“It makes no sense for us to recycle newsprint and bottles and aluminum cans while we’re throwing away entire buildings or even entire neighborhoods,” – Richard Moe, past president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Restore Oregon, the only historic preservation non-profit asked to serve on the Deconstruction Advisory Group, is very pleased to have been involved in the efforts to require deconstruction rather than demolition. While we do not believe deconstruction will solve the demolition crisis, it is one more tool to disincentivize the removal of historic homes.
After the spike in demolitions in 2013, Restore Oregon created the info-graphic to the right, illustrating the amount of materials from demolished buildings that is re-used (any activity that lengthens the life of an item) rather than recycled (reprocessing of an item into a new raw material). Reuse preserves the embodied energy of an item, generally requires less energy and creates less air and water pollution than reprocessing old materials into new materials. Reuse also creates more jobs in the local community.
In 2013, of the 389 buildings demolished only 8 buildings worth of materials were re-used.
During his tenure at Restore Oregon, Jordan Jordan, who is quoted in the Portland Mercury article and now works for the nonprofit Earth Advantage, wrote this piece on deconstruction as part of our Neighborhood Preservation series. It gives some insight into how this legislation was conceived and what other cities have programs promoting deconstruction over demolition.
Read the Portland Mercury article: