Here at Oregon Wild, we try to keep big, old trees standing. And we try and make sure that when logging does happen, maintaining intact ecosystems is an integral part of the equation. While we focus on federal timber sales and modernizing Oregon’s forest laws, other organizations take an entirely different approach to forest conservation – reducing the need to cut down trees at all!
Over at the ReBuilding Center, they call this “harvesting the city instead of the forest.” You see, Americans fell into a pretty bad habit in the 20th century that continues today. We got used to overconsumption and a disposal lifestyle. We buy things that are new and shiny and often neglect the physical and community resources that are right in front of us.
At the ReBuilding Center (no doubt, if you live in Portland you’ve seen the “I Love That Place!” stickers around town or even uttered that exact phrase when you’ve thought of the huge warehouse and store on N Mississippi Ave) they’ve set out to create a culture of re-use by taking donated building materials and re-selling them at steep discount to the community. They even pioneered the practice of “deconstruction” where homes and other buildings are carefully taken apart to salvage the building materials rather than sledgehammered and sent off to rot in the dump. They figure that the true dimensional old-growth lumber that came out of a deconstructed 1914 Portland home should be put back to good use before a living tree is cut down to create the same board.
The coolest part is that the money they make from selling used building materials funds amazing community projects all across Portland. That’s why I am supporting the ReBuilding Center this year in Willamette Week’s Give!Guide and urge you to do the same!
Okay, now for the full disclosure. My wife works at the ReBuilding Center! So, if you think this is all a self-serving plug I’ve got yet another recommendation for you to support in this year’s Give!Guide.
As someone who is lucky to have several family members raised in adopted families, I’ve seen firsthand how fostering and adopting children can be an intergenerational gift. No doubt, you’ve read about some of the many troubles plaguing Oregon’s foster care system. Some of the stories are heartbreaking and mostly stem from a lack of resources to fund programs at the state level.
That’s why it is critical that each kid and family engaged with the foster system has support. At Youth, Rights, and Justice – expert attorneys help advocate for youth and families in the foster system and push policy that makes lives better for these vulnerable kids. Join me in supporting their critical work in this year’s Give!Guide.