The farm-to-table movement resonates with citizens of the Pacific Northwest. We shop at local farmers markets, participate in CSAs, buy eggs from our neighbors who raise chickens. We care so much about where our food comes from – and its well-being – that the show Portlandia pokes fun at us Oregonians and Washingtonians wanting to “meet the chicken” on our plate.
But can we extend the farm-to-table concept to the next level of sustainable sourcing? Forest-to-building? Stump-to-siding? Tree-to-floor?
At NNRG, we believe it’s important to have confidence and take comfort in knowing where our wood products come from. Meeting the stump and walking through the forest from which the tree grew is a powerful experience. It’s a reminder that wood is more than a 2×4 or piece of siding, it is part of dynamic, complex, elegant, living forest ecosystems. Building with locally-sourced wood links us to the land, the steward, the sawyer, the mill operator, the carpenter, the builders who constructed the frame for your house, floor, shelves, cabinets, chairs, broom handles, firewood, and more.
NNRG connects the stewards of Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified well-managed forests to opportunities to showcase and sell their products in local markets. This is the story of cedar trees growing in our members forests becoming part of a building and neighborhood.
A collaboration among members
When Micheal Hurley of Wetset Enterprises (WE) received a call for 36,000 board feet of FSC certified western red cedar, he reached out to fellow NCF members Matt Patton of Ayers Last Stand (ALS) and Brian Weber of Weber Family Forest to help fill the order. Together, the three families and their forests helped supply cedar siding for the One North Building in Portland.
Hurley stewards more than 100 acres of woodlands outside of Mossyrock, Washington. He practices individual tree selection in his maturing forest and often selects the declining trees to supply material for product orders.
The Patton’s forest is near Lacey, WA where Matt’s family has lived for five generations. Their land is an oasis of mature forest with diverse trees of mixed ages and a kettle lake amid rural lands and suburban development. Today, they selectively harvest Douglas-fir, bigleaf maple, red alder and western red cedar when their projects and special orders call for certain species or volume. They keep the rest of their inventory growing on the stump.
The Weber family in Morton, WA are local logging operators who steward more than 65 acres of beautiful forest that’s been in the family for three generations.
To fulfill the order for 36,000 board feet of cedar, Ayers Last Stand supplied Wetset with one load of cedar and Weber delivered a half load. Wetset supplied the majority of the volume. The builder recognized the wood as having exceptional quality.
The fine cedar siding is now on the outside of a new office building in Portland, OR. The One North Building on N Williams Avenue and N Fremont Street. Next time you’re pedaling through the Williams neighborhood stop and take a look. The building is just across the street from a New Seasons grocery store.
A tour of the stumps
On a hot July day, NNRG conducted a site visit at Ayers Last Stand to tour the forest and perform a harvest assessment. NNRG reviews the harvests of all of our FSC certified members when they harvest more than 5,000 board feet of wood for commercial purposes. It’s part of our commitment to upholding the FSC standards and verifying that our members are conducting their forest management to the rigorous standards of FSC… or even better. It was also an opportunity to meet a few of the stumps that created the cedar siding that’s now on the office building in Portland.
So what does the forest around this stump look like? There’s no rutting on the path, no damage to the remaining trees. The only evidence of the harvest is the stump itself, some sawdust, and a crown-sized gap in the canopy. The surrounding forest is comprised of western red cedar, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, bigleaf maple, red alder and a rich understory of berry- and mast-producing shrubs and flowering plants.
The cedar siding came from this forest…
And went onto the side of this building.
Ultimately it’s up to all of us as wood consumers to help tell more variations of the story that begins in our forests and traces a path to our towns and cities.
Many of our FSC certified members can help you create your own stump-to-finished wood product story. Here are a few of their websites where you can learn more about them and their products: