April 4, 2018

Building community: Donating lumber to Portland nonprofits

As part of a recent facility renovation, Kaiser Permanente gave $128,000 worth of wood to Portland’s ReBuilding Center in one of the largest lumber donations ever received by the nonprofit purveyor of salvaged materials.

Although Kaiser Permanente has a sustainability program, that’s not what’s driving this donation, said Willy Paul, executive director of Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Services in the Northwest.

“Sometimes you just want to do the right thing,” Paul said.

The lumber — 11,323 linear feet —  had supported a parking garage adjacent to Kaiser Permanente’s administrative building in Portland’s Lloyd District.

Kaiser Permanente undertook renovation of the three-level parking structure because the top deck wasn’t seismically sound.

Local Portland firm Hoffman Construction began work in August 2017, and is expected to be complete the project in July. The renovation will restore the 121 parking spaces on the top deck, bringing the total spots back up to 420.

The wood — some boards as large as 10-by-12 inches and 12-feet long — shored up the structure during a key phase of the project. Hoffman Construction donated the time and labor necessary to remove the lumber and transport it to the ReBuilding Center’s warehouse.

“Outside of our deconstruction service’s salvage work reclaiming lumber from dismantling houses and warehouses by hand, this is one of the top five donations of lumber in the ReBuilding Center’s history,” said Tom Patzkowski, store manager for the organization, which was established as a nonprofit in 1997.

Valuing existing resources

“Kaiser Permanente’s substantial donation to the ReBuilding Center recognizes the value of existing resources and inspires creativity, supporting community involvement and strengthening neighborhood bonds through bringing people together,” said Patzkowski.

He said the wood will be repurposed throughout the region, including a beam donation to North Portland’s Boise Eliot Elementary School to be used for raised garden beds. The Rebuilding Center will also donate lumber to North Portland’s Dignity Village, a tiny house village operated by people who have experienced houselessness and are transitioning to permanent housing in a safe and supportive environment.