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Making stuff out of wood, burning it get taxpayer grants for ‘innovation’

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(The Center Square) – The U.S. Forest Service is allocating $6,276,170 for 13 projects in Oregon to increase the creation of “innovative wood products, develop more markets for uses of mass timber and renewable wood energy, and increase the capacity of wood processing and manufacturing facilities,” according to a press release from U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.

The taxpayer funding will bolster the state’s wood products industry while aiding in the restoration of healthy forests and curbing wildfire risk, the release said.

“Oregon has the best wood products in the world, and this federal funding helps keep our state at the forefront of timber innovation while supporting our rural communities,” Merkley said. “These projects are a win-win to help get wood products to our mills and help reduce wildfire risk in our forests. I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of these investments for the fast-growing industry that’s deeply rooted in Oregon.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, expressed a similar sentiment.

“These federal investments throughout rural Oregon appropriately recognize that wood products and innovation are both synonymous with our state – and will continue to be for generations to come,” Wyden said in the release. “I’m gratified the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act that I worked to pass are producing such significant and immediate gains to reduce wildfire threats and to increase jobs for Oregonians in rural communities from mass timber and renewable wood energy. This all adds up to a big win that gives Oregon lots to build upon.”

The wood products industry helps the Oregon economy and environment, according to the release. Demand for wood products allows for the removal of small-diameter trees and brush from the forests, mitigating wildfire risk.

The money coming to Oregon is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s USFS Wood Innovations Program grants for public, private, and non-profit sectors. The program has totaled $73.9 million for 171 projects nationwide this year.

Here are the 13 Oregon projects receiving Wood Innovations Program grants, broken down by category:

Wood Innovation Grants

$330,000 for Timberlab, Inc. for its Design for Mass Timber Manufacturing$300,000 for Williams & Russell CDC for its Design for Black Business Hub Mass Timber Building$300,000 for Community Development Partners for its Julia West Mass Timber Building Engineering and Design$300,000 for Elk Creek Forest Products for its Resaw Equipment Installation Project$300,000 for Go Lab, Inc. for its Planning to Support Increasing Wood Products Manufacturing Capacity in Southern Oregon$299,164 for Oregon State University for its Bringing Point-Supported Mass Timber Structures to Commercial Viability in the USA$125,000 for Jennifer Bonner MALL, LLC for Blank House: A Model for Aspect Ratios in Seismic Zones$50,699 for Brocks Wood Lot, LLC for its Brocks Wood Lot LLC Sawmill Expansion – Phase 1

Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant

$981,651 for Iron Triangle LLC for its Iron Triangle Biomass Utilization Efficiency Improvement Project$900,000 for Gilchrist Forest Products, LLC for its Gilchrist Forest Products Chip Reloader Expansion$389,656 for Brocks Wood Lot LLC for its Community Firewood Program Wood Waste Kiln System Installation

Community Wood Grant

$1 million for CutMyTimber for Expansion of Mass Timber Fabrication Capacity$1 million for Timberlab, Inc. for its Timberlab Mass Timber Fabrication Expansion

The funding for these USFS Wood Innovations Program grants comes from three sources: the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and annual appropriations.

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