Cutting-edge timber products may soon be synonymous with a community in north Snohomish County. The Town of Darrington announced last month plans to develop the Darrington Wood Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art commercial campus that aims to house and attract new wood fiber-based materials and manufacturing companies.
The planned 100-acre Wood Innovation Center campus in northeast Darrington is made possible with a $2 million state grant. The Center will include companies building or manufacturing innovative wood products like cross-laminated timber (CLT), engineered wood, glulam, modular housing and other structures made from mass timber. Darrington and Snohomish County officials say the Wood Innovation Center will bring economic opportunities while tapping into the region’s timber heritage.
Investing in timber industry jobs makes sense, especially in Darrington, town officials said. Hampton Lumber, in addition to the Darrington School District and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, is a major employer within the town. The Center would further cement Darrington’s timber legacy, they noted.
“Darrington has deep roots in the timber industry going back for generations,” said Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin. “Wood has been an integral part of our community and through mass timber will continue to be part of our future. The Darrington Wood Innovation Center will create new, innovative jobs that embody the spirit of our community. By bringing mass timber and CLT production to Darrington, the new Center will continue to make possible a livelihood that allows folks to live, work and play in this incredible place we call home.”
The development addresses the town’s goals of boosting the local economy and bring innovative wood technology jobs to the community. Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, who has championed this project, had the county support Darrington’s endeavors by providing tools and strategic guidance through the grant and permitting phases.
“Snohomish County is known for its innovative spirit,” said Executive Somers. “Our partnership with Darrington, Forterra and the State of Washington will transform how towns utilize natural resources to create jobs for the future. I would like to thank Mayor Rankin for his steadfast leadership in this effort that will benefit our entire region for generations. As we travel our road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to shape our future by pursuing innovative ideas across Snohomish County.”
The Town of Darrington will install the required utility, environmental and road infrastructure on the site. Forterra NW, a Washington-based nonprofit, will help develop the site and manage the construction of the Wood Innovation Center buildings that, in turn, will be leased to the manufacturing companies. Groundbreaking is expected in 2021.