Department of Commerce boosts NW timber industry

Federal agency announces that it will support CLT efforts of Oregon, Washington companies.

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The U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced earlier this week that Oregon and Washington timber companies will get a boost from the White House’s investment in manufacturing.

The increase in funding is expected to aid the cross-laminated timber efforts in the northwest.

“From aircraft parts to semiconductors, high quality manufacturing has always been a fundamental driver of Oregon’s economy,” said Sean Robbins, director of Business Oregon. “We’re a place that still makes real products and we’re uniquely positioned to shape American manufacturing in the 21st century. This designation will help us do just that.”

Gov. Kate Brown approved legislation April 1 that created an advisory committee for the Pacific Northwest Community Partnership to oversee the federal effort. “I’m proud that Oregon put together a strong proposal that showcases our ability to bring together diverse state, regional and local organizations for a common goal – economic opportunity for all Oregonians,” Brown said Tuesday in a statement.


The new technology is expected to help revive timber industry in the state.

Oregon exported almost $526 million in wood products in 2012, and officials hope to increase that by making the state a worldwide leader in CLT and other new wood products. Both Oregon State University and the University of Oregon are investing in research, development and training programs based around timber technology.

Also planned:

  • Special certification program for wood product manufacturing
  • Training for young people who want a path other than traditional education systems
  • Repurposing old lumber mills in rural areas to adapt to new technology, rather than building new mills
  • Washington officials plan to update land designations to align with Oregon’s study of industrial land that can accommodate manufacturing industries.