The Habitat for Humanity ReStore has relocated from the inner Eastside to the Gateway District, 10445 SE Cherry Blossom Dr.

Commissioner Nick Fish officiates at the official opening

What began as an occasional ‘garage sale’ to clear out excess materials has grown into a full-fledged retail operation with stores in Portland, Vancouver and Beaverton. At the ReStores you can purchase a variety of quality new and reclaimed building materials, pre-owned appliances and furniture and much more, at a fraction of retail prices.

One of the big advantages to the new space is that it is completely indoors, warm and dry, with good lighting – a better place  for shoppers to browse and for furniture to be displayed. The grand opening celebration was March 15.

Market Manager Cindy Correll gave a brief history of Habitat for Humanity and how the ReStore benefits the organization.

The organization is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1976. Their goal is to build simple, decent, and affordable houses for low-income families. Each ReStore is an affiliate to the main organization.

There are two other ReStores in the Metro area and forty branches statewide. This year, the three stores in the Metro area are expect to contribute $475,000 towards Habitat’s local home building efforts.

As well as providing inexpensive goods for sale, they prevent a lot of items from going into the landfill.  Last year alone, ReStores diverted 5.6 million pounds of materials from the waste stream.

Correll explained that Habitat for Humanity is mostly a volunteer organization with a few paid employees in management. These volunteers work in the stores, pick-up goods from building sites, retrieve furniture and appliances from homeowners and, for a fee, will deconstruct and salvage kitchen cabinet’s materials. All donated items must be in good repair, free of breakage or excessive wear, have all their parts and can be resold. All donations are tax deductible.

In order to qualify for one of the Habitat homes, a family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan. If chosen they must be willing to invest 500 hours of their own sweat equity to the project. This can be either in the building of the home or in one of the ReStores.

This year, Habitat will be choosing about 20 families for homes. Currently there are two development sites ready for occupancy, one is located at SE 105th and the other at SE 171st St. and Division.

There are plans for a community garden at the Division St. complex that will be built by Habitat and maintained by the site’s Homeowner Association. The next selection process round will take place in August to select the families.

Currently, Habitat for Humanity is looking for donations and volunteers. They can be reached by calling 503.283.6247 or by visiting the website, www.habitatportlandmetro.org .