Merkley, Wyden announce over $41 Million to strengthen Oregon’s Mass Timber Industry

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden recently
announced that the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition will receive over $41 million
from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) as one of 21
American Rescue Plan Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) winners.

Oregon Mass Timber Coalition, led by the Port of Portland, will use the funding to implement
projects across the state to expand the regional mass timber industry cluster, which
creates engineered high-value building materials from wood. Mass timber has the
potential to substantially reduce carbon pollution compared to concrete and
steel and is seismically resilient and fire resistant.

The coalition is planning projects to research, prototype,
and commercialize prefabricated mass timber housing systems. The proposed
projects are primarily focused on creating a manufacturing facility, workforce
education and training, and building facilities that support research and
development. Together, these efforts will create good jobs and economic growth
while addressing the shortage of affordable housing.

?”Mass timber is an exciting innovation with huge
untapped potential. Accelerating affordable housing production, providing good
jobs, sequestering carbon, and restoring forest health will provide immense
benefits for Oregonians as we seek to construct more energy efficient buildings
for the future using all tools available to us,” said Merkley. “I’m
glad to see the federal government step up to support this quintessential
Oregon project, bringing together a broad group of partners to address multiple
challenges at once with an innovative solution that will support jobs in our
woods, our timber mills, and our cities alike.”

“This federal investment shows how Oregon continues
leading the way in modernizing wood products, generating jobs and economic
opportunities in communities statewide,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified
that the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition has earned these resources from the American
Rescue Plan for fresh approaches to our state’s signature timber industry. And
I’ll keep fighting for similar investments in Oregon to support these valuable
new sources for jobs, affordable housing and building materials.”

These awards are intended to assist the Oregon Mass Timber
Coalition in using mass timber to accelerate affordable housing production,
provide good jobs, and restore forest health. The projects funded as part of
this award include working with forest-dependent rural communities to grow
access to wood fiber, facilitate a wood-based products workforce development
program, provide resources to university R&D programs conducting design and
prototyping of new construction materials, and assist state agencies in
creating a favorable regulatory framework to accommodate modular mass timber
homes in rural and wildlife-impacted communities.

The BBBRC is an unprecedented competitive federal grant
program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to
tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support,
workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation– to drive inclusive
economic growth.

For a full list of BBBRC winners, click HERE.