Mark your calendars! The Build Local Alliance now has a recurring event schedule. Our three annual events will be the 4th Wednesday in February, the 4th Saturday in June, and the 4th Wednesday in October. Hope to see you there!

A Carefully Crafted Chest

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nussbaum

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nussbaum

Jonathan Nussbaum of Jonathan A. Nussbaum Furniture Maker  creates incredible, hand crafted furniture from wood sourced and grown locally. Born in Salem, Jonathan grew up with an appreciation for the forests and rivers of Oregon. His family would visit with the Deumling family at nearby Zena Forest. Their model of restoration forestry is a continued inspiration to Jonathan.

After several years in outdoor education, rafting the waters of the southern Oregon, Jonathan decided to pursue his passion as a wood craftsman. While working as a river guide, Jonathan heard many different responses to clear-cuts. Inspired by his time on the river and in places like Zena Forest, Jonathan set out to join the responsibly managed wood supply chain. After apprenticing with German Master Furniture Maker Kai Furhmann he started his own business focused on turning responsibly managed local woods into fine furniture.

One of Jonathan’s recent projects is a chest that features Red Alder and Western Red Cedar.  The project required unusually long lengths of alder in order to make the curved front of the chest from one piece of wood.   Sustainable Northwest Wood’s network of local suppliers connected Jonathan to Red Alder from Wild Thyme Farm near Olympia, Washington, a source he might not have found on his own. This allowed Jonathan to move forward with a project that might not have otherwise been possible.

The chest’s dividers are made from Western Red Cedar, which is known for its aromatic oils. This species has been used for millennia by native people in the Pacific Northwest for canoes and houses. The cedar was sourced through Sustainable Northwest Wood, from a forest restoration project on the Nature Conservancy’s Ellsworth Creek Preserve.

The result is a carefully crafted chest that showcases local wood species and the artistry of a Pacific Northwest craftsman.

BLA Members Involved: Jonathan A. Nussbaum Furniture MakerSustainable Northwest Wood

Wood Species Used: Alder, Western Red Cedar

Project Type: Furniture


A Maple Transformation

BLA members turn beautiful trees into equally beautiful, craftsman pieces. This is especially evident in the work of Jonathan Nussbaum, owner of Jonathan A. Nussbaum Furniture Maker, a BLA member and strong advocate for local, responsibly harvested wood. Jonathan works with many species of wood to create classic fine furniture that highlights the beauty of the wood he uses. One of his recent projects is work on a custom, Big Leaf Maple kitchen.  The wood for this project traveled only 60 miles from the forest to the kitchen! He has also created a walnut and spalted maple media console, as shown below.

BLA Members Involved: Jonathan A. Nussbaum Furniture Maker

Wood Species Used: Big Leaf Maple

Project Type: Cabinetry, Furniture

BLA Members Tackle the Living Building Challenge

Builder James Arnold and his crew at JRA Green Building Construction recently built a custom home for a client in Southwest Portland. But, it was not just any custom home. The client decided to go for the Living Building Challenge. The Challenge is a strict rating system that leaps far beyond LEED in its requirements for non-toxic, locally sourced materials for every component of the building. Wood used in the Challenge must either be reclaimed or FSC® certified, and it must all be sourced from within 200 miles of the job site.

James Arnold, a BLA member, knew who to call. He contacted Sustainable Northwest Wood, BLA member and Portland lumberyard. They were able to get beautiful, 100% FSC® and locally sourced wood from local mills, including Kaster’s Kustom Cutting, a BLA member in Mulino, for every last foot of wood in the building.

The wood was sourced from restorative forestry projects designed to improve overall forest health and help restore old growth conditions. FSC® Western Red Cedar was used for the decking and siding, bringing warmth to the clean, modern lines of the building. FSC® Big Leaf Maple was custom-milled into flooring, trim, and architectural panels for the cabinetry and interior doors. It was also used to build the eye-catching floating staircase, a focal piece in the house, as shown in photos below.

The maple cabinetry in the kitchen is a special product that was made using a veneer log on plywood cores. The maple is from another BLA member, a small custom sawmill, Zena Forest Products, which utilizes a variety of restorative forestry methods.The veneer is from Oregon grown, FSC® certified softwoods. The maple veneer and softwood base are joined beautifully by BLA member Sustainable Northwest Wood.

There are many different hardwood plywoods available on the market, but none used local hardwoods – until Sustainable Northwest Wood started making them recently. This innovative partnership between BLA members provides a beautiful way to showcase our Pacific Northwest hardwoods.

The home was designed by Michelle Jeresek, who was at Departure Design at the time and is now principal at Ivon Street Studio. It also has net zero water and energy. It generates all of its own electricity through its solar panels and Passive House design, and all of its water through an advanced rainwater harvesting system. Way to push the design envelope, BLA members!

BLA Members Involved:  JRA Green Building Construction, Sustainable Northwest Wood,  Zena Forest ProductsKaster’s Kustom Cutting, Ivon Street Studio

Wood Species Used: Western Red Cedar, Big Leaf Maple

Project Type: Flooring, Trim, Cabinetry, Doors

Delivering Hard to Find Certified and Salvaged Wood for Seventeen Years


FSC Certified Western Red Cedar sourced locally from Build Local Alliance members, used to build a beautiful deck in Dexter, Oregon.

FSC Certified Western Red Cedar sourced locally from Build Local Alliance members, used to build a beautiful deck in Dexter, Oregon.

Mike Barnes and Twila Jacobsen own Cascadia Forest Goods LLC, a business built on delivering hard to find FSC, Recycled, and Salvaged wood products, with a focus on flooring, siding and decking. Being involved in the FSC from inception has enabled Cascade Forest Goods to develop relationships with small land owners, mills, and suppliers all over the world. Their longstanding relationships and product samples make sourcing rare wood easy and dependable. 

Mike and Twila source FSC, recycled, and salvaged woods from our bioregion when possible, as well as other regions of the USA, Canada and, Central and South American.

  Available Wood Products:
Local species include: Western Red Cedar, Big Leaf Maple, Madrone, Tan Oak, Doug-Fir, Alder and Redwood.
Exotic salvaged or certified wood includes: Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Tigerwood, Garapa, Cumaru, Jatoba, Manchiche, Pucte and many others.

Mike is currently importing salvaged Alaska Yellow Cedar logs from British Columbia for milling and distribution in Oregon.




Fall 2011 Showcase

Recap: Celebrating the Western Red Cedar

In November, members of the Build Local Alliance enjoyed an evening event at the dazzling offices of ZGF Architects in downtown Portland. Guests learned from METRO’s senior ecologist Lori Hennings about the cedar’s physical properties and historic uses, and from luthier and furniture maker Charles Freeborn’s usage of cedar in making hand-crafted guitars. Guests were also treated to profiles of three recently completed projects that used Western Red Cedar in different ways: an Oregon City retreat designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects, a residential addition with a cedar rain screen by Green Hammer, and a University of Oregon (Eugene) residence hall designed by ZGF.

The BLA thanks ZGF for hosting the event, and Kaster’s Kustom Cutting and Sustainable Northwest Wood for providing food and beverages.


Fall 2013 Event & Tour – Douglas Fir


Thank you to everyone who joined us for the fall event and tour!

Participants learned about Doug Fir from Barbara Bond, Professor Emeritus of Forest Physiology at Oregon State University and were able to see how Pseudotsuga menziesii is being used in local projects from Alan Hart-McArthur, of Versatile Wood Products.

After the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to network with local business professionals, while enjoying food and beverages at the Quimby Lucky Labrador Beer Hall. Thank you to our board chair, Michael Ahr from the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District for being the MC.

Did you know?

  • Doug Fir trees are one of the tallest trees in the world.  A Doug Fir residing in Brummit Creek, Coos County, Oregon is a whopping 327.3 ft (99.76m) tall!
  • Doug Fir’s north-south range in North American is the greatest of any commercial conifer in the West
  • BLA members’ work can be found in Timberline Lodge and Portland City Hall.

On Saturday, November 16th, we toured the First Presbyterian Church, a stunning building featuring a variety of hardwoods, including Doug Fir. Anna Myers, a historian at the church, and Alan Hart-McArthur of Versatile Wood Products shared their knowledge of the building’s past!

See you at the Spring Event, where we will be learning about red alder!

Thank you to our speakers:

  • Barbara Bond, Professor Emeritus of Forest Physiology at Oregon State University
  • Alan  Hart-McArthur, Versatile Wood Products
  • Michael  Ahr, West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Anna  Myers, First Presbyterian Church

And thanks to our Event Sponsors:







Fir Connections for a Historic Kitchen Remodel

This gorgeous kitchen remodel was completed in collaboration between three BLA members. Craftsman Design and Renovation, an award-winning Portland design-and-build firm, designed the kitchen updates. Then, in search of the perfect wood, Craftsman’s design team contacted Sustainable Northwest Wood. Sustainable Northwest Wood is a Portland lumberyard and BLA member, which supplies lumber from small mills in rural Pacific Northwest communities. Everything carried by SNW Wood is grown on forests managed to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or as part of stewardship programs restoring native ecosystems.

The result: a super-selectively harvested FSC® Pure Douglas Fir wood from a Girl Scout camp just 20 miles outside of the city. Fir is a traditional wood used in the Pacific Northwest. Though these trees were relatively young, several had extremely tight growth rings, mimicking old-growth trees. When carefully milled by BLA Member Kevin Kaster, of Kaster’s Kustom Cutting, the fir wood provided a perfect match with the existing flat-sawn trim.

This FSC® certified wood was cut through restorative forestry overseen by BLA member Trout Mountain Forestry. They manage camp properties for several youth development groups including the Girl Scouts and Camp Fire. The forest is managed in a way that promotes forest health through strategic thinning, enabling a diversity of ages and sizes of trees.

BLA Members Involved: Sustainable Northwest Wood, Trout Mountain Forestry, Kaster’s Kustom Cutting

Wood Species Used: Douglas Fir

Project Type: Cabinetry

Photos by Pete Eckert for Craftsman Design and Renovation.

Food & Forests: The Food Front Cooperative Grocery

Food Front Counter, Image Courtesy of Peter Hayes

Food Front Counter, Image Courtesy of Peter Hayes

Food Front Cooperative Grocery recently remodeled their NW Portland store, putting in a new countertop created by Jetwoodshop from wood at Hyla Woods, both BLA members. Longtime supporters of local, responsibly grown food in the Pacific Northwest (and winners of Edible Portland’s 2013 Local Heroes Award), Food Front has expanded this concept to the support of local, responsibly-grown forestry. Food Front was founded in 1972 and now has over 10,000 owner-members.

Nestled in their cornucopia of local produce, seafood, and more, are local cutting boards from nearby Hyla Woods. These cutting boards are made from raw lumber delivered to BLA Member, Trillium Pacific Millwork, whose employees are passionate about operating a triple bottom line business to benefit their customers, employees, communities and environment.  (Hyla Woods cutting boards can also be found at: Portland Audubon, Montinore Winery, and Lloyd Farmers Market.)

It was then only natural that Food Front contacted Peter Hayes of Hyla Woods to replace their countertop. Peter carefully selected beautifully figured, kiln-dried wood that had been harvested from a standing, dead oak tree.  As shown in the process photos below, the wood was shaped and finished by James Thompson of Jetwoodshop. James is also a BLA member and finds that the organization is a wonderful way to combine his wood-crafting vocation and his Nature Conservancy restoration avocation.

“A sign above the counter educates customers about the link to local forests,” notes Peter. Now patrons can eat locally, responsibly sourced food on a locally, responsibly sourced table! Check it out in person. Visit the Food Front Cooperative’s NW Portland location.

BLA Members Involved: Hyla WoodsJetwoodshop, Trillium Pacific Millwork

Wood Species Used: Oregon White Oak

Project Type: Countertop



Local Forest Products Market

WHEN: Saturday, November 22, 2014 9:00am-5:00pm
WHERE: Clackamas County Event Center, 4-H Exhibit Hall 694 NE 4th Avenue, Canby, Oregon

Landowners, craftspeople, and businesses have an opportunity to display and sell locally-produced goods and services to the public. It is a chance to connect with customers, to network with other sources and users of local materials, and to increase your knowledge through forestry education with professionals that will be at the market.

Exhibits and opportunities include:

  • Locally produced construction materials and tools.
  • Products such as lumber, flooring, wood-turning blanks, burls, slabs, figured wood.
  • Finished items from wood grown on local family-owned forest properties.
  • Professional services supporting growth and production of local woodland products – consulting, milling, custom
  • furniture, cabinets, and buildings.
  • Forestry education with forestry professionals
  • Holiday décor and gift ideas

This event is sponsored and hosted by OSU Extension, Clackamas County and the Build Local Alliance. If you would like to be a vendor, you can find registration information here.

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Register now for the BLA 2015 Summer Event!

Interested in how local wood is grown, harvested, and used? Want to connect with other foresters, millwrights, craftsmen, contractors, or architects? Join the Build Local Alliance for our annual summer event! Space is limited, so register now to reserve your spot.

This year we’ll be touring NestWood Forest in Corbett,  learning about building projects in Portland that incorporated local wood, and as always, having the chance to do some good networking.

We’ll meet at SNW Wood (2701 SE 14th Ave, Portland, OR), head out to Corbett for a morning tour of NestWood Forest, then return to Portland after lunch. An Eco-Shuttle is available for the trip to Corbett if you prefer not to drive.

Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Register today!

June 27, 2015 • 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Sustainable Northwest Wood & NestWood Forest • Portland & Corbett, Oregon


Spring 2012 Showcase

Recap: Celebrating the Big Leaf Maple

Thanks to our members, supporters, sponsors, and speakers for joining us at our Spring Showcase at the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall on April 17th. Our Showcase featured the beautiful Big Leaf Maple. Highlights included presentations by Michael Ahr—Forest Conservationist, West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District; Rod Jacobs—Owner and Sawyer, Unique Woods; Robert Wood—Certified Master Builder, Mountainwood Homes; and a maple syrup tasting for all attendees!


Spring 2013 Showcase: Ash & Cottonwood

Thanks to everyone who made it out to our Spring Showcase Event on Wednesday April 17th at 6:30pm at the Lucky Lab Beer Hall! The event was a big success with great presentations on our local species Ash and Cottonwood.

We’d like to especially thank our fantastic line-up of speakers:

  • James Ray Arnold of JRA Green Building
  • Robert Wortman of Heartfelt Woodworks
  • Glenn Ahrens of OSU Forestry Extension
  • Scott Ferguson of Trout Mountain Forestry

In addition BLA members were able to enjoy a free beer during the event thanks to our sponsor Sustainable Northwest! The night concluded with some great discussions and networking time. Thanks to everyone who helped make the event a big success and we hope to see you again for our next BLA event soon!


Spring 2014 Showcase: Alder

P1020795The Build Local Alliance hosted our Spring Showcase at the newly-opened Green Furniture Solutions on Thursday, April 24th.  Many thanks to James Lohman of Green Furniture Solutions for letting us use his beautiful space, which is filled with local wood made into gorgeous tables.

We had an excellent group of speakers. Robert Deal,  a forest researcher at the Pacific Northwest Research Center  spoke to us about the important roles that Red Alder plays in our local ecosystems. Red Alders not only fix a huge amount of carbon in the soil, but also provides habitat for a number of native species including the Pacific-slope Flycatcher and the Winter Wren.   In addition, recent research has shown that planting Red Alder amongst mixed conifer stands increases biodiversity in the forest understory.

Mark Lewis, President of Woodfold, a Forest Grove based company which uses Red Alder for a wide array of projects, also presented.  We learned that Red Alder’s light weight and ease of use for tools make it a great species to use for everything from furniture and cabinets to millwork and doors.  In addition, Amy Jarvis, sustainability engineer at Mazzetti and co-chair of Cascadia’s Portland Chapter spoke about upcoming Cascadia and Living Future Institute opportunities, including the upcoming UnConference 2014.

Attendees had the opportunity to connect with local business professionals including foresters, millwrights, craftsmen, contractors, distributors, builders, designers, architects, homeowners and more.

A Huge Thanks to our sponsors, Green Furniture Solutions, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Goby Walnut Products, Hoffar Woodworks, and Woodway for making this event possible!

image018                 west-multnomah-logo-150     goby_logo_smallWoodway

If you’d like to become an event sponsor for Summer 2014, Fall 2014, or beyond, please get in touch with us at for more information.

Summer 2012 Event

RECAP: Forest Walk, Talk and Learn

Members of the Build Local Alliance, Oregon Small Woodlands Association, and other interested individuals spent a day in the beautiful northern Coast Range learning about how Oregon families are caring for their forests, maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and producing high quality wood products for local markets. The event included:

  • Interactive walking tour featuring forest management, monitoring forest and ecosystem changes, and more
  • Barbecue lunch
  • “Goods From the Woods” display of products that originate from family owned forests
  • Iron Builder competition

Photos from the Iron Builder Challenge are below. Two teams competed to build a piece of furniture with nothing but rough lumber and hand tools in 45 minutes. Check out the results!

Summer 2013 Forest, Mill, and Winery Tour

Thanks to everyone who  joined us for the BLA  summer event!  The group learned about restorative forestry from the Deumling family while taking a forest tour of Zena Family Forest.  To help us follow the wood from forest to product, Ben fired up his mill to demonstrate the crafting of logs into a beautifully made product.

At the winery, we heard from architect and BLA member Corey Omey of Ernest R Munch Architecture & Urban Planning.  Corey spoke about designing the winery’s tasting room using responsibly harvested Oregon White Oak from Zena Family Forest. It was a great opportunity to trace the path of wood from tree to tasting room. The day was filled with sun, sharing, and the sound of networking. We are all looking forward to the fall event. Stay in touch for event information!

We’d like to thank our speakers:

  • Ben, Sarah, and Emily Deumling – Zena Forest Products and Zena Family Forestry
  • Corey Omey – Ernest R Munch Architecture & Urban Planning

And, thanks to our sponsors!

  • Ernest R Munch Architecture & Urban Planning
  • Zena Forest
  • R&H Construction
  • Stoller Family Estate
  • EcoShuttle


Summer Event 2014 – Where to Find Your Local Wood!

P1030300P1030270We had a great first day of summer on June 21st on a local wood tour with AIA’s Committee on the Environment Portland Chapter. We travelled to Hubbard to meet Trillium Pacific Millwork owner Mike Lipke. He and Rodney Wagner showed us around Trillium, where we looked at a variety of local wood pieces from beehives to flooring to wine boxes. We ate a delicious lunch and then headed north to Portland to see a house by builder James Ray Arnold of JRA Green Building and  designer Michelle Jeresek.

This holistically designed home included a great deal of local, responsibly harvested wood, including beautiful cedar from BLA Member Kevin Kaster (Kaster’s Kustom Cutting) and flooring from Sustainable Northwest Wood. We then went to Sustainable Northwest Wood to take a look at their well-stocked warehouse. Over an afternoon snack, we talked about ways to get more local wood into local projects.





Summer Event 6/29: Forest & Mill Tour, Lunch and Wine Tasting!

wine2Join us for a fun day filled with a tour of Zena Forest Products’ sawmill and forest, lunch and a wine tasting and tour at Stoller Family Estate. Trace the path of local wood from the tree to the winery’s tasting room and connect with local business professionals including foresters, millwrights, craftsmen, contractors, distributors, builders, designers, architects, homeowners and more!

Plus no need to drive yourself, ride with us on the free EcoShuttle leaving from Portland!

What: Educational Forest Tour, Mill Tour, Lunch & Wine Tasting

When: Saturday June 29th, 2013 at 9:00am-4:30pm

Where: Zena Forest and Stoller Family Estate.

Tickets: Free (suggested $25 donation for a $45 value!)
RSVP Required: Please register at

Event itinerary and EcoShuttle information will be sent to registrants prior to the event.

Thanks to our Sponsors!

EMA Logo

ZFP_Logo    R&H Logo New

Stoller logo  ecoshuttlelogo536x184


Sustainable Northwest Wood Wins FSC Leadership Award

Congratulations to Sustainable Northwest Wood for winning the Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award.

This award recognizes Sustainable Northwest Wood’s dedication to offering exclusively FSC-certified and reclaimed building materials. Sustainable Northwest Wood sells only products that are harvested and milled in the Pacific Northwest, supporting small mills in rural communities.

The Leadership Award is the first of its kind presented by the Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Northwest Wood was one of eleven recipients nationally.

We’re Hiring a part-time Coordinator!

 Build Local Alliance Coordinator Position: part-time

Are you passionate about sustainable forestry? Do you care about using sustainable, local wood in building projects? Looking for a flexible, fun job working with a group of enthusiastic, diverse and driven individuals? If so, the Build Local Alliance has an exciting opportunity available for a new coordinator.


The Build Local Alliance (BLA) works to improve the vitality of local forests and related human communities by connecting local, responsibly grown and processed wood with local projects. We are a membership organization composed of forest owners and millwrights; retailers and distributors; designers and architects; craftsmen and builders; developers and homeowners; and other individuals who are interested in developing our local wood economy through sustainable forestry. Visit our website to learn more:

Position Description:

The coordinator will play a critical role in driving and expanding the BLA’s reach and impact. The Coordinator works closely with the BLA board, volunteer project committees and strategic partner staff of Sustainable Northwest ( to implement marketing, communication, fundraising, and outreach initiatives as well as execute BLA events. The position is also responsible for primary communication and coordination, including administrative, with members and supporters of the BLA.


Marketing and Communications- 60% of time

  • Work with the Marketing & Communications Committee to implement the marketing and outreach plan to reach new members and raise the visibility of the BLA.
  • Serve as staff to the Marketing and Communications Committee by:
    • Developing agenda items, send out meeting notices, taking notes during meetings, providing updates at meetings
  • Develop and distribute member communications including quarterly newsletter and website content
  • Maintain website content update Zoho Database and Mail Chimp Email Marketing Software as needed.
  • Provide support and act as primary contact person for projects with partners. Past projects have included branding work and website development with a Portland State University class

Events- 15% of time

  • Work with the Events Committee to help plan and coordinate the fall, spring and summer BLA events
  • Coordinate with partner staff on planning and design of events
  • Assist with the set up, implementation and take down of BLA events
  • Coordinate and communicate with speakers and media for event promotion

Fundraising – 5% of time

  • Work with BLA and Sustainable Northwest (fiscal sponsor) to develop grant proposals and major donor appeal letters.
  • Assist in budget development for grants and strategic donor communications.

Administrative- 20% of time

  • Check and respond to emails and general inquiries for the BLA
  • Communicate with new members throughout the application and membership intake process
  • Assist creating and preparing materials for meetings
  • Update and send out annual membership survey

 Skills & Qualifications

The BLA is looking for candidates that have these skills and qualifications:

  • A self-starter, passionate about the use of local, responsibly grown wood and green products and buildings
  • General knowledge about the wood-supply chain, sustainable forestry and green building preferred
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Highly organized with problem-solving skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Comfortable presenting to and meeting with industry professionals
  • Marketing, communications and social media experience
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Suite, Mailchimp, and WordPress
  • Experience planning and executing events
  • Grant writing and individual donor experience
  • Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree with preference for candidates with experience in the wood products and building trades


  • Part-time, 20 hours per week at $15 per hour
  • Schedule is flexible, but some evenings and weekend hours are required for events and committee meetings
  • Work from home or in shared office space
  • Preferred start date in June

Application Instructions:

Please email resume and cover letter to no later than May, 24th. In your cover letter please explain why you are interested in this position and why you are passionate about supporting the use of local, responsibly grown wood in the Pacific Northwest.