our own two hands

or watch the video here: If you haven’t heard it, it’s a great tune. Enjoy! 

Stephen Reichard
Executive Director

It’s National Volunteer Week and Earth Day is right around the corner! We’ve got a lot of volunteer opportunities for you in these next two weeks. Here is a list of volunteer opportunities to give back to the community and support environmental protection!

Table at the Fox Tower Sustainability Fair

Fox Tower is coordinating an event for eco-friendly, sustainable and local vendors. This would be a chance for you to spread awareness of the mission and goals of the ReBuilding Center to the business community in Portland and reach a wide range of people. This event will be held in the Fox Tower lobby April 21-22, Thursday and Friday; 11am-1pm.

Get exclusive tickets to events through volunteering with Wave PDX

We are excited to host some volunteers from wave this Thursday. Haven’t heard of them? They incentivize volunteerism through events where the only way to get tickets is by volunteering time in the community. Next month, Revolution Hall hosts Kurt Vile for an exclusive concert!

Glean materials from Metro Central

Work with us to visit the Metro Central Transfer station twice a week in order to keep usable building materials out of the waste stream! Twice weekly, we are organizing volunteer opportunities at the transfer station for those interested in sustainable waste management and getting a "behind the scenes" look at how we can help!

Available on Monday's and Thursdays from noon to 3pm, this project is looking for volunteers that can dedicate multiple trips in a row. Safety training and orientation on-site will be provided for your first shift. 

Spring and Summer Internships now open!

Every year, interns with ReBuilding Center take on amazing projects with our efforts to build communities with greater social and environmental vitality. If you, or someone you know, can benefit from a 3-6 month internship or a prolonged volunteer opportunity, consider working with us! Internship opportunities include: 

  • Creative ReUse Library Curator
  • Administrative Assistant Intern
  • Volunteer Coordinator Intern
  • Salvage Specialist Intern
  • Volunteer Leader

Don't see anything that interests you? Let us know! We love to create opportunities for those committed to better world. Areas of interest where we have created internships in the past: 

  • Community Health
  • Social Justice
  • DeConstruction
  • Film/Photography content management

Monthly Volunteer Event

Thursday, April 14th, 6pm - 8pm

The second Thursday of every month is our after-hours volunteer event! It’s coming up quick, so grab your spot and get together with other volunteers from around the Portland area to enjoy a night of light-hearted material salvage. There’s a happy hour at StormBreaker Brewing to follow. Volunteers receive 25% off!

Help us reign in our Tile Area!

We are looking for a dedicated volunteer to take on our ever-growing tile area. Our wonderful volunteer, Bobby, has moved on to bigger and better things and we're looking for someone to fill her shoes. Check out the video we put together highlighting Bobby and her work with us!

The work done at the ReBuilding Center is all about creating opportunities for our community to become more equitable, vibrant, and sustainable. Volunteers like you are the backbone of our mission. If you have an interest in reducing waste, engaging in your community, and making a better world, come on out and hang with us - we'd love to see you!


TRC Drivers Bring in the Darndest Things!

This original 35’ wooden flagpole flew for 100 years at the Meier & Frank warehouse on NW 14th and Everett! Come visit The ReBuilding Center to see for yourself some of the amazing one-of-a-kind materials we have available for sale.

07/07/11 | 2 Comments | TRC Drivers Bring in the Darndest Things!


  • 1.Hooray that it won't be burned for firewood like the original one at Columbia Barracks, Fort Vancouver !

    FichenDich | May 2011 | Wood Village, OR

  • 2.It's nice to see one of our flagpoles that we made many years ago. Our company started to build wood flagpoles in 1885 and did so till we could no longer get the quality of wood we needed in the late 1970's. 

    We are still owned and operated by the fifth and sixth generation, in San Francisco. 

    Larry Bolander

The ReBuilding Center Finds the Darnedest Things

I always enjoy the great finds that come in from our free pick up service tucked away in a cabinet or that our DeConstruction Services team unearth during a project. These are some of the items hanging around the office this week.

This old globe was saved from the dumpster. Couldn’t find a date but base on the countries, its definitely a few years (decades) old.

These are Oregonian issues from 1934! Looks like bikes were popular back then too (and big hats)! These came out of the current DeConstruction Services project in downtown Beaverton.

We also have a display of found items in the Community Resource Area of The ReBuilding Center, right behind the Community Tree Cob entrance.

See more photos of the items above here.

Le Roy Setziol Door Finds its Unlikely Way to The ReBuilding Center

The Le Roy Setziol Door, unlike his other works in galleries across the Northwest, arrived at The ReBuilding Center strapped to a flat-bed truck. It is a story of trash and treasure, of a beautiful and valuable piece of art that nearly ended up in the landfill. Soon to be showcased by The ReBuilding Center, the Setziol Door’s unique carving, geometric pattern and gentle craftsmanship are its signature. The intricate patterns of ridges divided by flowing lines and organic shapes are smoothed not by sanding, but by deliberate carving and oiling by hand.

On Saturday June 19, 2010, the Setziol Door will be showcased at Open the DOOR to Sustainability, hosted by The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages. A series of artist doors will be auctioned, created by Pacific Northwest artists from doors reclaimed from local Portland homes. ReFind Furniture’s environmentally sustainable contemporary furnishings, designed and handcrafted from repurposed materials, will also be exhibited and sold.

This uniquely carved door was donated to The ReBuilding Center in the fall of 2004. It was retrieved by The ReBuilding Center’s free pick-up service during one of their daily loops around the Portland region. The beautiful door was admired and appreciated, but little did the drivers know at the time that they were beholding the work of artist Le Roy Setziol. The center’s Salvage Specialists set the door aside for a time, intending to consider how best to find it a new home. One day, someone recognized Setziol’s signature artistry. The work was confirmed by his daughter Monica Setziol Phillips and thought to be one of his early works.

Though extraordinary in circumstance, the story of the Setziol Door is just one example of the treasures The ReBuilding Center saves every day. Like artifacts in a museum, there is a story in every reclaimed object. Every person has the opportunity to continue the legacy of our community’s artifacts — just as The ReBuilding Center continues the story of the Setziol Door. The consumer acts as curator of our everyday museum, as reclaimed materials are not only kept out of landfills, but carry memories and help to more thoughtfully tell the story of our community. It’s about seeing the value of everyday objects, taking what many see as waste and a liability – and turning it into an asset.

Le Roy Setziol, known as “the father of woodcarving,” is considered the “most accomplished and respected wood sculptor in the Northwest. After serving as a chaplain in the US Army during WWII, he settled with his family in Portland, Oregon. A self pronounced, “sculptor who happens to work with wood,” Setziol’s unique style of geometric patterns is well recognized. Through fifty years of sculpting, he produced over a thousand works and created commissions all over Oregon, including Salishan Lodge, St. James Evangelical Church in Portland, Lake Oswego City Hall, and Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. He lived and worked on 22 acres on the Oregon Coastal Range until his death in 2005.

The ReBuilding Center, a project of Our United Villages, is a vibrant resource working to strengthen the environmental, economic, and social fabric of local communities. Founded by volunteers in 1998, The ReBuilding Center carries the region’s largest volume of used building and remodeling materials. It provides resources that make home repairs affordable to everyone, with the goal of promoting sustainable practices. The ReBuilding Center’s inventory includes used lumber, doors, windows, flooring, cabinets, sinks, tubs and more. One hundred percent of the The ReBuilding Center’s materials are donated. In addition to the reuse warehouse, The ReBuilding Center includes DeConstruction Services, a sustainable alternative to conventional demolition, and ReFind Furniture, which offers a diverse line of sustainable furniture and home accessories handcrafted from salvaged materials. The ReBuilding Center also offers a free pick-up service, numerous volunteer opportunities, donations of used building materials for community projects, and an education program featuring workshops and classes on how to creatively use reclaimed building materials.

Comments or Questions? Email us.

*Photo courtesy of the Attic Gallery

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