Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden recently announced that the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition will receive over $41 million from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) as one of 21 American Rescue Plan Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) winners.
Oregon Mass Timber Coalition, led by the Port of Portland, will use the funding to implement projects across the state to expand the regional mass timber industry cluster, which creates engineered high-value building materials from wood. Mass timber has the potential to substantially reduce carbon pollution compared to concrete and steel and is seismically resilient and fire resistant.
The coalition is planning projects to research, prototype, and commercialize prefabricated mass timber housing systems. The proposed projects are primarily focused on creating a manufacturing facility, workforce education and training, and building facilities that support research and development. Together, these efforts will create good jobs and economic growth while addressing the shortage of affordable housing.
“Mass timber is an exciting innovation with huge untapped potential. Accelerating affordable housing production, providing good jobs, sequestering carbon, and restoring forest health will provide immense benefits for Oregonians as we seek to construct more energy efficient buildings for the future using all tools available to us,” said Merkley. “I’m glad to see the federal government step up to support this quintessential Oregon project, bringing together a broad group of partners to address multiple challenges at once with an innovative solution that will support jobs in our woods, our timber mills, and our cities alike.”
“This federal investment shows how Oregon continues leading the way in modernizing wood products, generating jobs and economic opportunities in communities statewide,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified that the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition has earned these resources from the American Rescue Plan for fresh approaches to our state’s signature timber industry. And I’ll keep fighting for similar investments in Oregon to support these valuable new sources for jobs, affordable housing and building materials.”
These awards are intended to assist the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition in using mass timber to accelerate affordable housing production, provide good jobs, and restore forest health. The projects funded as part of this award include working with forest-dependent rural communities to grow access to wood fiber, facilitate a wood-based products workforce development program, provide resources to university R&D programs conducting design and prototyping of new construction materials, and assist state agencies in creating a favorable regulatory framework to accommodate modular mass timber homes in rural and wildlife-impacted communities.
The BBBRC is an unprecedented competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation – to drive inclusive economic growth.
For a full list of BBBRC winners, click here.
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