Aug 29, 2013

Pulp fiction? Some eco-labels for wood less green than they appear

By KC

From the Portland Tribune, August 15, 2013
By Steve Law

Here's a link to the original article.

Want to buy sustainably produced lumber for your new deck or house?

It’s not as simple as you’d think.

 
Aug 29, 2013

One-of-a-kind lumber yard only stocks wood that meets FSC rules

By KC

From the Portland Tribune, August 15, 2013
By Steve Law

Here's a link to the original article.

There’s no need to scrutinize the fine print to assure you’re buying sustainably cut timber at the inner Southeast Portland lumber yard run by Ryan Temple.

Every piece sold at Sustainable Northwest Wood must meet or exceed the standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the world’s most respected “green seal” for wood products. Half the wood comes from Oregon, and Temple enjoys telling personal stories about the origin of his inventory, much as restaurateurs do when serving local meat and produce.

Shoppers at the 7,500-square-foot lumber yard a few blocks south of OMSI might find cedar cut from a Girl Scout property in Stevenson, Wash., a Nature Conservancy site in Willapa Bay, Wash. or from the city of Forest Grove’s watershed.

None of the plywood contains urea formaldehyde, so it won’t release carcinogenic fumes.

The bulk of the inventory was cut by major Oregon timber companies such as Roseburg Forest Products or Collins Companies, in forests and mills where they've committed to meet or exceed FSC standards. Some comes from small operations like family-run Zena Forest Products west of Salem.

Sustainable Northwest Wood offers butcher block tables, landscape timbers and other products made from juniper, which has grown out of control in Eastern Oregon and needs to be pared back to enable environmental restoration. Temple is part of a concerted campaign to create a market for juniper products.

The nonprofit Sustainable Northwest opened the lumber yard four and a half years ago at the peak of the Great Recession. Temple says it was quite a risk, as it’s the only exclusively green lumber yard of its kind in the country that he knows. Sustainably harvested wood generally costs about 10 percent more, he says.

The five-employee business is now turning a profit, with $1.5 million in sales for 2012-13, up 25 percent from the prior fiscal year.

Temple estimates 10 percent of the wood sold in Oregon is now FSC-certified. “If you asked me the same question five years ago, the answer would have been 1 percent.”

 
Nov 30, 2012

In The High Desert, A Sustainable Mill Targets A Thirsty Tree

By KC

From OPB's Earthfix, November 21, 2012
By Amelia Templeton

Here's a link to the article with audio.

FOSSIL, Ore. — When you walk into Kendall Derby’s mill, the first thing you notice is the smell. It’s sharp and evergreen, like the high desert after a rain. But Derby doesn’t notice the smell of juniper.

"People walk in here and they say oh, I love the smell. And I don’t have a sense of smell. Born without it. Never smelled it,” he laughs.

Derby runs In The Sticks sawmill on the outskirts of Fossil. It’s a mill dedicated to the bushy, short juniper tree.

Juniper boards and fence posts are stacked to the ceiling in a small warehouse and thick slabs with raw bark edges lean against the wall. Beetles have carved a filigree pattern into one of the slabs. Derby says he’ll sell it as a bench or a bar top.

“The target beast is one-by-six, two-by-six, six-by-six, different square lumber. But after you break a round log into square sticks you end up creating other stuff,” he says.

Derby wears suspenders and as he works he’s followed around by a friend’s yellow lab. He gets excited talking about the advantages of juniper. It has a fine, tight grain. For years ranchers have used it to make fence posts because it naturally resists decay. Best of all, it’s local and sustainably harvested.

“We’ve got millions of acres of this stuff. It’s not imported from Brazil, it’s not imported from Malaysia. It’s ours.”

Eastern Oregon has a juniper problem. Scientists say juniper have expanded their range in the high desert 10 fold since the 1870s.

 

 

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