Blog

April 05, 2021

Meyer Memorial Trust - Committed to Community

By Lynn Morgan

Meyer Memorial Trust

It's always inspiring to see projects begin with a commitment to community, equity and conservation goals and to be part of those projects right from the start.  Meyer Memorial Trust's   new headquarters was one such project.  Established in 1982 from the estate of Fred G. Meyer, the foundation focuses their work on housing, education, the environment and building stronger communities and is committed to investing in change at the systemic level to ease inequities and disparities in Oregon. 

We joined forces with our parent company, Sustainable Northwest,  LEVER Architecture,  and O'Neil/Walsh Community Builders to help source and provide many of the sustainable wood products in this aspirational new project.  Read the full and in-depth CASE STUDY by Sustainable Northwest to see all the partnerships and thought that went into this amazing building.

Photo Credits to LEVER Architecture (Rendering)  and Meyer Memorial Trust 

November 23, 2020

Sustainable Wood Stories: Women in Sustainable Building

By Lynn Morgan

As part of Sustainable Building Week, Sustainable Northwest Wood presents our next Sustainable Wood Story focused on Women in the Sustainable Building Industry.

Women represent less than 10% of the overall workforce in the construction industry, and only 3.4% in the trades.  In general, women are paid only 81% of the salaries of their male counterparts, but in construction, salaries are much more equal.  Companies are recognizing the benefits of a diverse workforce and the potential for women to have a positive impact in the building industry is tremendous.  Our panel of speakers will feature a variety of perspectives from some incredible female leaders bringing their passion, expertise, and tenacity to a career focused on creating a better world for us all.

Speakers:

Esther Forbyn – Esther Forbyn LLC

Chelsea Acker – Green Hammer Design-Build

Brenda Gaynor – Oregon Tradeswomen


November 06, 2020

Mahlum Architects achieves Portland's first Living Building Challenge Petal Certification

By Lynn Morgan

Congrats to our friends at Mahlum Architects for achieving Portland's first Living Building Challenge Petal Certification!

Mahlum Architects is known for translating their sustainable values into architecture and their new Portland Studio reflects that ethos perfectly. The International Living Future Institute's --  Living Building Challenge is hailed as the most rigorous sustainable building program in the world and Mahlum was determined to "Walk their Talk" when it came to building out their new Portland Studio.

We are proud to partner with Mahlum to source and supply Declare Labeled and FSC certified wood products featured throughout the space to help achieve the LBC Materials & Beauty Petals.   We invite you to take a virtual tour of the space to learn more.  

During Sustainable Building Week, local news outlet KGW did a spotlight video of the space, and our own Terry Campbell makes a cameo appearance.  Check it out HERE    

November 02, 2020

Sustainable Wood Stories: Oregon White Oak

By Lynn Morgan

Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) is an emblematic tree in the Willamette Valley.  With its beautiful furrowed bark and distinct iconic shape, this member of the Beech family has thick, glossy leaves that provide the perfect amount of shade on hot summer days.  Sadly, several human and environmental impacts have reduced the Oregon White Oak range to less than 5% of its historic geographic territory but working forests and restoration efforts are underway to counteract that decline.

Join us for this virtual Sustainable Wood Story where our panel of speakers will provide an overview of Oregon White Oak’s historic range, its place in the ecosystem, the factors leading to its decline, how forest managers and mills apply the “working forest” concept, an Oregon White Oak habitat restoration initiative, and how architects & designers in our region are learning to better utilize this beautiful, local hardwood on future projects.  

October 28, 2020

Western Juniper - Sustaining Oregon Communities

By Lynn Morgan

Western Juniper - Sustaining Oregon Communities

The first in a series of virtual events, Sustainable NW Wood is hosting Sustainable Wood Stories featuring the unique qualities of Pacific NW wood species, their origins, customer projects, local suppliers, environmental challenges facing our society,  and methods our industry is using to address them. 

Western Juniper lumber is gaining a reputation with gardeners, landscape architects and contractors for its natural rot resistance, durability, and rustic beauty. Eastern Oregonians live in the midst of encroaching forests of ‘native-invasive’ Juniper, which has taken over much of the rangeland ecosystems due to decades of fire suppression. In an already arid climate, this thirsty tree has displaced the habitat of the threatened Greater Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Responsible removal of Juniper is helping restore the grasslands, returning water to important tributary streams, improving habitat for wildlife and humans alike, and simultaneously providing economic opportunities for both rural and urban Oregonians.

Juniper lumber is being harvested by a dozen small, family-owned sawmills in Eastern Oregon and finds its way to our lumberyard in SE Portland by the truckload on a regular basis.  The Sustainable Northwest Wood team is honored to be a bridge between our rural and urban communities,  between ecosystems and the built environment, and to provide a service to those in need of ways to nourish and sustain their families in these challenging times.

Come hear stories from (in order of appearance)

  • Dr Tony Svejcar, Ph.D. -  Rangeland Ecologist, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center  (1:48 - 13:15)
  • Herb Winters - Gilliam Soil & Water Conservation District  (13:39 - 16:20)
  • Damon Brosnan - USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (16:20-23:15)
  • Chris Gannon -  Crooked River Watershed Council  (23:30 - 29:50)
  • Jim Epley - owner of JNB Sawmill, Wheeler Counter Oregon (30.03 - 33:22)
  • Levi Littrell - owner Levi's Sawmill Services, La Pine, Oregon  (33:29 - 43:00)
  • Jennifer Hake -  homeowner & Juniper enthusiast Beaverton, Oregon (44:00 - 50:43
  • Jim Desmond - The Nature Conservancy - Portland, Oregon  (51:05 - 58:31)
  • Moderator:  Terry Campbell, Sustainable Northwest Wood, Portland OR
October 19, 2020

Portland Audubon Marmot Cabin

By Lynn Morgan

Portland Audubon’s Marmot Cabin is the perfect place for youth to learn about wildlife, healthy ecosystems and natural history through camps, field trips and Outdoor School. Bordering the Bull Run Watershed on 91 acres of the Miller Wildlife Sanctuary, this inspiring educational center was designed by Harka Architecture and is a testament to the Audubon’s commitment to the natural world. 

The 3200 SF cabin is not only a beautiful space for learning about nature, but also serves as a teaching tool for sustainable design.   Thoughtful material selections include an array of FSC Certified wood products and Pacific Madrone flooring from Sustainable NW Wood.  Images provided by Harka Architecture. 

The focal point of the space is an incredible fireplace built by artist Matt Goddard of Poetry in Stone that reflects the geological history of Oregon with stones from across the state landscape.

Image below by Don Morris. 

We are honored to be part of this project that gives young people a chance to make lifelong connections with the natural world.

June 11, 2020

Portland Audubon & Sustainable NW Wood - Together for Nature

By Lynn Morgan

Nestled in 172 acres of protected land adjoining Forest Park in Portland, Oregon, The Audubon Society of Portland is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to wildlife. Their Wildlife Care Center is Oregon's oldest and busiest wildlife rehabilitation facility, treating more than 3,000 injured and orphaned native animals and responding to more than 10,000 wildlife-related inquiries a year.  When planning new and improved structures to house the animals in their care, they turned to Sustainable NW Wood for materials that reflect their long term commitment to conservation.    

Selecting local FSC Certified Western Red Cedar and Western Juniper lumber from restoration projects in Eastern Oregon, general contractor, conservationist and former Audubon employee,  Esther Forbyn created beautiful structures for the Audubon's permanent residents that are not able to be released back into the wild.  With thoughtful planning for the animals'  well-being, safety of the care-takers, and a commitment to quality materials that reflect the values of Portland Audubon, the structures are mostly women-built with all local materials.  These open-air mews allow the animals to feel connected to the surrounding forest, while keeping them safe.  Birds like Ruby the Turkey Vulture,  Julio the Great Horned OwlAristophanes the Raven and Xena the American Kestrel are now permanent residents of the Wildlife Care Center due to injuries and human imprinting that would make it impossible for them to survive in the wild. They are now living as educational ambassadors for their species and Portland Audubon.  The Wildlife Care Center is free and open to the public and a wonderful way to connect with these magical creatures up close and personal. 

April 09, 2020

Project Profile: The Nature Conservancy's Portland headquarters

By Lynn Morgan

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.  When it came time to remodel and expand their Oregon headquarters located in Portland, they were guided every step of the way by their mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  They held strong to their vision to conserve nature for its own sake as well as for its ability to fulfill the needs of their expansion and to enrich the lives of their employees and all who visit the new space. This project is a shining example of partnership, collaboration, flexibility and sustainability.

Housed in what is now called the Oregon Conservation Center Building on SE Belmont in Portland OR, The Nature Conservancy partnered with Lever Architecture to reimagine their inefficient and outdated space.  Sustainable Northwest Wood was instrumental in sourcing FSC certified lumber, connecting with regional fabricators to develop finished goods, integrating Western Juniper and Western Red Cedar products from The Nature Conservancy’s regional conservations sites.

December 05, 2019

A Walk in the Woods: Rain Cloud Tree Farm

By Terry Campbell

A Walk in the Woods: Carbon Farming in the Forest

Some months ago when the weather was warm and the days were longer, The Build Local Alliance hosted a walk in the woods to highlight and discuss the role that small landowners can play in emerging carbon markets.  This event was co-hosted with the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and Ecotrust at the Raincloud Tree Farm in Corbett, OR.  The owners of the Raincloud Tree Farm were gracious enough to allow 30 people to come to their property on a Saturday to learn how their forest can help mitigate our excessive carbon emissions. 

As you might remember from biology class, trees in forests suck-up carbon dioxide (CO2) and expel oxygen (O).  The symbiotic relationship between what we need to breath and what a forest produces has largely been taken for granted as the human species has evolved.  This along with other ecosystems services, such as clean drinking water, climate regulation and others, have been so neglected that in many cases we need to be more concerned about the potential to maintain them. 

Society’s continued use of fossil fuels has driven greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to the point where our climate is changing.  Putting aside the debate of whether it was going to change on its own or not, burning fossil fuels is an old technology that for reasons involving air, water and land pollution is something we should be evolving away from. 

To begin to wean us off this old technology some jurisdictions have created ‘cap-and-trade’ systems to ensure that industries don’t continue to release emissions, related to fossil fuel burning, without penalty.  On the West coast the California cap-and-trade program was launched in 2013 to put a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases the state emits.  If emitters of greenhouse gases in California emit more then the state set cap allows then they must purchase offsets for the excess emissions on the California Carbon Market. 

This is where forestland and responsible forest managers come in.  Since forests sequester carbon (rated as the worst greenhouse gas) forest landowners can be paid to manage their forests in a way to sequester more carbon.  In the past this financial opportunity was only available to large landowners, but recently more outreach and methods have been developed for small woodland owners to be involved.  As we walked the forest, presentations from the landowner, Ecotrust, Forest Carbon Works, Sustainable Northwest and others helped to shape my understanding of what goes into inventorying carbon stocks in a forest, how that sequestered carbon stock is registered and how that stock can be sold to an industrial emitter in a different state. 

What resonated with me at the end of the tour is a consistent theme that we share at Sustainable Northwest Wood: if properly motivated, forest landowners can protect ecosystems services that forests provide society while counting on multiple revenue streams outside of just timber. Over the coming decades the Raincloud Tree Farm will harvest about 61 thousand board feet of logs per year with a net annual timber revenue of $18,000 while also earning $4,700 a year as a carbon sink for the state of California. 

I think it's safe to say that the owners of the Raincloud Tree Farm are certainly seeing the forest for more than just the trees.

November 07, 2019

Sustainable Northwest Wood partners with The Oak Accord

By Lynn Morgan

Sustainable Northwest Wood loves Oregon White Oak and so do our customers; but are we "loving" it enough?   Fire suppression, residential development, and conversion of native habitat for agricultural use  have had a devastating effect on Oregon White Oak habitat.  The greatest threat to oak is not the logging of individual trees, but the conversion of the oak habitat to other uses, such as vineyards and orchards. Today, a mere 3% of its historic range remains in the Willamette Valley. Our native oak woodlands and savannas are now considered some of the most threatened ecosystem types in the Pacific Northwest. 

                                                                                                

In response to this, a group of private land owners, led by Willamette Partnership, started The Oak Accord -  a voluntary oak conservation program designed to urgently create awareness of oak habitats importance, to limit or halt its ongoing and rapid loss, and to promote long term stewardship.  The Oak Accord is working to restore 20,000 acres of oak in the Willamette Valley and Sustainable Northwest Wood is committed to help reach this goal. 

As a supplier of locally sourced materials from well-managed forests, we believe that restoration is an essential component of a resilient ecosystem and vibrant economy.  In light of this belief, we pledge our support of The Oak Accord. Our partnership allows us and our customers to get involved in restoring this critical ecosystem.  Sustainable Northwest Wood will be donating 10% of every Oregon White Oak purchase to the Oak Accord.  Through this partnership, your purchases will directly support on-the-ground restoration projects.