Building the Fresh Start MarketAndMarion County Connections Community Center
The market and community connections center complex is comprised of two buildings and a courtyard. Concrete slab work, block walls, wood framing, roofing, decorative barn wood, painting, barn wood flooring, and landscaping were some of the tasks that the Alternative Programs staff and 375 youths tackled over the two years of construction. It was a slow and laborious process, but with all the safety and construction training, and retraining that took place on a daily basis, the length of construction exceeded everyone’s projections. It was worth it. No major injuries or incidents’ occurred and all who have visited remark about how comfortable and attractive the buildings look and feel. These buildings were erected under budget in large part because of material donations and volunteer hours.
All three programs, Community Service, Matrix, and Fuel worked on the project with the Fuel program completing the majority of the effort. The Fuel program teaches vocational skills while youth pay off restitution to victims. Youth developed construction skills by learning and working on all aspects of the building, from completing the foundation, masonry, framing the building and constructing counters inside the market. The Market now is open to the public and sells the products made, grown and harvested by youth participating in the Alternative Programs . The money the youth earn is used to pay back victims and to offset the cost of the program.
An eco-charrette was held during May of 2003. Nathan Good, a well-known and respected architect facilitated the all-day session attended by juvenile department employees, green-building proponents, master gardeners, and other interested individuals. At the end of that day, a decision was made that the complex would be composed of 2 buildings connected by a breezeway and that as many recycled materials would be used as possible. It was also known that Alternative Programs would act as the general contractor and that the youth and staff of AP would do the bulk of the construction.
The first donation to this project came from Marion County Environmental Services. A grant/loan was offered to AP for construction of the project. As a result, AP would build a large part of the building with recycled material and sell many recycled goods. KMD Architects and Planners next came forth with drawings and consultation services. KMD secured further donations from KPFF Consulting Engineers and PAE Consulting Engineers – all from Portland. Next, the Von Flue family offered their barn. The former dairy barn was beginning to show its age and sorely needed a new roof and structural support – the cost was prohibitive. An agreement was made and AP took the barn down during the winter of ’02-’03. The wood was graded by an engineer from KPFF and then sorted and stacked out of the weather. Subsequently the plans called for the use of CMU blocks and inquiries were made to local dealers. Willamette Graystone generously offered blocks for the entire project. A call came from Sustainable Development, Inc. inquiring about our desire to raze another building. Since much of the siding was identical to the wood taken from the barn, AP agreed to bring the building down. Many individuals took note of the buildings going up on Center Street and offered decorative items or volunteer assistance. Merle Kauffman, a retired mason, offered his expertise with CMU by training youth and staff in erecting the many block walls.
To view the building from the outside, one would not get much of a sense of what went into the building, or what it looks like inside. However, from the outside one would notice porthole glass-block windows. They came from the Ramada Inn just prior to that building being razed. One also notices Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU), commonly known as concrete block, which is the primary wall structure for the 2 buildings and the fence columns. Although these blocks are not recycled, they would have been had AP not accepted them as a donation. Some of the block was molded nearly 20 years ago and was scheduled to be crushed. The primary paint color on the 2 buildings came from a blend of various yellow’s mixed together by youth crews in Matrix which is a collaborative effort with Marion County Environmental Services.
When one walks into the market building the wood and décor is what stands out. Structural members, such as the trusses and posts and beams, came from the barn; decorative wood came from either the barn or Fairview. In the market, most of the ceiling and the walls are wood, but in the meeting building, only the floor, post and beams are wood. The buildings look similar from the outside, but different from the inside.
The coffee and condiment bars were made from barnwood, as was the wall cabinetry. The table and chairs were donated, obtained through surplus, or purchased at local thrift shops. A depression era quilt hangs from the wall and many of the decorative items that were donated or loaned are quite old.
The market and espresso building is now open and being run by the staff and youth of Alternative Programs. The adjoining building, now known as Marion County Connections Community Center, is taking reservations from groups within the community. If catering is requested, Fresh Start will provide the service and train youth at the same time.
The market, the coffee shop, and the community meeting room will offer much to the community. Aside from the products sold, customers will leave with a better understanding of the Marion County Juvenile Department and all other Marion County Departments. They will have the opportunity to see first-hand what the juveniles built (the buildings themselves as well as the wood and metal craft projects that are for sale) and what businesses they now operate (market, coffeehouse, and catering).
Donated barn is recycled by Alternative Programs staff and youth work crews.
Alternative Programs staff train youth work crews while working to recycle wood from old barn.
Old barn to be recycled for the wood to be used in constructing Alternative Programs' market.
Alternative Programs staff teach safety while working to bring down an old barn to recycle wood.
Storing recycled wood for new market construction.
Clearing ground for the new market.
Setting foundation framework for new market.
Working on foundation for the new market.
Pouring cement for new market foundation.
New market building begins to take shape.
New market gets a roof.
Alternative Programs staff teach safety first when working on new roof.
Construction of the community building adds to the new market.
Construction continues on the community building.
Construction progresses on the community building and new market.
Work continues - November 2005.
Under the eves.
Roof work on market.
View from inside.
View from inside - December 2005.
Sample of ironworks for market.