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With help from volunteers, ReStore on track for fall opening

Outlet enters final stretch of construction on new 10,000- square-foot facility on Meridian Street

Pass by the train tracks on North Meridian Street and you may be surprised to see a large new building sprouting up on a long-vacant parcel of land. That’s the Newberg Area Habitat for Humanity’s new ReStore building and it’s on track for an opening date this fall.Construction work is headed into its final few months for the Newberg area Habitat for Humanity's new ReStore building. The store is moving from its old Quonset hut and mill building on Main Street, into a brand new facility on Meridian Street.

Right now the exterior framing is complete, the concrete floors are in place and the immediate next step will be the roof, Habitat executive director Rick Rogers said, before workers start closing in the expansive building.

A tentative construction schedule has the roof, exterior framing, windows, exterior doors, electrical and plumbing completed in August. The siding and landscaping is planned in September, while the drywall, exterior paint and rain gardens are scheduled in October.

The new store plans to finish up and open in November, but before then the team needs some help from volunteers, who will be completing many of the tasks outside of electrical, plumbing and drywall work.

The project dates back a couple years to a large $100,000 donation that allowed Habitat for Humanity to buy the land that’s the site of the new building. That property used to be home to Alexander Oil, a heating oil transfer station.

Although the property is not as visible as the store’s current home on Main Street, Rogers doesn’t expect a decrease in customers.

“What we’ve seen is people who shop at ReStores, they’ll find it,” he said.

And when they do find it, they’ll notice a 3,000-square-foot increase in space from the old building, along with a number of new features.

For one, the new facility includes rain gardens, which collect storm water runoff so it’s all contained onsite rather than running off the property and polluting natural waterways or overwhelming drainage infrastructure. That’s been the practice at the homes Habitat for Humanity builds, Rogers said, and they’ll incorporate it into their new facility as a “green” practice.

Another measure they’re taking is to feature pervious paver stones rather than asphalt whenever possible, again to reduce stormwater runoff.

The most important new feature of the new ReStore, Rogers said, is the fact that it’ll feature heating and air-conditioning inside. Depending on the weather, the old Quansut hut and mill building could get pretty cold or warm inside, and Rogers guessed the store’s volunteers would appreciate the climate conditioning.

The new building will cost about $940,000, which has been raised from several sources. Forty-seven percent of the cost came from grants; 33 percent came from in-kind donations; donations and gifts from the community made up 17 percent; and proceeds from sales at the ReStore made up the remainder.

Rogers said the new store, at 10,000 square feet in size, is the maximum size that could be built on the site.

“Honestly, we’ve come to realize that given the generosity of people donating to us, I think we could fill up 50,000 square feet or 100,000 square feet,” he said. “We could fill whatever we had.”

He added that limiting the size has a benefit of forcing the ReStore to move materials through, rather than holding onto things for a longer period of time, and therefore living up to its goal of getting materials back into the community to spur reuse in building projects.

It’s about average size for other ReStores in the area, but in another realm the Newberg store stands out against the rest.

In the last fiscal year, the Newberg location had the highest return per dollar sold of any ReStore in the state, partially because its administrative costs are so low: there are only two part-time paid positions, with volunteers completing much of the ReStore work, and it has been operating under favorable lease terms at its current home.

But it’s also because of the number of people who frequent the ReStore. It’s commonly thought of as a supplier of building materials, but Rogers said furniture and appliances are also bestsellers at the Newberg store.

The Newberg area Habitat for Humanity generally builds two houses per year and the ReStore store does enough sales each year to allow funding to build a house and a half, with one or two appeal letters for grants making up the rest of the funding.

Because of that success, Rogers noted, the organization doesn’t need to put on fundraising events that could compete with local sports teams’ fundraising or other efforts.

That’s one of the factors that caught the attention of the Meyer Memorial Trust and the MJ Murdoch Memorial Trust, two of the project’s large grant sources.

“It’s volunteer, community-based and all of the proceeds go back into the community,” Rogers said.

Folks who sign up to volunteer on the ReStore project could be tasked with any number of tasks, including interior framing, setting windows, setting exterior doors, siding, painting and landscaping.

To volunteer, contact Lisa Thomas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-537-9938.

There are safety courses volunteers may be asked to complete online before arriving, but other than that volunteers do not need to have experience.

“They can show up having never used a hammer,” Rogers said, adding that part of the building superintendent’s job is to instruct volunteers.