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 New Partnership

melissaday (1)Meaning Architecture, a Portland-based brand strategy and marketing consulting firm, has generously offered pro-bono services to guide the BLA in the development of our brand.

Melissa Day, the owner, is an architect by training and a strategist by trade, what a perfect fit! She will work with the BLA to create a complete branding strategy through April this year.

Meaning_ARchitecturelogo4232b4d0683cMelissa has also enlisted help from Portland State University, where Professor Maureen O’Conner’s creative strategy class will be conducting further research and recommending advertising options. We are thrilled about this opportunity!

Click here to learn more about Melissa Day and Meaning Architecture.

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:







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.

New Strategic Partnership

This summer the Build Local Alliance entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to become “strategic partners” with Sustainable Northwest.

The BLA is excited to partner with Sustainable Northwest, a non-profit in Portland that finds innovative solutions for healthy landscapes and vibrant communities. They have been instrumental in leading the development and promotion of local, responsibly grown wood.

Sustainable Northwest will provide strategic direction, development and communications assistance to help the BLA achieve our goals of connecting local, responsibly grown wood to the urban marketplace.

This partnership also allows individual donations to be tax deductible, so please take the time to support our work and this new combined effort on our website!

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 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.





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.