“The conversion of a property from industrial or retail use to creative office has become an increasingly popular value-add strategy for investors,” Transwestern’s Michael Soto, director of research in Southern California and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “Two trends are fueling demand for this type of differentiated office product: One, technology, advertising, media and other companies trying to attract millennials are interested in the characteristic features of creative office space—open floor plans, natural lighting, common spaces and amenities such as cafés and rec rooms. And two, tenants are returning to cities, where they can take advantage of live/work/play environments.”
There is a proposed Senate Bill for Oregon to require a lead paint-based paint survey prior to a building demolition.
If SB871 passes it means that buildings must be surveyed for lead paint, in addition to the already required asbestos survey before being demolished. This information would then be available to the public by request.
In short, if you are living next to a building scheduled for demolition, you have the right to know if there is asbestos in that building. With the passing of SB871, you will have the right to know if there is lead paint in that building too.
Listed below are the bill sponsors who are waiting to hear from you. Each name is linked to their email. Please take a moment to let them know that you support this important legislation.
Status: Introduced on February 28 2017 – 25% progression
Action: 2017-03-02 – Referred to Environment and Natural Resources.
Pending: Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee
Text: Latest bill text (Introduced) [PDF]
|Sen. Michael Dembrow [D]||Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer [D]||Sen. Lew Frederick [D]||Sen. Kathleen Taylor [D]|
|Rep. Mitch Greenlick [D]||Rep. Ken Helm [D]||Rep. Tina Kotek [D]||Rep. Sheri Malstrom [D]|
|Rep. Robert Nosse [D]||Rep. Karin Power [D]||Rep. Jeff Reardon [D]||Rep. Tawna Sanchez [D]|
|2017-03-02||Senate||Referred to Environment and Natural Resources.|
|2017-02-28||Senate||Introduction and first reading. Referred to President’s desk.|
Oregon State Sources
A pair of surviving rowhomes surrounded by vacant lots at dusk in Baltimore. The city has some 17,000 vacant buildings. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Budavari and Phil Garboden, a doctoral student in sociology and applied math, are working on a statistical tool to predict abandonment. They’re combining publicly available data with GIS technology to create a database of the city’s housing stock. This will serve as a base to do high-level statistical analyses that can help officials make better, data-driven evaluations of current and future interventions. It could help Baltimore study, among other things, when and why homes are abandoned, and at what point a vacant home starts affecting nearby properties.
How is his ipallet4me different, then? “You have numerous producers making awesome tablet cases and covers out there,” he says. “They are all using high-quality wood and making premium products,” Kasner explains. “I wanted to do something completely different — I wanted to use low-quality wood from used transport pallets and make a difference for the environment.”
That environmental concern is key to Kasner’s mission. “With an estimated one billion pallets used every day, you can imagine how much wood is cut and how many new pallets are produced on a daily basis. If I can make only a tiny effort recycling pallet wood and create extra value for my community, I am quite happy with that. We are saving the world, one pallet at a time.”
Four neoclassical columns salvaged from the facade of the former First National Bank on Main Street will reappear later this year as features of a small waterfront park at the south end of Mill Street.
Jaime Walton creates woodwork at his workshop in Railroad Square. (Photo: Jaime Walton)
Today at age 51, Walton can’t imagine himself in any other line of work and believes in interrupting the waste stream to landfills by placing discarded items back into mainstream use. In Albany, he would purchase items from salvage yards, auctions, and estates, but since arriving in Tallahassee has received many donations. He also creates with found objects, like an abandoned railroad tie whose sculptural qualities allow Walton to see it as a future fireplace mantle or bookshelf.
Stepped up participation in the circular economy by working with entrepreneurs to convert solid waste items destined for landfills into new products.
Shifting the Paradigm from Demolition to Reuse: New Tools – Preservation Leadership Forum – A Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Deconstruction of an 1884 House in Portland. | Credit: Scott A. Tice
It is important to note, too, that Portland city leaders also considered deconstruction as a job engine. Although rehabilitation of an older building—one that is neither demolished nor deconstructed—is likely to generate more jobs than deconstruction, supporters of the ordinance noted that deconstruction will provide six to eight jobs for every one job associated with traditional mechanized demolition. Furthermore, although it doesn’t compare to the reuse of an entire building, deconstruction will provide carbon-reduction benefits by preserving the embodied energy of at least some existing building materials and by cutting the greenhouse gasses associated with sending waste to landfills.
Christina Radvak leads Habitat for Humanity’s deconstruction team which removes useable materials from homes slated for demolition. The materials, construction materials, hardware and other useable goods, are sold through the non-profit society’s ReStores, which are located throughout B.C. ReStores are a popular shopping outlet for do-it-yourselfers and smaller contractors.
Badelt, a Buildex Vancouver panel member at session W33: Deconstruction and the Green Demolition Bylaw on Feb. 15-16, said the city brought the bylaw, which is similar to those in the U.S., into effect for two reasons. Cities want to reduce landfill materials, but many of these earlier homes contain quality wood and craftsmanship.
“These buildings have old-growth wood and we want to save those materials as well as the architectural details such as the old style windows. We saw a lot of material that could be salvaged and recycled,” he said. The bylaw also aligns itself with heritage conservation values in the city.
Brett Trefethen of Barn Boards and More last week inspects a second floor room, where wood is being reclaimed by his company at 18 Dennis St. in Gardiner, the former estate of Frank E. Boston. Photo by Kevin Bennett
“I have been going back and forth on those cupolas,” Trefethen said last week, while his crew was taking a break from salvaging wood and architectural features from the Dennis Street building before its planned demolition. “If I can locate a buyer, I will do it, because then it makes more sense to rent the crane truck,” he said. That can cost hundreds of dollars, but a well-built cupola more than a century old can command thousands of dollars.
Houston developers talk historic renovations in Heights, Washington, Sugar Land – Houston Business Journal
Unsurprisingly, Houston’s most popular areas for adaptive reuse projects – East Downtown, the Heights, Midtown – also contain a majority of the city’s historic buildings. Houston’s Baker Katz and Braun Enterprises recently scooped up a historic 17,000-square-foot building at 1919 Washington Ave.
Innowood introduces Recycling and Replacement Service to Combat Construction Waste | Architecture And Design
Every industry has a part to play in climate change and the construction industry is no different. In a 2011 report on construction and demolition waste, it was reported that ‘buildings and their users are responsible for almost a quarter of Australia’s greenhouse emissions’, of which ‘choice of materials and design principles has a significant […] impact on the energy required to construct a building.’
Approximately 42 per cent of solid waste in Australia is generated in the building industry. Waste in the construction industry affects everyone and the importance of re-using and recycling this waste cannot be emphasised enough.
Salvage Works, North Portland, Tracy Barry, KGW
Browning is part artist, part builder, so It’s not surprising that he is drawn to the inner beauty of the reclaimed lumber. And lucky for him, so are many others, just as eager to search for the stories hidden in every grain and to embrace the promise of reinvention.
credit: Circular Ecology
Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material, which would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the ‘upstream’ or ‘front-end’ component of the life cycle impact of a home.
Ryan says the properties the company wants to tear down are salvageable. “Remember, these buildings have been held for 30 years by three different sets of millionaire developers,” Ryan said. “They’ve never been owned by people who couldn’t afford to do repairs, or absentee landlords.”
Madeline Ruiz-Robinson and Dave Robinson of SUAD Studio for Urban Architecture & Design are the project’s architect. They applied in February to add a new four-story addition to the building within the courtyard, and to keep one of the courtyard structures previously slated to be demolished as part of the project. The proposal was approved with conditions in March by the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission. In addition, new insulated windows will replicate the existing style and material of the original units, according to commission records.
Richard and Petrina Delman wanted architectural salvage items to retain the charm and authenticity of their family’s Ontario home, which was built in the late 1880s. (Will Lester-SCNG-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
“People who own old and historic homes are just like old car collectors,” he said. “We want them to look as much like the absolute originals as possible.”
Architectural salvage helps homeowners such as the Delmans recapture the beauty and authenticity of their original structures. For others, it can offer nostalgic reuse to replicate the comfort and feel of the old and not-so-ordinary.
The dining room at the White Swan hotel. The paneling used to be in the First Class lounge of the RMS Olympic. Courtesy of Creative Commons.
“Paneling is just a skin that fits onto the architectural structure of the building, not usually a fundamental part of the building” adds Goss. “It’s like a giant 3D puzzle, and if it can be put together, it can be taken apart.”
Photo © Cornbread Works
For some living in a church may be a bit taboo, but for others, they welcome the challenge.
Photo © René de Wit
Charleston-area company finds a home for recycled glass in unique countertops | Home and Garden | postandcourier.com
A variety of glass colors gives Glasseco countertops a mosiac look at Jody Rogers’ house on Folly Beach. Photo by Patrick Brickman
The Fishers say some items that customers have combined with recycled glass over the years includes musket balls from the Civil War, pieces of the World Trade Center, and sea glass collected by generations of a family with a beach house. The Fisher’s favorite, however, was when someone included sewing bones the customer got in Alaska. These special items can be carefully inlaid in countertops.
Gurgaon residents face dust pollution as dumping of rubble goes on unchecked | gurgaon | Hindustan Times
Construction waste dumped at a vacant space near Huda City Centre.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
“There’s been a haze over the city, brought on by dangerous levels of dust and debris in the air, over the past couple of weeks. We don’t go out in the mornings and evenings, unless necessary, fearing health hazards. Even in summer, there’s dust in the air. Unchecked construction activities are to blame for the worsening air quality in our city. We’re struggling to breathe fresh air. Many are suffering from asthma,” Vikas Gupta, of Vatika City on Sohna Road, said.
Doctors said the rising air pollution levels poses a grave risk to the health of infants. “Infants are the most vulnerable to air pollution. The increasing levels of the hazardous PM 2.5 and suspended air particles have emerged as major health worries for children and are resulting in such respiratory diseases as asthma and bronchitis among children and elders,” Himanshu Batra, consultant paediatrician at Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon, said.
Steel City Salvage training contractors on deconstruction in Gary | Northwest Indiana Business Headlines | nwitimes.com
Heather Eidson The Times
Abandoned and burnt homes stand vacant in this now-barren Gary neighborhood in 2010. Steel City Salvage is training contractors on how to salvage materials from abandoned homes.
The group estimates there’s a $12.8 million market value to salvageable materials sitting untouched in abandoned Gary homes. “Demolition contractors are critically important to supply the marketplace,” Delta Institute Director Eye Pytel said. “While there is a learning curve, training gives contractors the capacity to safely and effectively get the most valuable building materials out of homes.”
Recycle, Reuse, Create. The Latest from Recology’s Artist in Residence Program – SF Station – San Francisco’s City Guide
Ramekon O’Arwisters in a bathtub of dinnerware for “Smooth the Edges”
Beginning Friday, January 20th, Recology’s Artist in Residence (AIR) Program will uncover the work of three artists who were granted untethered access to the Recology Center’s 47-acres of castaway materials to reinvent their own gallery exhibitions.
“The members of Preserve Historic Missoula and all those supporting the appeal to preserve the historic Mercantile building are profoundly disappointed in Judge Deschamps’ ruling to permit the demolition of Missoula’s most iconic commercial building,” Hall wrote. “We have appreciated this opportunity to express our concerns through the judicial system and its thoughtful consideration.”
Hall wrote that PHM has maintained that the deconstruction permit process for the Merc was flawed. In particular, they believe that the process followed by the city council did not comply with the Historic Preservation Ordinance. They have requested that the law be clarified. Hall said nearly 4,700 people signed their petition affirming that the Merc is worth saving.
Reclamation Project: Lifecycle Building Center celebrates purchase of facility – Atlanta INtown Paper
“Improving the functionality of the space will help LBC increase our impact – more materials diverted from landfills, more dollars saved by our customers, more free materials to nonprofits, and more community support through education/outreach,” LBC Executive Director Shannon Goodman said.Lifecycle executive director Shannon Goodman. LBC is a five-year old nonprofit that removes reusable building materials – like cabinets, hardwood flooring, doors, windows and appliances – from demolition and renovation projects. In 2016, LBC captured one million pounds of usable materials from the waste stream.
Lifecycle executive director Shannon Goodman.
A doughnut king’s historic Queen Anne castle captures Portland commuters’ imagination | OregonLive.com
Everyone who frequently crosses the Ross Island Bridge has spotted the beeswax yellow Queen Anne Victorian-style mansion with a 50-foot-high turret. MLS#16396701. Photo provided by Premiere Property Group
The family earned its wealth through co-ownership of the Poulsen-Inman Lumber Co., then the largest lumber company in the state. Fellow timber baron Robert D. Inman erected a matching Queen Anne on the same east bluff overlooking the Willamette River. Inman, however, lived in his mansion. The properties, once safe in the Brooklyn neighborhood, were separated first by streaming traffic on the highway after the Ross Island Bridge was opened and later by bulldozers. In the 1950s, long after both men had died and their company sold to Georgia-Pacific, Inman’s house was torn down to make way for a parking lot, according to the Cafe Unknown history blog.
Phil plumbed the house for gas, electricity not arriving until about 1913. Phil and Dora married Nov. 8, 1903, moved into the house, and started their family. To complement the landscape Phil planted an orchard and four Giant Sequoia trees from Broetje’s Nursey on Oatfield and Courtney Rds. – now Clackamas County Heritage Trees.
The purpose of both Oregon’s Historic Preservation Office and Clackamas County’s Historic Preservation Ordinance is to protect and preserve our historic and cultural resources. Unfortunately without the stewardship of a caring owner this process can be circumvented and financial realities can intervene. The legacy of the Oatfield family is quickly disappearing, and unless a philanthropic individual steps forward to move this house to a new location this historic community icon will be lost forever.
Philip Oatfield House now
Isabel Ordonez Pizarro, an expert on how yo reuse materials from trash. Credit: Chalmers University of Technology
“In general, I think that people who are interested in circular economy or material recirculation will find my work useful. But I still think that it’s much work left to do. I would like to establish material recirculation hubs in urban areas, where local producers, secondary material providers, waste managers and makers can meet and create new ways of collaborating to enable material recovery. I also find it interesting to develop more efficient, decentralized waste management solutions and I believe that it would help users to sort their waste better,” Isabel says.
With the addition of minarets, Hagia Sophia was converted from a Christian basilica to an Islamic mosque. Candace Richards, Author provided
This bold inclusion of old material in a new monument for Rome led to a whole new recycling trend in architecture. Decorative elements such as columns, capitals and architraves were given new life in buildings of the fourth century CE. The trend became so popular that new laws were created to protect public buildings from being stripped of their decoration. Only if a building could not be restored was it permitted to recycle that building’s materials.
Photo by Ramona Campos December 16, 2016
The Allards got the name of Second Chance through an architect they had met. Once they realized the win-win situation that using Second Chance presented to them: making a tax deductible donation to deconstruct, paying less than demolishing would cost, doing something positive for young men who wanted to turn their lives around, and avoiding putting tons of materiel into a landfill: they were ready to sign on the dotted line. On top of that, the owner gets 15 points towards green home certification.
Adaptive reuse plan for St. Boniface to break cover in March, break ground this summer – Curbed Chicago
Flickr Creative Commons/Devin Hunter
Last night, Noble Square neighbors came together for a public meeting to discuss an ambitious plan to convert St. Boniface Catholic Church into new residences and a campus for the non-profit Chicago Academy of Music (CAM). After sitting vacant for 26 years and facing demolition, the 11th hour deal to save the 1902 Henry Schlacks-designed structure from the wrecking ball was considered one of 2016’s biggest wins for Chicago architectural preservation.
Local News: Winter Term project goes from remodeling to deconstruction (1/12/17) | Greencastle Banner-Graphic
Originally slated for a remodel, a condemned house at the DePauw Campus Farm is instead serving as a winter term project, with students (below) figuring out how to tear down the home with the smallest environmental impact. Courtesy photos/DEPAUW UNIVERSITY
But even that knowledge is useful, Everett argues, whether for an architect planning for the entire lifecycle of a building, or a college student learning the bigger picture of what it means to build a home.
“For us, even if the financial opportunities of deconstruction are few, the educational opportunities are extremely plentiful,” Everett said. In addition to the deconstruction aspect of the course, students are also being exposed to outside perspectives on the life of materials, with guest lectures from arts and humanities professors as well as recycling and building deconstruction professionals.
“The thing I most want students to take away from this course is an embodied understanding that they have the power to make real change in the world, right now,” Everett said. “Nothing stands between them and the work of making the world a better, more sensible, more caring, more mindful place – starting here, at DePauw, with this house.”
A fireplace in the curved wall of the central hub welcomes visitors at Moovel headquarters in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Moovel, a tech subsidiary of Daimler, opened its headquarters in the restored Overland Warehouse. (John Rudoff/For The Oregonian/OregonLive)
Moovel’s arrival in the neighborhood is the latest example of how Portland’s booming tech scene is transforming the city’s core. Portland’s Urban Development Partners spent more than a year, and upwards of $3.5 million, rehabilitating the Overland. Urban Development Partners project manager Joren Bass said the investment reflects ongoing revitalization in Old Town Chinatown and the historic nature of the Overland itself. “You can’t create space like that in a new building. It’s just impossible,” Bass said. “You can’t find timber like that anymore.” Moovel chief operating officer Sadhana Shenoy said the goal was to build community among employees, drawing on the building’s unique history.
Mexican winery built from recycled wood and rammed earth blends into the valley landscape | Inhabitat
Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier
Recycled wood and steel are the primary materials used to construct the winery. The timber slats are naturally weathered and are of varying shades to give the building an interesting and earthy texture and parts of the wooden walls are punctuated by small glass openings for beautiful effect. Pieces of natural unmilled wood are used as seating or decorative objects.
Despite its 22,000-square-meter size, the BRUMA winery visually disappears in the dusty red and green landscape of Valle de Guadalupe.
Style meets function in this one of a kind piece. Upcycled wood scraps were cut into random depths and widths then painted in rustic red, burnt orange, muted turquoise, white, gray and dark walnut stain. Five metal hooks were attached to wood, and the piece is surrounded by a handmade frame. Perfect for holding your jacket, umbrella, dog’s leash, etc. This would also be fantastic in a bathroom holding hand towels. Approximately 18×30 plus handmade frame.
Preston Browning, owner of Salvage Works, with some deconstructed lumber. (Salvage Works)
“You see on really the earliest barns all hand-hewn beams, very rustic, very beautiful well-aged material,” Browning said. “We sell a lot to contractors and fabricators who are building the interiors of restaurants and bars, coffee shops, offices, that sort of thing.” Anyone who’s been in a recently remodeled or newly built bar or restaurant in Portland has likely seen the kind of wood that fills Salvage Works’ 25,000 square foot complex. The deconstruction ordinance — and plenty of deteriorating barns — will keep them and Salvage Works in old wood for years to come. “It provides jobs, it keeps material out of the landfill and really provides this amazing material that you just can’t find anymore,” Browning said of the ordinance.
Shiplap is quite happily paired with elegant marble counters in photographer Abi Campbell’s London kitchen. Photograph by Matt Clayton.
Sheila Bonnell of FRAMe Architecture & Design: Put simply, shiplap is a less formal way of adding interest to a wall and/or dimension to a space. The fact it has to be installed by hand and that you can feel the craftsmanship, the fact that it is a natural material, that it is textured, that it allows you to create a seamless line throughout a space, that it has historic and regional contexts—for me, all these things make shiplap very lively and engaging.
Philadelphia Community Corps executive director Greg Trainor inside a worksite in Fairmount. (Credit: Tom Rickert)
The job training nonprofit he [Greg Trainor] started in 2014 has graduated 18 students into OSHA-certified deconstruction technicians in the past year. He’s opened a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Kensington with classrooms and space for construction projects. And Greg and his job trainees have salvaged more than 50 tons of wood, metal, and building material from the bones of Philadelphia’s abandoned buildings.
Aaron Beatrice & Serge Biryukov, Sons of Salvage.
The duo, friends since elementary school in Terra Linda and now in their early thirties, have stumbled upon a crowd pleasing business making unusual and one-of-a-kind wooden furniture for restaurants and other businesses. “We have been artsy and artistic and did different things with our hands. We got into woodworking by necessity,” Beatrice said. “We did not have any money to furnish our apartments so we had to make the furniture. We put photos of the things we made on Instagram and then people started ordering the furniture and we started our business.”
We need your help to finish building out our shop in its new location. We share building space with Refab STL, an amazing non-profit providing skills training to former combat veterans by deconstructing old buildings in and around St. Louis. These materials are then processed and stored for resale in the historic 40,000 square foot building along Route 66, which houses Citizen Carpentry’s new workshop. Citizen Carpentry aims to be the first worker-owned woodworking co-operative of its kind in the Midwest, encouraging community members, artists, and entrepreneurs to utilize our shop for their work. We have the chance to be a hub of creative revitalization, recycling, and skill-sharing in a city sorely lacking in opportunities.
Henry Castaldi, owner of Westwood Construction and Salvage LLC of Plainfield, uses a hydraulic excavator with a grapple attachment to remove timber deemed unsalvagable from the 99-year-old Campbell Grain Building in Pawcatuck. | Harold Hanka,The Westerly Sun
“This lumber is very unique and we’re working to recover whatever we can,” Castaldi said. “We’ll probably never seem timbers like this in our lifetime. We have loads that are scheduled to go out to our brokers, who then sell it. Some locals have stopped by and made purchases as well.” Castaldi said a local cemetery plans to buy some chestnut to replace portions of its hearse barn. Although some of it will be sold locally, some of the lumber will most likely be sold overseas to contractors in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, he said. “Reclaiming wood like this has a big ‘green’ effect because it’s being recycled,” he said. “There are beams here that are 24-feet long and could be more than 400 years old.”
I looked initially to locally harvested Western Walnut. A Portland based company mills the material into both timber and veneer form — convenient for a design that uses both. With a figure and color a bit more appealing in my estimation than the more common Eastern Walnut, this material has a stunning character full of depth and color.
In this Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, photo, the exhibition of an abstract-video installation called “Rain” by Venezuelan artist Magdalena Fernández is projected inside a former water reservoir dubbed the “Cistern”.
It’s the latest example of efforts by U.S. cities — including Atlanta; Buffalo, New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. — to repurpose abandoned and dilapidated pieces of infrastructure as public spaces. Urban planners see the preservation of historic buildings and other structures as essential in creating the kinds of communities people want to live in, said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Mary Anne & Bubba McCray’s company ReVision recycles, repurposes, and reclaims old wood for new projects and products.
When I asked her how her company, ReVision, got started she said, “We like old stuff.” She started out by making birdhouses and small tables. Mary Anne would take what she made to the master gardener plant sales. In 2015 Bubba started helping her and the business officially started. One of the neatest things about their creations is the material they use. They mainly use the wood from old barns and houses.
The interior of the Barbara Jordan Post Office in Houston (courtesy Day for Night)
Similar to the Buffalo Bayou cistern, Day for Night will work with its industrial setting that stretches more than 1.5 million square feet. Musicians like Blood Orange, John Carpenter (yes, the film director), and Aphex Twin will take over the surrounding parking lots; inside, among the broad halls and matrix of columns, 14 artists are creating interactive art installations, such as Shoplifter’s hairy “Ghostbeat” sculptures and witchy “Crimson Lotus” light work by Damien Echols. On one floor, “Björk Digital” by the Icelandic singer will fill five rooms with digital and video work, including “Black Lake” which premiered at her recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Barbara Jordan Post Office (courtesy Day for Night)
“We supplied the new material and, once the event had come to a close, the house was disassembled and we took all the materials back. This was followed by an examination of the condition, its presentation and value before determining possible reuse or recovery options. Distributors have a crucial role to play in the circular economy and it’s clear that strong collaborative linkages with solid supply chain support are essentials to a circular economy model.”
Kicking off Pallets on the Town
Kicking off Pallets on the Town, a contest that is all about promoting community spirit, are: from left, Doug Runions, Jason Duguay, Lori Runions, Don Beavis, Janice Bell and Joan Sheppard. Sue Dickens/Metroland
“I am always looking for ways to promote Campbellford and community spirit so it started there . . . and we have a pallet factory here and people are into reduce, reuse, recycle, and upcycle so we thought we could form a festival around pallets . . . so that became Pallets on the Town,” said Joan Sheppard, who is organizing the project and inspiring others to get involved.
ReFab Founder Eric Scharz. Photo by J.B. Forbes.
Schwarz’s experience had taught him that in an increasingly imitative world, some people hungered for an authenticity conceived in the marriage of age and use.
He founded Refab, a salvage yard in south St. Louis, in a condemned building four years ago. At the time, he had about $3,000 in his pocket and an idea for salvaging discarded building materials and turning around the lives of veterans. Today, Schwarz leases a 40,000-square-foot warehouse off Gravois Avenue and employs 14 people. His budget for 2017 is $1.2 million. That growth is partly attributable to a backlash against the uniformity produced by globalization.
The customers who frequent this two story red-brick repository of rescued material are weary of seeing the same furniture, the same sinks and the same light fixtures — all of it mass-produced on the other side of the planet. “You go into a lot of houses — and I don’t know if we coined the phrase — but they are all ‘Lowes’d up,’” said Randy Miller, who was looking for material for his coffee shop in Southern Illinois. “This is a like a candy store.”
So what does the Renewal Workshop sell? Unique, restored activewear diverted from landfills and offered at significantly discounted prices. From its Cascade Locks repair facility, the Workshop intercepts articles of clothing from some of the biggest West Coast names in the outdoor clothing industry (think Prana, Ibex, and Mountain Khakis) that—due to small tears, sewing malfunctions, discolorations, and the like—have been deemed unfit for regular retail and normally would be on their way to landfills. Instead, the Renewal Workshop founders have worked out a unique arrangement with these companies: rather than trash these items, they’re gifted, and shipped, to Cascade Locks, to be washed and mended back to retail quality.