how we started

how we started

In 2001, Nathan Salter and David Skakel began brainstorming ideas for a Rebuild-it Center. They were encouraged by the Columbia Gorge Earth Center Board, which liked the idea of a non-profit reuse store as a funding mechanism for the Earth Center’s role as a hub for information, ideas and resources.

Bob Bryant and David Skakel stand next to the first Gorge Rebuild-it Center sign, in front of the new pole buildingIn the fall of 2003, GRC opened its doors under the direction of David Skakel, and under the fiscal sponsorship of the Columbia Gorge Earth Center.

The first building materials reuse center in the Mid-Columbia region was open!

It’s original location was a humble shack and container located between Windance and Tum-a-Lum in Hood River – a temporary space donated by Brian and Lorraine Carlstrom.

The small and chilly space made it a real challenge that first winter. Important challenges seem to attract the courageous and the mighty. Jo Shea showed up that winter to help. Patrick Morris was soon to follow.

In May of 2004, Gorge Rebuild-it Center relocated to the Heights with generous support from the Bryant Family as well as Brian Carlstrom, Shar Carney, Scot Bergeron, Nathan Salter, Theresa North, Chris Tsongas, Ruth Olin, Michael Becker, Lynn Bergeron, Jules Burton, Susan Franklin, and Rebecca Stonestreet.

Bob Bryant, an ardent supporter of the Gorge Rebuild-it Center, built the pole building for the Center and rented it affordably to the new business.

The community showed support with donations of a computer, printer, dolly, hand tools, other necessary items, and valuable volunteer time.

Nathan Salter rescued a double-wide from Skamania Senior Services minutes before a demolition crew was to tear it down. Once remodeled, that relocated structure provided office space at Gorge Rebuild-it Center and a home for Columbia Gorge Earth Center, which used the space to hold forums, lectures and films for many years.

Additional office space attracted related businesses, such as an Azure natural foods drop site.

In 2009, the Columbia Gorge Earth Center moved from that space and all agreed that it was time for Gorge Rebuild-it to seek its own status as a 501c3 non-profit organization. A committee of Gorge Rebuild-it fans – Patrick Morris, Darlene Scroggins, Ruth Olin, Steve Bryant, Bruce Howard, Franklin Q. Levin and Barbara Ferris took on that task.

In September of 2011 the Gorge Rebuild-it Community Project came into being. Thanks to all who made Gorge Rebuild-it what it is today!