WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Oregon’s Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, have joined Senate and House colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Timber Innovation Act, which aims to find new and innovative uses for wood as building material.
“Oregon’s rural economy depends upon innovative thinking around the challenges and opportunities facing our timber mills and manufacturing businesses,” Senator Jeff Merkley said. “Oregon has a powerful opportunity to be a leader in cross-laminated timber and mass plywood panels. This legislation supports our rural economy, while also promoting lower-carbon, more sustainable tall wood building construction in urban Oregon.”
“This bill represents the can-do Oregon way by focusing on creative solutions that can generate jobs throughout our state in timber, manufacturing and construction,” Senator Ron Wyden said. “Oregonians should be justifiably proud of pioneering the path toward a more sustainable future that includes the use of wood in building materials.”
“Harnessing the potential of timber is a win-win-win for Oregonians,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said. “Our first-class research institutions and scientists are leading the way toward a greener and more robust economy. Rural communities have the opportunity to generate more jobs and value from their natural resources. And Oregonians benefit from low-carbon, more sustainable construction materials that create beautiful buildings. I am proud to champion innovative timber products and will continue to look for ways to grow this exciting new industry.”
“I’m proud Oregon has led the charge in the research, development and production of advanced wood products,” Congressman Peter DeFazio said. “Investment in innovation in our region’s timber industry will create high-paying jobs for Oregonians both today and for generations to come.”
“The timber industry creates good paying jobs for more than one million people across the country,” Congressman Kurt Schrader said. “Oregon’s rural communities are uniquely positioned to benefit from innovation in the sustainable and green building sector. This bill will help promote and advance research in wood products to revolutionize the building industry which in turn will help our timber communities not simply sustain, but grow.”
Recent developments in wood products engineering have made wood a viable material for larger construction projects.
The bicameral, bipartisan Timber Innovation Act would accelerate the research and development of wood for use in construction projects, focusing on the construction of buildings over 85 feet in height. It would incentivize investment through the National Forest Products Lab and American universities to conduct research and development on new methods for the construction of wood buildings.
Oregon is a trailblazer in innovative use of wood: DR Johnson Lumber Co. in Riddle, Ore., is the first manufacturer in the country certified to produce cross-laminated timber panels for tall wood building construction. Freres Lumber Co. in Lyons, Ore., has created a mass plywood panel — a large, veneer-based finished wood panel for tall wood building construction. And Oregon State University’s National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design is at the cutting edge of research and development, promoting sustainable timber-based manufacturing and expanding the market for mass timber.
The bill would also support ongoing efforts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to further encourage the use of wood products as a building material for tall buildings.
In addition to support from Senate and House Democrats and Republicans, the bill is supported by Weyerhaeuser, National Wildlife Federation, the American Wood Council, and more than 100 other stakeholders.