Helping Timber Communities in OR and WA
October 15, 2015
Oregon BEST and Partners Win Grant for Cross-Laminated Timber Study in PNW
PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon BEST, as a collaborative partner of the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership (PNMP), has received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to conduct an interstate study of manufacturing capacity and market development of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in rural communities in Oregon and southwest Washington.
"Many rural communities have suffered as the timber industry and other natural resource industries have declined in our region," said Johanna Brickman, Director of Collaborative Innovation at Oregon BEST. "This study will utilize the expertise across the PNMP to get an accurate read of what the real opportunities and impacts of our region's leadership in CLT manufacturing may be in those communities. Through this project we hope to better understand how to effectively set the stage for great results."
The $120,000 grant brings together a bi-state consortium that also includes Business Oregon, Oregon State University, Washington State University and the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP). Oregon BEST will use the funding, along with $80,000 of in-kind services, to complete an analysis of the potential economic benefits of commercializing CLT for timber-dependent communities in the region.
Cross-laminated timber are massive, engineered wood panels made of laminated dimensional lumber, and can be up to 60 feet long, 12 feet wide and between 4 inches and 10 inches thick. With funding from Oregon BEST and research expertise at Oregon State University, DR Johnson, a lumber company in rural Riddle, Ore., became the first company in the U.S. to produce structural CLT, starting in September.
The collaborative, interstate study will supply information to business, industry and government agency leaders to help make decisions about growing the new industry sector, including workforce training needs, natural resource supply, manufacturing capacity, infrastructure, building codes, regulatory changes, market transformation to new materials and more. The study could also enable new areas of research and innovation to develop the next-generation of technologies and products using CLT.
Business Oregon, the State's economic development agency, committed $43,500 of in-kind services toward the match to secure the EDA funding. The remainder of the match is being provided in the form of in-kind services from Oregon BEST and its co-applicants, and from other key partners in the project including the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, the City of Corvallis/Benton County, the City of Eugene, and Clackamas County.
Earlier this year, the EDA designated the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership as a community in its Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. This project is aligned with the PNMP's strategy to collaborate across the region to generate economic impact, and specifically in this case, to build on the traditional wood products industry and position the region to be a global leader in CLT advanced wood product manufacturing.