Merkley, Wyden Announce $500,000 in Build Back Better Regional Challenge Funds for Mass Timber

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden today announced $500,000 in Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds to research and develop further opportunities for mass timber development in Oregon, through the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge program. These funds will be administered by the Port of Portland as part of a regional coalition to expand the mass timber industry.

“I am glad the EDA recognizes the importance of helping develop the mass timber industry in Oregon,” said Merkley. “Mass timber buildings have enormous potential to replace more carbon-intensive traditional construction in the fight against climate change, and to do so while supporting local timber jobs and driving the thinning projects that are so important to forest resiliency and preventing megafires. I look forward to seeing how this investment strengthens the mass timber industry and the economy in Oregon and beyond.”

“Oregon is well-positioned to lead the way in ensuring the mass timber industry fulfills its opportunity in our state and nationwide to produce jobs, greener construction and healthier forests that reduce the risk of devastating wildfires,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the Port of Portland and our state has earned this federal investment as part of the American Rescue Plan I was proud to support.”

The American Rescue Plan allocated $3 billion in funding towards assisting communities nationwide in their efforts to rebuild and strengthen their economies from the coronavirus pandemic and future economic shocks. The “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” is one of many EDA programs established to build and foster strong regional economies and support community-led economic development.

Oregon has long been at the forefront of developing mass timber products, including cross-laminated timber, nail laminated timber, glue laminated timber, laminated strand lumber, and laminated veneer lumber. Merkley has used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to advocate for increased funding to develop the mass timber industry. Merkley also led the charge, joined by Sen. Wyden, to include the Timber Innovation Act in the 2018 farm bill.