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

Ace Hotel Project

The Ace Hotel in downtown Portland is known for its unique design, local flare and commitment to sustainability. Three BLA members can attest to this first hand as their wood is being used to update and enliven the decor in the guest rooms.

The Ace management selected 100% locally harvested, FSC® certified Douglas fir for the project, which was sourced from BLA member Zena Forest Products, just west of Salem. Zena forester Sarah Deumling carefully chose the fir trees to be harvested as part of a program to restore oak habitat, reducing competition from the fir trees and ensuring that the oak could thrive in particular areas of the forest.

Kaster’s Kustom Cutting, a BLA member in Mulino, then milled the logs into lumber. Once dry, this lumber was transported to Sustainable Northwest Wood, the Portland lumberyard and BLA member that partnered with the Ace for its renovations. What a great example of a collaborative effort between BLA members to provide local, responsibility grown wood for the Ace Hotel project!

BLA Members Involved: Sustainable Northwest Wood, Zena Forest Products, Kaster’s Kustom Cutting

Wood Species Used: Douglas Fir

Project Type: Furniture

Beaver Creek Home

Nestled within the mixed conifer forest of Beaver Creek, OR, this new home is built entirely with FSC® Certified framing lumber and locally sourced hardwoods for its interior finishes. The homeowners, founders of an international environmental nonprofit, are deeply committed to responsible forestry and guided the design and build process to ensure their new home reflected these values.

Most of the wood used in this home was sourced through members of the Build Local Alliance. The framing lumber and plywood were harvested from FSC forests in Oregon and Northern California and were purchased through Sustainable Northwest Wood, as was the FSC®  Big Leaf Maple flooring used throughout the home. The Doug Fir trim that frames the interior doors and windows was grown by Hyla Woods and purchased through Sustainable Northwest Wood. BLA member Green Hammer’s urban salvage operation, Urban Timberworks, supplied the one-of-a-kind live-edge countertop for the kitchen.

The extensive use of FSC®  Certified wood products in this home won it an Honorable Mention in the Design & Build with FSC® 2011 competition.

BLA Members Involved: Sustainable Northwest Wood, Hyla Woods, Green Hammer, Urban Timberworks

Wood Species Used: Big Leaf Maple, Douglas Fir, Madrone

Project Type: Trim, Countertop

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 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.

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



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.

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 info@buildlocalalliance.org 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