In 2001 Nathan Salter and David Skakel began brainstorming ideas for a Rebuild-it Center, with encouragement from 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. In the fall of 2003, GRC opened its doors under the direction of David Skakel (who was recently named 2011 Individual Recycler of the Year by the Association of Oregon Recyclers). Thus under the fiscal sponsorship of the Columbia Gorge Earth Center began the first building materials reuse center in the Mid-Columbia region! 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 . It was a real challenge that first winter in the small and chilly space. Important challenges seem to attract the courageous and the mighty. Jo Shea showed up that winter to help, and remains helpful today! 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 was an ardent supporter of the Gorge Rebuild-it Center and built the pole building for the Center and rented it affordably to the new business. The community also showed its support with donations of a computer, printer, dolly, hand tools, other necessary items and volunteer time. Nathan Salter rescued a double-wide (now office buildings at Gorge Rebuild-it Center) from Skamania Senior Services minutes before a demolition crew was to tear it down. Once remodeled, that relocated structure also provided a home for Columbia Gorge Earth Center which used the space to hold forums, lectures and films for many years. Additional office space was used to attract 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!