Made from Scrap

Annual BRING tour of homes showcases sustainability

The Pollack home looks like thousands of dollars were spent in a custom building supply store, but most of the stuff was found at BRING or the Reuse Store, and remade by Jess Pollack. Photo by Amanda Smith.
The Pollack home looks like thousands of dollars were spent in a custom building supply store, but most of the stuff was found at BRING or the Reuse Store, and remade by Jess Pollack. Photo by Amanda Smith.

Light streams through large glass windows to fall on each carefully salvaged piece of wood in Jess Pollack’s beautiful remodeled home.

Pollack, a humble self-described contractor with an appreciation for the arts, turned an odd ’60s home into a work of modern whimsical art in a 14-year labor of love.

Pollack’s home is one of 11 sites on the 2015 BRING tour which, according to Ephraim Payne, BRING’s director of outreach and communication, encourages the community to think about how to bring sustainable living into their homes.

For the seventh annual tour Sunday, Sept. 13, BRING expects that more than 1,000 people will participate in the event that showcases sustainability in Eugene.

The Asian-inspired, wood-vaulted ceiling gracing the main living space of Pollack’s home was created from reclaimed door wood that Pollack purchased from a manufacturer. The materials, Pollack says, have determined the direction of the house, due to their limited sizes and shapes.

Pollack says he hopes that his home is an inspirational piece that shows people how reclaimed materials can still look new and custom.

Payne describes Pollack’s house on the tour as a “museum of creative reuse. Jess wanted to show what you could do using upcycled, reused materials in terms of the high-end creative aspect to make a house that looks like it is a custom show piece.”

He adds, “It all looks like you paid thousands of dollars for each feature from a custom building supply store, but a lot of the stuff was found at BRING or the ReUse Store, and remade by himself.”

From Pollack’s reclaimed show piece to a tiny home model at SquareOne Villages’ Emerald Village Eugene and a lovely mix of sustainable living in between, Payne says he believes that the event will give tour goers a great variety of ideas to incorporate into their lives.

This year’s theme of “Evolution in Action” is meant to inspire the creation of homes and gardens with low-impact living through creative reuse, energy efficiency, urban agriculture and green building.

During the tour, the city of Eugene will provide a 15-minute presentation on disaster readiness. The presentation will teach nine steps to take immediately following a disaster, how to work within your neighborhood for equipment inventory, vulnerability assessment and how to identify neighbors who may need extra help in an emergency.

For the first time in the tour’s history, the BRING tour will showcase a school garden. The garden at Adams Elementary, which is one of the state’s top green schools, teaches students the connection between gardening, nutrition and the food that they eat.

Adams Elementary is the sixth site on the tour and will also be a community hub to showcase the Long Tom Watershed Council, The Toolbox Project, Habitat for Humanity and MECCA. Children will be invited to complete a sustainable arts project at the Adams Elementary Garden.

This year’s tour will wrap up at the beergarden., where tour tickets will give patrons a discount on drinks.

“We are hoping that every tour goer goes away inspired to do one thing to increase the sustainability of their lifestyle,” Payne says, “whether it is tearing up their lawn and planting a garden, or installing a rain barrel, or buying reused items for their next home improvement project, to purchasing an energy-efficient appliance.”

He adds, “We want to make sustainability accessible to everyone, so that people who wouldn’t consider themselves an environmentalist or a liberal or whatever, can see how sustainability fits in their lifestyles.”

Tickets are $9 advance, $12 day of the tour, 10 am – 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 13. Go to for information on tickets, the self-guided tour and workshops. Volunteers get in free. 

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