Oregon`s tall wood building industry moves forward despite setbacks > Articles & News
12 November 2019
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Oregon`s tall wood building industry moves forward despite setbacks

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Oregon`s tall wood building industry moves forward despite setbacks

Oregon`s tall wood building industry moves forward despite setbacks
In a small rural town, a quiet plywood factory houses a groundbreaking innovation in construction. Here in the timber town of Lyons, population 1,204, 96-year-old veneer manufacturer Freres Lumber runs the first mass-plywood operation in the world. At the heart of the $35 million plant stands a graceful 22-foot arch, a test piece of the material`s strength and flexibility. It`s made of one-eighth-inch panels stacked three or four thick at right angles, glued by a hydraulic press and cut out by a giant robotic saw. The ultra-strong panels earned a certification in August to bear the weight of buildings.

Three years ago, Oregon`s embattled rural timber industry proclaimed it would rise again atop wooden skyscrapers. Now the dream is turning to reality as regulations lift, factories ramp up production and the nation`s premier mass-timber research arm expands its offerings.

It has not been a smooth ride for the sector. In March, a 1,000-pound cross-laminated timber panel cracked at Peavy Hall, a mass- timber building that houses Oregon State University`s forest sciences department in Corvallis. The event vindicated mass timber skeptics. Engineers traced the accident to the glue in the panel, manufactured by lumber company D.R. Johnson, coming apart, or "delaminating" (CEO Valerie Johnson did not respond to requests for an interview). Meanwhile, developer Project shelved its much-anticipated Framework, a 12-story timber apartment in Portland. The firm cited inflation, mounting construction costs and "market challenges."

October 30, 2018