Eight states, two days, many truck stops, and a blizzard later... We have arrived to beautiful Portland! Our travels out here have been filled with many obstacles, but the adventure and experiences that we are about to embark on are worth it all.
Today (Monday), we started our service projects at the Rebuilding Center. Walking on site, we didn't know what to expect. Rosie and Tom, two of the Rebuilding Center staff, gladly welcomed us to the center and showed us around. During the orientation, Rosie explained to us how the center came to be and the mission of the non-profit organization. The Rebuilding Center was established in the late 90's as a part of Our United Villages, "a community enhancement organization that inspires people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities." At the Rebuilding Center, eight tons of recycled building material are circulated in and out daily. It carries the region's largest volume of used building and remodeling materials such as sinks, doors, windows, etc.
In order to help with the mission of the organization we were asked to help sort reusable parts like lighting, plumbing, electrical items, tiles, and more. Our work helped them to organize the donations received, so that buyers would not be discouraged from using recycled materials. After lunch, we helped in the lumber section by extracting nails from donated wood. This was an important task because less than one percent of the original Oregon forest still exists, so preserving the wood is preserving the history. The final activity of the day was a tour of the center that put into perspective the importance and beauty of sustainability.The Rebuilding Center is made up of reused materials, collects rainwater via a bio irrigation system, and has a permeable parking lot (meaning water is able to seep through the pavement).
To wrap up the day we reflected on our experiences, explored the hostel we are residing in, and enjoyed a lovely dinner of stir fry and rice made by some of our fellow "Destinators." Tomorrow we head back to The Rebuilding Center but tonight we'll explore Portland. We learned that the slogan of the Rebuilding Center is "I love that place," and after today we can truly say "we really do love this place!"