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!

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 2012 Showcase: Sitka Spruce

Recap: Celebrating Sitka Spruce

Thanks to everyone who was able to join our Fall 2012 Showcase Event at the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall on December 4th for making it a huge success. Our event featured the local species Sitka Spruce. Highlights included presentations from Liane Davis, a Forest Ecologist at The Nature Conservancy, who spoke about the ecology of Sitka Spruce and Sam Johnson, the Executive Director of Columbia River Maritime Museum, sharing his wisdom about boat building. Then the audience was treated to a recent, unique building project that incorporated Sitka Spruce by Gant Enderle from B&G Builders. The event wrapped up with Patrick Shannon from Sustainable Northwest, sharing some exciting updates about the BLA, including their new strategic partnership with Sustainable Northwest and the BLA’s new website. Lastly attendees had opportunity to connect and network at the event.

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:







Hyla Woods “Cohoho Rendezvous” Event

Peter Hayes, co-chair of the Build Local Alliance Board of Directors, hosted the annual “Cohoho Rendezvous” at Hyla Woods on December 8th, 2012. Hyla Woods is a family-owned business that operates three FSC-certified forests in the northern Oregon Coast Range. Hyla Woods uses sustainable forestry practices and also sells local wood, which is milled in the forest and dried in a solar dry kiln.

The Cohoho Rendezvous drew a crowd of excited individuals and families that got to explore the forest, watch for migrating coho salmon and try cross cut sawing. After venturing around the forest, participants were able to warm up by the fire pit with a delicious lunch, including some homemade veggie chili from Pam Hayes. Unfortunately, for the first time since this annual tradition started, no coho salmon could be spotted in the Nehalem River, which runs through Hyla Woods. Michele Long from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, provided some insight into why this may be happening. She said, “both hatchery and wild returning adult coho numbers are very low, throughout the basin. Numbers have also been low in other rivers, so this would point to a likely issue with ocean survival.”

The decreasing number of salmon is a strong reminder of the importance of maintaining intact, healthy working forests to maintain good habitat while still providing forest products. The Hayes’ management of Hyla Woods is an excellent example of creating multiple benefits from sustainable forest management. Overall the event was a success, as new faces were able to learn about sustainably forest management and even pick up some old-fashion cross-sawing techniques.


WOOD SPECIES USED: Hyla Woods forest tour included many native species including Doug Fir and Big Leaf Maple.

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.

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.