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Photo Credit: EMILY DAWSON OF SRG PARTNERSHIP IN PORTLAND - Architect's rendering of a new visitor's center at the Oregon Zoo. The large slab on the roof is cross-laminated timber.Oregon BEST awarded a $150,000 commercialization grant to DR Johnson Lumber Co., which is working with Oregon State University researchers to create the state’s first cross-laminated timber plant near Riddle in Southern Oregon.


Cross-laminated timber or CLT is an engineered wood made up of 2-by-6’s glued together in large sheets that are then layered to form what is akin to a giant slab of plywood. CLT has been used in place of concrete and steel in buildings of 10 to 11 stories, and architects and engineers say it can enable wood high-rises as tall as 40 stories.

The Oregon Zoo plans to use CLT on a pending visitor’s facility/restroom building, which would be the first use of the product in the state.

Use of CLT in commercial buildings could lower the carbon footprint, as wood sequesters carbon and requires less energy than steel and concrete.

The funding will enable Riddle Laminators, a DR Johnson entity, to collaborate with a research team of OSU faculty and students, led by professor Lech Muszynski from OSU’s Department of Wood Science and Engineering, to construct a pilot manufacturing line for CLT and test the product produced at the plant.

"Currently, in the U.S, it's kind of a chicken-and-egg situation with CLT," says Valerie Johnson, President of DR Johnson. "There is significant and rapidly growing interest in using CLT, but the cost to import panels from Canada or Europe for construction is not cost competitive."

Oregon BEST is a collaboration among the private and university sectors that aims to stimulate Oregon’s clean tech industry. "Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity here in Oregon to be the national leader in CLT production and innovation," says Ken Vaughn, director of commercialization programs at Oregon BEST. "This catalytic commercialization funding will help this Oregon lumber company speed initial production, testing and the establishment of standards that could potentially position Oregon as the U.S. hub for CLT manufacturing."

For a recent Sustainable Life article on CLT, check portlandtribune.com/sl/236932-100237-erecting-40-story-highrises-out-of-wood

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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