Deconstruction in Portland:  Lessons Learned from the Field

Deconstruction in Portland: Lessons Learned from the Field

For twenty years, the ReBuilding Center in Portland, Oregon, pioneered deconstruction and honed the art and science of taking buildings apart piece by piece, salvaging useful parts for reuse. With the assistance and support of the ReBuilding Center, the City of Portland passed an ordinance in 2016 mandating deconstruction of all residential buildings built during or prior to 1916, with the goal of widespread adoption of deconstruction as environmentally superior to mechanical demolition. Three years later, the ReBuilding Center closed its Deconstruction Services, exiting a sector that is now well-serviced by several for-profit firms that emerged in the years following the ordinance and the market it created. If your organization or municipality is considering advocating an ordinance mandating or supporting deconstruction in your region, this session will present you with some lessons learned from our efforts in Portland. We'll talk about what worked and what we could have done better, and share some insights from both the city and the nonprofit perspective.

Jackie Kirouac-Fram has spent her career helping nonprofits thrive through stakeholder engagement, strategic collaboration, and continuous improvement toward equity and inclusion. Since March 2019, she has served as Executive Director at the ReBuilding Center, a nonprofit that supports community resilience in the Portland, Oregon region by providing access to affordable home improvement materials and skills-building classes in repair and reuse, and diverts more than 1,800 tons of material from landfills each year. Prior to this position, she was Vice President at FOCUS St. Louis, a nonprofit civic leadership education organization, where she directed program development, fundraising, marketing, and member and alumni relations. Jackie has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Saint Louis University, where she published at the intersection of urban policy and racial equity. She has spent her entire career in the nonprofit sector and believes in the power of communities to drive policy change toward social justice.

Shawn Wood is the Construction Waste Specialist with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Shawn helped develop and currently manages the City’s deconstruction ordinance – a first-of-its kind whole-house deconstruction requirement. This requirement has resulted in the creation of new deconstruction contractors, new salvage retail operations and over 200 deconstruction projects in three years. Shawn is a preservationist at heart and has a strong passion for restoration and woodworking.

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