It’s time to mark your calendars

The New Year is coming soon, and with it come two mass timber events you might want to mark your calendars to attend.

The first is the Oregon Mass Timber Development Summit, scheduled for Jan. 15, 2019, at the Salem Convention Center. This one-day event is being presented by the TallWood Design Institute and Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. The summit is designed to help public officials, economic development folks, investors and manufacturers (or manufacturer wannabes) learn about multiple facets of the mass timber industry. Speakers will discuss tools, strategies and potential partners available to help support sector development for the use or production of mass timber and related products in Oregon counties and municipalities. I’m on the planning committee, so I’m privy to the content development for the event, and I can say with confidence this summit offers a lot in the way of learning about the mass timber sector. It will identify opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to become a part of the sector. The topics are well-thought-out, and the speaker list represents a wealth of knowledge. If the topic of mass timber and how you might get involved intrigues you, I recommend you register before the spots run out.

The date for the summit was strategically chosen because it falls about two months before the fourth annual International Mass Timber Conference comes to Portland on March 19-21 at the Oregon Convention Center.  If the summit is the appetizer, the Mass Timber Conference is the entrée, the veggies, the sides, the wine, the dessert and the next day’s leftovers. OFRI is a co-sponsor and I’m on the steering committee, but even if we weren’t involved I’d be recommending this for anyone interested in learning about the current status of the mass timber movement. It is produced jointly by the Forest Business Network and WoodWorks, and the organizers expect at least 1,500 people (more than three times the number who attended the first Mass Timber Conference in 2016) to come to Portland for three jam-packed days of tours and presentations. Last year’s 800-plus attendees came from more than 20 countries, including as far away as Australia. With 20 concurrent panel discussions and three general sessions over two days, the conference will bring more than 80 mass timber experts from around the world to cover a wide range of topics.

The conference steering committee is still putting the finishing touches on the various panels, but I can say that sessions will include deep dives into a number of important topics. These include the carbon story of mass timber, cost comparisons of wood buildings compared to concrete and steel construction, lessons learned on where maximum savings can be realized, and mass timber design and detailing. There will also be sessions addressing the latest information around fire safety, seismic and acoustics research, tall wood code changes, hybrid construction projects, mass timber supply chain insights, latest developments internationally, and much, much more.

You should plan to attend – and make sure to come well-rested, because it can be an exhausting three days of nonstop learning and networking. Also, fair warning: The building tours typically sell out quickly, so if you plan to attend and you want in on a tour, you probably should register now.

I look forward to seeing you at one or both of these premier mass timber events coming early next year. Until then, happy holidays.

Timm Locke

Director of Forest Products

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