Scrap metal drive boosts ‘Rosewood Café’ project

Here’s why folks were bringing all kinds of metal to a certain strip mall in outer East Portland – and, get an update on their project …

‘Junkin’ Joe’ Dowd, and Rex Hollingsworth from Junk-Away Hauling, begin filling another truck with scrap metal at the Rosewood Café fundraiser.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Last time we visited the volunteers working to establish the Rosewood Café, located at 609 SE 162nd Avenue, they were tearing out walls and getting ready to remodel the space into a community center.

The Rosewood Initiative is non-profit organization dedicated to helping build a self-sufficient, safe, healthy, empowered neighborhood in the 15-block area from SE 157th to SE 165th and NE Holiday to SE Alder – which includes a sliver of western Gresham.

In addition to hosting neighborhood clean-up efforts, the volunteers are working to establish a neighborhood coffeehouse and police contact station which they call the Rosewood Café. To help raise money for this project, volunteers hosted a scrap metal drive in their parking lot.

Jim Boersma winds up to pitch his donated metal object into the hauling truck.

People brought in all kinds of metallic refuse – like shovels, bed frames, lawnmowers, tin cans, scrap siding – and items we couldn’t recognize, other than that they were certainly made of metal.

“We’ve held other fundraisers,” pointed out Rex Hollingsworth, a partner in Junk-Away Hauling. “We’ve done car washes, barbecues, and other events – whatever it takes, to get the café built.”

This fundraiser helped the area in two ways, Hollingsworth pointed out. “In addition to helping us raise money, it gives folks an easy way to get rid of their scrap metal and clean up the neighborhood. It’s another step toward reducing crime in this area.”

Jenny Glass of AmeriCorps looks after hot dogs on the grill; volunteers nearly always provide food at Rosewood Initiative activities, she grins.

Jenny Glass, an AmeriCorps community organizer helped pitch metal – and cooked hot dogs on an outdoor grill. “We have a lot of activity here all week long – meetings, people coming in to hang out and play ping-pong; to talk with one another and their neighbors.”

They haven’t yet started construction, Glass remarked. “The permits are making their way through the City’s permitting process. And, we’re getting out a structural engineer to assess our plans for making window cutouts in the south [concrete] wall. We’re making progress, but it takes time.”

After the scrap metal drive, Glass said the organization had raised nearly $1,000. “We’re so happy everyone that participated. We nearly filled two trucks with scrap metal. And be sure to thank our recycler, Calbag Metals.”

Neighborhood Watch program to start October 11
If you’re interested in helping start a Neighborhood Watch program to help reduce crime in the Rosewood area, they’re holding an organizing meeting on October 11 at 6:00 p.m. It’s at the Rachel Anne Apartments, 16300 E. Burnside Street. For more information, contact Robert Slack at

For more information regarding the Rosewood Initiative, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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