PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When “Returning the Favor” host Mike Rowe donated a trailer to Girls Build PDX, it was a gift to help spur girls between 8 and 14 years old into trades like carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
Instead that trailer, which was being stored at a secure facility in North Portland, was broken into and vandalized by someone who took more than $2500 in tools.
Girls Build PDX “already works off of precious donations. They don’t have money allocated for stuff like this and to be given such a great gift by Mike and the (‘Returning the Favor’) show,” said Jeremy Killian of Tiny Innovations in Gresham
Killian, who set up a GoFundMe page for the group, is working to repair the trailer, replace the tools and the cabinets and looking for area businesses to help.
The trailer, which Girls Build PDX only had for 2 months, had been parked since they got it as they were preparing for their first winter camp.
When group members went to do some inventory, they realized the trailer had been burglarized.
“They broke into the facility, cut through a chain link fence and came down a very steep embankment,” Killian told KOIN 6 News. “This was backed up against these large cinder blocks, essentially.”
Once they got inside, “they damaged all the upper cabinets and the main cabinet, pried them open, ruined all the locks. They stripped out her main chopsaw that was a $700 Ridgid saw.”
On October 4, KOIN 6 News profiled Girls Build PDX. That day, executive director Katie Hughes said, “We just wants girls to have the opportunity to engage in those trades or engage in those career paths as early as they can. So starting at 8-years-old and getting their hands on the tools and then once they enter high school, taking those classes in wood or metals, so they can — when they graduate — go into the trades if they want to.”
Now, just 2 weeks later, they’ve been the victims of thieves who stole more than tools.
Killian said the thieves owe the group “the biggest apology.”
“At the end of the day it’s shame on you because this whole ‘Returning the Favor’ show was about giving back to the community,” he said. “Someone who was a leader, someone who was in the community that has relevance.”
He said it’s very upsetting. “The kids don’t deserve it.”
Killian knows the group may eventually end up with more than they had originally.
“But this is a big setback for them. So, for us, anything we can do, we’re going to donate our time, our energy, our resources, our labor.”
He also said they’re going to put in a security system.
“We’re going to make sure this gets done correctly.”