‘Rebuilding Portland’ crew helps fix up outer East Portland home

See what volunteers are doing this year to help a homeowner in the Mill Park neighborhood, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to live more comfortably at home …

Homeowners who can’t afford it, in the Lents and Mill Park neighborhoods, get help fixing up their residences – thanks to the Rebuilding Together Portland “Rebuilding Day”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Volunteers from the organization Rebuilding Together Portland has been getting together at twenty worksites around greater Portland this year – on their annual “Rebuilding Day” – Saturday, April 24.

“In our community, Rebuilding Together Portland hosted hundreds of volunteers to repair houses for low-income homeowners at various sites,” said the organization’s Executive Director, Mike Malone.

“These repairs are provided free of charge to homeowners who, often faced with diminishing resources, must choose food and medicine over any critical home repairs,” Malone told East Portland News.

Here in a bathroom being renovated during the day-long “house rehab” blitz we found Site Project Leader Gavin Shearer, of Greystar Property Management.

In Outer East Portland, Greystar Property Management and  Belfor Property Restoration teamed up as co-sponsors to significantly improve the home of an elderly couple in the in the Mill Park neighborhood.

“Outside this home, we’re building a ramp from the side door of the house,” explained Site Project Leader Gavin Shearer with Greystar Property Management.

Measuring twice and cutting once, at this project site in Mill Park, are Joshua White and Jason Ramsey – both of Belfor Property Restoration.

Some of the inside work was extensive; volunteers stripped the bathroom and replaced the floor and walls. Elsewhere at the home, they repaired fencing and the porch, and provided needed electrical work. “But first, we tackled the yard and removed enough debris to fill a drop box,” Shearer said.

The turnout was better than anticipated, Shearer pointed out; they kept 17 volunteers at to work in and out of the residence, but sent about ten others on to another site in Lents which was short of helpers. “We want to keep people safe and distant while they volunteer,” he commented.

Hauling the sink out of the bathroom is volunteer Michael Rea from ReaMech Plumbing.

“I’m involved in this because my co-worker brought me in on a similar project about five years ago; he’s been doing this for 8 to 10 years,” Shearer remarked. “I’ve always loved doing service work; so I just fell naturally into it.

“And, being in the property management business with apartments, I have a very large pool of talent from which to draw,” Shearer added. “This, with great strategic partnerships with many of our vendors, helps us help people who really need it.”

After cleaning the yard and filling the drop box with trash, volunteers begin building an ADA ramp for the home.

What did the homeowners tell them? “They say what we’re doing here is awesome; this work helps them stay in their home, and be safe at home,” Shearer said with a smile of satisfaction.

Find out more about Rebuilding Together Portland by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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