Florence sits at the mouth of the Siuslaw River, which serves the entire region’s timber industry. Oregon’s timber industry is globally competitive, delivering some of the finest Douglas Fir lumber in the world. As demand for and regulation of timber industries across the Northern Hemisphere create new pressures, timber regions are reinventing their economies, finding new ways to maximize on value added wood products. One such product making its debut in the United States in cross-laminated timber (CLT), which has been used in Europe, Australia and Canada now for a couple decades.
CLT is an engineered panel made from hundreds of boards that are compressed in three to seven layers and then glued together with a type of resin. These panels can be milled to a specific size and are strong enough to replace steel and concrete construction in tall buildings, representing an entirely new product for the U.S. market.
Oregon is setting the stage to become a US leader in the CLT industry. Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, has recently committed to building the new Center of Excellence for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design in cooperation with the OSU College of Forestry, OSU College of Engineering and the University of Oregon College of Architecture and Allied Arts. The Center will provide the industry a highly trained workforce, expertise to test new products and manufacturing technologies and strategic workforce education programs. Florence benefits from the proximity of this innovative higher-education resource that ties back to the legacy timber industry surrounding the community.