Portland Deconstruction Decision Creates Job Opportunities For New Workforce

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Women and minorities have a new way to get into the construction trades

June 14, 2017

Photo: Pixabay

Last November, the city of Portland, Ore., banned the demolition of homes built before 1916, instead opting for deconstruction, a time-consuming, labor-intensive process.

CityLab reports that the city, facing a shortage of workers, launched a training program that targeted women, minorities, and others who face barriers entering the construction field. The goal is for deconstruction will serve as a springboard that leads to advancement within construction trades.

Other cities, including Oakland and Pontiac, Mich., have similar programs. After 12 weeks, half of the 15 participants in the Portland training program have gotten construction jobs.

Participants said that they enjoy the hands-on work that they are doing.

“I’m good at problem solving. I like working with my hands… I like that every job is different,” says Savannah Stigen, who landed a job with Lovett Deconstruction. ... She says the work is mentally engaging, with tasks like “figuring out what’s the best way to remove what from the kitchen first and then work backwards from how it was built.”

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