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Congregation, contractor team up for church

Dmitriy Leontyuk of Masters Finish Wood Work Inc. installs hand-cut wood moldings at the new Ukrainian Bible Church in Gresham, Ore. Leontyuk, a member of the church, donated his time to reduce project costs. Photos by Dan Carter

Dmitriy Leontyuk of Masters Finish Wood Work Inc. installs hand-cut wood moldings at the new Ukrainian Bible Church in Gresham, Ore. Leontyuk, a member of the church, donated his time to reduce project costs. Photos by Dan Carter

By Nathalie Weinstein
Dolan Media Newswires

Portland, Ore. — After a split with another church, the Ukrainian Bible Church was at a loss for where to settle. But with the help of its congregation and some local contractors, the Ukrainian Bible Church has a new home in a former industrial laundry facility in Gresham, Ore.

The Ukrainian Bible Church had planned to construct a new building on land it previously co-owned with another church. But then the two churches split, and the land was sold and turned into a park. So the Ukrainian Bible Church bought a former laundry facility in the hopes of moving there.

That was four years ago, and creating a sacred space within the walls of the former laundry has been no easy task for contractor LCM Contracting Inc.

“It has been abandoned for quite awhile,” said Mark Grider, owner of LCM. “The main sanctuary was a barrel vault with a leaky, glue-down roof system. The switch boxes had been vandalized. It was a mess.”

In order to bring the 38,000-square-foot shell into usable condition, contractors needed to reinsulate the roof to bring it up to code, and install a false ceiling in the building’s new sanctuary room.

“A church is a complex remodel to take on,” Grider said. “This is the first major remodel we have been involved in as a company. And we probably participated more financially than we otherwise would have. But we knew what we were going into.”

The $5.4 million renovation required some creative financing on behalf of the congregation and the contractor. Grider said he tried to aggressively bid out the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical work, and members of the parish mortgaged personal property to contribute to building costs.
Parishioners with building experience were put to work. Dmitriy Leontyuk owns a carpentry business, Masters Finish Wood Work Inc., and was tasked with installing intricate woodwork for the pastor’s study room.

“I gave the contractor a list of materials I would need,” Leontyuk said. “He asked if I could make it cheaper. I said it would be cheaper material-wise to cut the wood myself. So that’s what I did.”
Leontyuk over several weeks cut the wall-to-wall woodwork in the study by hand. The task would have taken him eight to 10 days working back-to-back, he said.

“Our scope as a general did not include the extensive fine finish carpentry,” Grider said. “All of the trim, wainscoting and handrail systems were made by the parish. If it was trimmed, that was the work of a 1,200-person-strong Ukrainian immigrant congregation. They’ve done some of the finest tile work I have ever seen.”

The finished church includes a 15,000-square-foot sanctuary space, a full kitchen, a 5,000-square-foot wedding hall and a 4,500-square-foot conference hall with a warming kitchen.

After four years of planning and construction, a former industrial laundry in Gresham, Ore., has been turned into the Ukrainian Bible Church. Much of the work on the church was done by members who volunteered their time and skills to complete the project.

After four years of planning and construction, a former industrial laundry in Gresham, Ore., has been turned into the Ukrainian Bible Church. Much of the work on the church was done by members who volunteered their time and skills to complete the project.

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