Cross-laminated timber gets kudos in Northwest and D.C.

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It’s been a big month for cross-laminated timber and tall wood buildings. So good in fact that we need numbers to list all the highlights. 1) The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week split its $3 million Tall Wood Building Prize among two high-rise projects (both still to be built) in Portland and New York City. The New York project … Read More

Learning from the Washington wildfire season

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While the wildfires in Washington still burn, wetter and cooler weather has slowed them down and firefighters are finally getting an edge up. This is an appropriate time to assess some of the lessons going forward. One of the most striking things was how shorthanded many of the fire crews were. This was a record wildfire season in Washington, to … Read More

Olympic Peninsula and Wash. DNR address unsold timber

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The recent closure of four mills on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula has some local leaders wondering what they can do to stem the tide. In 2014, Interfor closed two West End mills in Beaver and Forks; and Green Creek Wood Products closed its Port Angeles mill. This summer, Allen Logging closed its lumber mill. Officials in Clallam County say the problem … Read More

Wildfires shed light on lack of state wildfire funding

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As Washington faces one of its worst wildfire seasons ever, including the largest fire in state history, attention is turning back to the wildfire budget requests made earlier this year by Washington Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. Goldmark asked the Legislature for $20 million for forest thinning and other wildfire prevention measures. Lawmakers gave him $10 million. Goldmark asked the … Read More

Washington, Oregon put out call for aid in wildfires

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The wildfire season is busy enough this summer that in both Washington and Oregon, many communities need help to fight the fires. For the first time in state history, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is asking for volunteers to fight wildfires. The state needs volunteers to coordinate at centers in Omak, in north-central Washington, and Colville, in Northeast … Read More

Support continues in D.C. to fix wildfire funding

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We wrote last week about how there seems to be wide support in D.C. to change the way the federal government pays to fight wildfires. Leaders from both parties agree that the U.S. Forest Service should not have to raid its own budget to fight massive wildfires, a practice known as “fire borrowing.” Instead, the Forest Service should be able … Read More

Wildfire funding reform heats up in Congress

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As fires continue to burn in forests around the West, most people seem to agree that we need to change the way the federal government pays to fight wildfires. The Forest Service is now spending most of its budget on firefighting, and that leaves little room for fire prevention, including forest thinning. From a report this week: In a new … Read More

Washington’s raging wildfires are a cause for reform

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Washington state officials recently confirmed what many people suspected: this is the worst drought in the state’s modern history. “We have never experienced a drought like this,”  said Maia Bellon, director of the state Department of Ecology. “It is remarkably worse than the drought of 2005 or 2001… and there is no end in sight.” The Methow Valley News put … Read More

Cross-laminated timber advances in the Northwest

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The cross-laminated timber (CLT) industry in the Pacific Northwest received a couple huge boosts this month. First the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it will help Washington and Oregon become a center for the manufacturing of CLT and its use in the construction of tall wood buildings. While there isn’t any money yet attached to the federal government’s announcement, … Read More

Barred owl killing plan continues but with uncertain results

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While the federal government considers revamping the Northwest Forest Plan and uplisting the spotted owl from threatened to endangered, there was another development recently in the spotted owl saga. Say what you will about the feds’ plan to kill the competing barred owl, but it’s at least an acknowledgement that the real threat to the spotted owl is its larger … Read More