Three local salvage and deconstruction businesses are the first recipients of Metro’s Investment and Innovation program grants for the 2019-20 cycle. While the program aims to invest in a broader swath of the garbage and recycling system, this year’s strongest applications came from organizations focused on preventing waste in the construction industry.
Each organization plans to the use a portion of the funds to focus on recruiting and training new employees from communities of color and other marginalized communities.
Salvage Works, a family-owned business that sells and makes things out of salvaged lumber, will use its grant to purchase equipment to expand its wood shop and transform more reclaimed lumber into furniture such as tables. Through the expansion of the wood shop, the company expects to add two full-time staff that will be recruited from technical training programs serving youth of color and others who need help securing employment.
Lovett Deconstruction, a company that deconstructs buildings to help salvage materials that are hard to save in the more destructive process of demolition, seeks to purchase tools and equipment needed to recruit, train and outfit an additional deconstruction team. Metals from the homes they deconstruct are recycled and reusable materials like lumber are transferred to retail stores in the Metro region.
The ReBuilding Center, a nonprofit organization that receives and sells materials salvaged from homes and commercial buildings, will hire two new salvage specialists for product research, merchandising, pricing, lumber processing and customer assistance, as part of an effort to significantly improve its inventory and resale systems.
As part of the grant program, grantees are encouraged to advance internal organization practices related to diversity and equity. As an example, the ReBuilding Center is currently undergoing an organizational equity assessment to help shape policies and staff and board training. Lovett Deconstruction currently offers equity trainings and reimbursement for professional development to all its staff.
Between the three organizations, Metro is awarding a little more than $200,000 in grants that will be matched by almost $48,000 in cash and in-kind support by the recipients.
“These three organizations demonstrate a commitment to the reduction of waste and the reuse of valuable resources while supporting new opportunities for job training and development for those who reflect the diversity of our communities,” said Roy Brower, Metro’s interim director of Property and Environmental Services.
Metro’s Investment and Innovation program, which began in 2018, supports efforts in the private and nonprofit sectors to reduce waste through reuse, recycling, composting or energy creation from discarded materials in the greater Portland region.
Program grants are awarded to support personnel costs, operations and equipment associated with new or expanded programming at businesses and organizations. These grants require the applicant to provide a match of at least 20 percent of the grant amount in cash, in-kind support or both.
Metro continues to accept applications for program grants from organizations focused on strengthening the greater Portland area's reuse, repair and recycling systems, as well as on reducing environmental and health impacts in the local manufacture and use of products. Program grant applications received by Friday, Oct. 11, will be reviewed and considered for funding in the next round of grant awards which are expected to be announced in December.
The Investment and Innovation program also includes capital grants for investments in machinery, equipment or other capital infrastructure. These grants are larger (up to $750,000), require a 100 percent match by the recipient, and are awarded once a year. The 2019 capital grants are also expected to be announced in December.