With hopes of continuing to reduce the amount of material sent to landfills, Habitat for Humanity’s new home improvement retail store in the Rockwood neighborhood assures it will do that – and much more.
On Friday, June 16, Habitat for Humanity was joined by several residents and community leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the nonprofit’s newest ReStore location in Gresham.
“I’m just excited that this building has been redeveloped,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, who represents the East County area. “I believe that one of the most important things we can do to reinvest in our communities is give people the opportunity of equity through homeownership.”
Along with Stegmann were several other community representatives, including Gresham City Councilor Jerry Hinton and Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick, whose district includes eastern Multnomah and Clackamas counties. Both councilors expressed their enthusiasm and support for the new ReStore location – the fourth in the region, as well as the largest at 27,000 square feet.
“Habitat has been a critical partner in our solid waste reduction efforts throughout the last 20 years,” Craddick said.
Last year, with the money generated at ReStores in the greater Portland region, Habitat for Humanity was able to pay for 14 new houses. Each ReStore in the Metro region diverts about 2,000 tons of usable building and renovation material, added Craddick.
“It’s more than just having a new store here – it’s a greater benefit to our climate and to our area,” Craddick said.
Located on the site that once housed an Albertsons and then a bingo hall, the building was abandoned for 10 years before Habitat turned to the space. Joe Connell, vice president of retail operations for Habitat, said Gresham officials were very helpful in finding and working with the organization to prepare the space for the new store.
“We’re going to be able to do even more in the future,” Connell said.
The nonprofit has three major ongoing projects in nearby East Portland that focus on building affordable homes for low-income homeowners.
Connell explained that Habitat chose the Rockwood neighborhood because of its objective to support lower-income neighborhoods through affordable housing projects.
The store began taking donations as early as May 1 and is stocked with a variety of materials, including roofing materials, doors, windows, and lumber at reduced prices.
“What a great opportunity it is for our citizens to give back and to have a part of probably one of the greenest operations with the most repurpose-thinking you can ever imagine,” Hinton said.
Because Habitat focuses on sustainability and the diversion of materials from landfills, Metro and Habitat have often worked jointly on key projects that embrace reusability.
With Metro's assistance, Habitat applied for and was awarded a $45,000 Materials Management Grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to help open the Gresham location.
“Metro Council and Metro staff value the innovation and the vision of the Habitat staff that shows through its ReStores,” Craddick said. “When a ReStore opens, it transforms what used to be weight, into ready-to-install, reusable building products with a posit economic and ecological value.”
With a soft opening on June 13, ReStore has already made over 500 sales and invites the community to drop off donations.