Portland Goodwill breaks ground after tornado

Nearly six months after their building was destroyed, Goodwill leaders broke ground on a new store. (Dec. 7, 2015)


PORTLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly six months after a tornado tore through Portland, destroying homes, churches and businesses, a new store is about to take shape.

Goodwill broke ground on its Portland store Monday.

“Unfortunately a tornado leveled this store several months ago. The outpouring and the support from the community was phenomenal. Which really made the decision for us to rebuild this store that much easier,” said Jill Wallace,  spokesperson for Goodwill.

Tornado damage at the Goodwill in Portland. (June 24, 2015)
Tornado damage at the Goodwill in Portland. (June 24, 2015)
The debris where a Goodwill used to stand in Portland, Mich. Photo courtesy: TJ Heald (June 22, 2015)
The debris where a Goodwill used to stand in Portland, Mich. Photo courtesy: TJ Heald (June 22, 2015)

The store is coming back bigger and better; the new facility will have a workforce development center.

City and business leaders break ground on the new Portland Goodwill. (Dec. 7, 2015)
City and business leaders break ground on the new Portland Goodwill. (Dec. 7, 2015)

“There will be a site for somebody to provide job placement and training services,” said Wallace.

Twisted steel and rubble left behind by the June 22 twister have been removed and replaced with fresh dirt and construction equipment.

“This was like ground zero for the commercial district that was affected. It’s just amazing to see now that it’s coming back and I’m learning so much about Goodwill and the things they can do in a community,” said Portland Mayor James Barnes.

The city also continues to rebuild.

“The last time the mayor and I were out here were under very different circumstances, It’s somewhat traumatic. It’s been traumatic for the community, so I know there are a lot of rebuilding efforts still going on. Substantially, a lot has taken place. But again, it’s a reminder of who the city is and who the people are here. They’ve done a great job,” said Tutt Gorman, Portland’s city manager.

Goodwill hopes to open the new store in late April or early May 2016.

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