Part of the recently completed $40M renovation at the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) involved replacing all our old furniture with new, more modern and more comfortable furniture. Better seating, and more of it, has long been a request of our clients and visitors alike.
As you might imagine, coordinating this effort wasn’t a small or easy feat. We had thousands of stackable chairs to replace that still had plenty of life to them, so we reached out to nonprofits across the region – local school districts, churches and other community organizations – to find out if they could use them. And, to put it mildly, the response to our donation offer was nothing less than overwhelming.
“It was more than I thought it would be, and I thought it was going to be a lot,” says OCC sustainability manager Ryan Harvey, who initiated the donation effort. He and Waste Reduction Specialist, Nancy Nordman, coordinated the rapidly growing influx of requests over a three-month period, and in the end, a total of 17,652 chairs found new homes and purpose in more than 90 different organizations across Oregon and southern Washington State. In addition to the chairs, 82 chair racks were also donated, all weighing in at a combined 165 tons.
“Thanks so much for the stackable chairs. Your generous donation has been very well received,” said William D. Prows, Director of Business Development Events and Youth Programs for the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs. “Huge shout-out to Oregon Convention Center,” said Dan McCue, Communications Specialist with David Douglas School District in Portland. “We received our donation of 300 chairs. Thank you! They are awesome, and we have several very happy principals today.”
And Michael with the Oregon Bee Project said that, thanks to the chair donation, "the project and our Extension Service now have classroom space in Yamhill County for community outreach and programming."
Although it was simply impossible to fulfill all the requests Ryan and Nancy received (especially once word got out through a local radio station and on social media), every effort was made to accommodate any nonprofit group, large or small, with a need for chairs while the supply lasted.
“This was a huge project, and Ryan, Nancy and our OCC setup team deserve a lot of credit for managing all the logistics and sheer physical work it involved,” says Craig Stroud, OCC Executive Director. “It is a remarkable example of how helping our community is always top of mind for us, and well worth the extra effort, whenever an opportunity presents itself.”
About the Oregon Convention Center
The Oregon Convention Center is owned by Metro and managed by the Metro Exposition and Recreation Commission. OCC is a sustainably operated LEED® Platinum facility that hosts groups from around the world and brings millions of dollars into the Portland and Oregon economy.