Investment and Innovation grants are intended to build lasting, private-sector and nonprofit-sector capacity to reduce waste through reuse, recycling, composting or energy creation from discarded materials in the Metro region. They seek to both strengthen local efforts to reduce the amount and toxicity of waste while generating positive benefits for communities of color and other communities that have historically not benefitted from the garbage and recycling system.
Program grants are awarded to support personnel costs, operations and equipment associated with new or expanded programming at for-profit businesses or non-profit organizations. Program grants require the applicant to provide a match of at least 20 percent of the grant amount in cash, in-kind support or both.
Eight program grants received funding from Metro’s Investment and Innovation program in 2019, for a total Metro investment of $520,423, which will leverage an additional $187,281 in matching funds provided by the grant recipients.
The 2019-20 Investment and Innovation program grant recipients are:
Wood shop expansion
Grant amount: $58,772
Match amount: $14,516
Total investment: $73,288
Salvage Works will expand its custom furniture wood shop to enable the company to transform more reclaimed lumber into high-quality furniture. The grant funds will purchase equipment to bring re-saw services in-house, which will enable Salvage Works to double the tons of reclaimed wood that it processes into furniture from house deconstructions (an additional approximately 45 tons of wood per year). The wood shop expansion will help the company expand its product line to use a wider range of reclaimed lumber. The company expects to add two full-time staff that will be exclusively recruited from technical training programs serving youth of color and people with barriers to employment.
Equity and efficiency in reuse operations
Grant amount: $75,000
Match amount: $16,820
Total investment: $91,820
The ReBuilding Center will develop a centralized processing area and pricing system as part of a larger project to significantly improve inventory and resale systems by 2021. The suite of proposed improvements will enable the ReBuilding Center to more effectively receive, process, and sell reusable building materials to the community at a low price. Grant funds will be used to hire two new salvage specialists for product research, merchandising, pricing, lumber processing and customer assistance. The organization is currently undergoing an equity assessment to help shape organizational policies and staff and board training.
Lovett Deconstruction, Inc.
Full house deconstruction training program
Grant amount: $66,316
Match amount: $16,579
Total investment: $82,895
Lovett Deconstruction will scale up the company’s deconstruction services by acquiring the tools and equipment needed to recruit, train and outfit an additional deconstruction team. With a new crew the company estimates it can deconstruct an additional 12 homes per year, diverting thousands of cubic yards of materials from entering the waste stream. Metals from their deconstructed homes are recycled and reusable materials are transferred to retail venues in the Metro region. Lovett’s expansion will create four jobs, and the company has committed to leveraging existing partnerships with community organizations to recruit and hire a diverse workforce. Lovett provides all of its staff with diversity and equity training and reimbursement for English as a Second Language and work-related trainings.
City of Roses Disposal & Recycling
Building capacity for new wood waste markets
Grant amount: $65,000
Match amount: $13,000
Total amount: $78,000
This grant will support City of Roses’ recently launched division to create and expand new commercial-scale markets for wood waste by creating pallet “kits” and architectural panels from discarded wood. Approximately 170 to 300 tons of wood per month will be processed for reuse in these new markets. Grant funds will support staff time to solicit additional material supply, process materials and fulfill orders, and after the grant ends the positions will be sustained through ongoing sales revenue.
Repair education programming and outreach
Grant amount: $31,689
Match amount: $9,129
Total amount: $40,818
Repair PDX will provide repair skill workshops and apprenticeships and host multiple “Repair Café” events. The project estimates it will result in repair of more than 26 tons of material per year that would otherwise likely be discarded as waste. Repair PDX will partner with local non profits and public schools to teach sewing and technology repair skills to resilient youth experiencing homelessness and other school-aged students. Grant funds will support an Education and Outreach Coordinator and related materials.
University of Portland
Intelligent curbside recycling: composition and contamination analysis
Grant amount: $74,774
Match amount: $76,346
Total amount: $151,120
University of Portland will install intelligent robotic platforms on collection vehicles to detect and quantify the composition and contamination of residential curbside recycling at pick-up. Information gathered with this proof-of-concept technology will provide a detailed data set on the recycling and contamination practices of multiple communities in the region and inform future contamination handling needs. Grant funds will support staff time and sensor platform equipment including cameras, microphones and proximity range sensors.
The second shift food rescue initiative
Grant amount: $73,872
Match amount: $24,960
Total amount: $98,832
Urban Gleaners will scale up its proven model for food rescue that picks up and repackages large quantities of surplus edible food from local businesses and delivers to pantries and meal sites in the region. This grant will fund an expansion of services and additional staff for an evening “second shift” to better accommodate the needs of donors and recipients that may not be available to donate or receive during day times. The estimated impact is an increase of rescued food by 87,000 pounds per year. Grant funds will be used for staff, materials and supplies, and transportation costs.
Urban Gypsum, LLC
Waste reduction specialist for increased drywall recycling
Grant amount: $75,000
Match amount: $16,200
Total amount: $91,200
Urban Gypsum will hire a Spanish and English-speaking Waste Reduction Specialist to increase its supply of recovered drywall from construction sites for processing for reuse as agricultural and industrial products. Urban Gypsum seeks to grow its supply to reach its capacity of processing over 60,000 tons of drywall per year. The new position will be hired through a first source agreement with Prosper Portland, and the grant also includes funding for Constructing Hope to provide support on improving the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion practices.