A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Dec 04, 2012 - Initial Posting: Jul 22, 2003

The Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) has established the ReHarvest Center to provide training and employment opportunities for low-income individuals in deconstruction/construction trades and to offer a resale center for used building materials.


ReHarvest CenterThe Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) established the ReHarvest Center that involves the systematic disassembly of buildings and the resale of recovered materials for use in new construction and renovation projects or for remanufacture or recycling. As described by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), deconstruction provides an alternative to building demolition, while building local economies, creating new jobs, preserving natural resources and saving millions in public sector funding. An extensive list of resources related to deconstruction is available through ILSR, as well as various publications such as:

MDC secured WIA funds to purchase tools and to support training for persons to be employed as crew members. A 12,000 square foot warehouse is used for storage and resale of salvaged materials.

A partnership with the City of Tacoma has been developed with arrangements for a drop-off site at the local landfill as a way to encourage residents to save disposal fees and landfill space .  Relationships have also been developed with many manufacturers (i.e. wood trim companies, door companies, etc.) so they regularly donate items that would normally have been taken to the landfill.

Deconstruction work in Tacoma and surrounding area’s now account for over 50% of the gross income earned.  ReHarvest Center crews have participated in deconstruction on two HOPE VI projects and are also active in salvage work resulting from apartment buildings that are being converted to condominiums.


On average, 23,000 pounds or more of reusable items have been diverted from the landfill monthly.  Gross income from sales was around $63,000 for the period of January 1 - December 31, 2009 with an additional $5,000 in deconstruction fees earned.


Jan McLellan, ReHarvest Coordinator