Federal officials see Oregon can unite through rural-urban partnerships

Posted by Renee Magyar on June 29, 2015

We were honored to be tour stop number one for Senator Merkley and USDA Rural Development.

Ryan Temple, President of Sustainable Northwest Wood explains how small mills are a benefit to Oregon.

We were honored to host Senator Jeff Merkley, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, Lisa Mensah, and USDA Rural Development Oregon State Director, Vicki Walker at Sustainable Northwest Wood as they visited Rural Development’s community and economic development projects.

The day kicked off in this morning at the Sustainable Northwest Wood lumberyard, where participants saw how strong rural-urban partnerships are the key to a thriving green building supply chain, where sustainable wood products suppliers in Oregon provide wood to urban markets.   

Western Juniper was featured on a tour of the lumberyard as an example of how a dual approach to economic development with responsible ecosystem management can be profitable. Western Juniper is a native tree that is behaving like an invasive species, lowering the water table, and transforming grasslands into desert. Careful removal will improve grazing conditions, increase water supplies, decrease wildfire risks, and restore habitat for sensitive species like sage-grouse and mule deer. Utilization of the tree has tremendous potential to create jobs in milling, transportation, and processing.

Senator Merkley shared his support for boosting small Oregon wood products businesses that practice sustainable land stewardship, “Much of our state continues to struggle with the problems that Western Juniper creates on the ecosystem and the economy of central and eastern Oregon. But what’s happening here at Sustainable Northwest is great news for rural Oregon, and it’s good for the health of our forests and rangelands.”

Under Secretary Mensah and State Director Walker also expressed that they are pleased to see that a segment of Oregon's timber industry can operate in a sustainable way and support rural and urban economies.  

"Sustainable Northwest is dedicated to uniting rural and urban Oregon by facilitating sustainable forest management, new rural businesses, and associated urban distribution facilities like Sustainable Northwest Wood” said Tom Tuchmann, Sustainable Northwest’s Interim President.  “We would like to thank Senator Merkley, Under Secretary Mensah, and State Director Walker for their hard work and support for our efforts.” 

Sustainable Northwest Wood stocks Western Juniper fencing, decking, landscape timbers, and other specialty products. 

Click here for the news release on this event.