Josh LaVille: The intentional skateboarder

Family is what drives Josh LaVille, but the cogs in his head are powered by art, music and creativity.

“The art and music is where you learn a DIY ethic because nobody is going to do it for you,” he explains. “In art and music you have to do it for yourself…I’m not a craftsman but when it comes to building stuff, I can build something that lasts.”

Josh has been working for Habitat ReStore for nearly a year, but he has been assistant manager of the Washington County ReStore for only a few weeks.

He brings with him very diverse work experience that includes restaurant management, refurbishing auto bodies, traveling the world installing audio-visual equipment for a virtual reality company and running his own production company, LaVille Multimedia.

“My big forte was the art and animation,” Josh says about the educational videos he produced mainly for non-profits in Iowa as well as in the Portland area. For the past ten years his company has also been involved in producing music videos. Along the way he put his DIY skills to work creating studio environments, camera rigs, props and sets.

It was the weather (and polarizing political climate) that led Josh Northwest with his wife Megan, now a Washington County developmental disabilities coordinator, and their son Quintin.

"If you're from here you think the weather is horrible, but if you're from the Midwest you know this is beautiful weather...and there are no bugs," he adds.

The threesome spends off hours doing a little one-on-one at various skateparks across the state.

"Lincoln City, Oregon is like the Disneyland of skateparks," Josh says. "People come from all over the world to skate there." The architecturally impressive Lincoln City venue was built by the same skaters that built Portland's originally unsanctioned, now sanctioned, Burnside Bridge Skatepark.

The downside to skateboarding in the Northwest, Josh points out, is that it rains at least 6 months out of the year. So he and his son spend a lot of time at covered skateparks like Burnside, and the WJ Skatepark in Eugene.

While father and son practice their kickflips and ollies, Mom hunts down local farmers markets and downtown offerings. It's a family thing for the LaVilles.

Just recently 12-year-old Quintin returned from California where he placed 15 in the 15-and-under category of an international skateboarding competition. Lined up were kids from Italy, Brazil, Australia and the U.S. Proud dad. Very proud dad.

Josh’s other interests include playing guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. His taste in music is eclectic, but right now he likes to chill with his acoustic guitar and a few folk songs from Simon and Garfunkel .

“Music is great because it uses so many different parts of your brain at once,” he theorizes. “It’s physical, it’s artistic, it’s mental. You’re doing math and keeping time —all these things at once. It’s kind of like I find in skateboarding: It occupies so many parts of my brain that I can finally quit thinking about other things.”

Josh’s history with Habitat began in his late teens when he volunteered at a build in Iowa. He says he was already aware of what Habitat does to help hardworking families achieve homeownership. As a ReStore shopper he was also aware of our focus on sustainability. But what he was surprised to discover is the other important facet of the ReStore community: our expansive volunteer program.

Last year 2,000 volunteers clocked over 58,000 hours across our four stores. They gave their time doing everything from customer service and cashiering to unloading donations and product displays, to sign painting. At the Washington County ReStore, Josh hopes to organize a team of volunteers who are interested in small engine repair - a boon considering the number of power tools and lawn mowers that are donated.

Why volunteer and donate to Habitat ReStores?

“‘You don’t have to swing a hammer to build a house,’” Josh emphasizes. “You’re making a difference in this community. You can even drive down the street [to Allen Estates] and see what we’ve done. In ten years, you can come back and see how it has affected those families.”

Josh LaVille will be happy to speak with you about volunteering, donating, our new  ReStore Rewards program…or defeating the most challenging half-pipes in the area. Go ahead and say “hello” at the Washington County ReStore.

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What will you find shopping at Habitat ReStore?

JOSH: Somebody donated a piece of exercise equipment - a rowing machine, a really high-end rowing machine. I had been watching House of Cards, and it was the same rowing machine the president was using in House of Cards!

Find something new (and used) and possibly presidential at Habitat ReStores in Portland, Beaverton, Gresham and Vancouver.

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