The mass timber structure of the new Peavy Hall, a feature building of the Oregon Forest Science Complex, has been taking shape since early December 2017 as glulam and cross-laminated timber from DR Johnson Wood Innovations arrives onsite and is erected into place. Some of the first wood elements to be seen onsite were the rocking shear walls that will ensure the building is resilient after seismic events. This is the first appearance of this technology (developed in New Zealand) on a US construction site.

Without question, Oregon has become a first-mover in the US in the field of mass timber construction. DR Johnson of Riddle, Oregon, became the first certified manufacturer of structural cross-laminated timber in the nation in 2015 and Freres Lumber Company in Lyons has followed suit to bring a turnkey $30M facility into operation by December 2017 to produce a new product, the mass plywood panel.

Researchers affiliated with the TallWood Design Institute tested a resilient, full-scale mass timber building constructed with cross-laminated timber (CLT) at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure outdoor shake table facility at UC San Diego in July 2017, collaborating with researchers of the NHERI TallWood Project. 

During the Oregon Mass Timber Summit, industry leaders from around the globe discussed best practices and innovative ideas to advance the mass timber industry in Oregon. Mass Timber presents a new opportunity for Oregon to foster innovation to grow and develop the advanced wood products manufacturing industry, and to reinvigorate the natural resources based economies that once made our rural communities strong.

In February this year I moderated an informative panel discussion during the Holzbau Pacific Northwest conference in Vancouver, BC. Held just a month before the Mass Timber Conference in Portland, Oregon, the smaller Holzbau event was focused squarely on manufacturing-related topics, of interest to those companies currently producing mass timber, as well as industry watchers and potential future manufacturers.