An Opportunity for Oregon timber to lead America by guest blogger Sean Robbins


There is real power in combining university researchers, entrepreneurs and targeted public investments.

Oregon State University, Southern Oregon timber executives and real estate developers are working on a new type of wood product that could make Oregon a global supplier for the next generation skyscraper. Oregon Business magazine told the story in a deeply reported piece published in its April issue.

The wood product is known as cross-laminated timber, or CLT. The massive panels would be manufactured in rural Oregon, then assembled at construction sites like life-sized Legos. It’s a type of construction used in Europe and Australia but it’s new to America.

The concept of commercializing CLT started with Vancouver, B.C., architect Michael Green. Green’s TedTalk has more than 1 million views and his presentation at the 2015 Oregon Business Summit captivated the state’s business and political leaders. “This is an opportunity for Oregon to lead America, if not the world,” Green said.

Green’s idea inspired leaders at Oregon State University's College of Forestry. They went searching for a company to manufacture CLT panels here in Oregon and found a willing partner in D.R. Johnson Lumber, a 64-year-old Oregon timber company that’s retained the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup.

Along the way, public sector leaders stepped in to get CLT to market and invest in Oregon’s advanced wood products industry. Oregon BEST, a Business Oregon partner,provided a $150,000 grant. OSU launched a campaign to expand its wood products research, and we're supporting a $5 million fund for natural resources innovation such as CLT.

The CLT project is a signature economic development initiative for the State of Oregon. Like unmanned aerial systems, it will spur higher wage innovation jobs, connect rural and urban economies and capitalize on Oregon’s natural assets to make us globally competitive.

Sean M. Robbins
Director, Business Oregon


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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