Cow Creek Umpqua Lumber Lands at Remodeled PDX
Timber harvested from Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal lands will be featured as a part of the newly remodeled Portland International Airport (PDX).
The remodel project, scheduled to initially open in spring of 2024, features high-quality lumber from several more Pacific Northwest Tribes, including Coquille, Skokomish, and Yakama, as well as sustainable foresters from around the region.
ZGF Architects and the operators of PDX, the Port of Portland, began the project in 2019. ZGF sought to make timber a focal point of the remodel, emphasizing to travelers its economic and cultural importance to the region. They also set out to ensure that lumber was sourced from regional mills and forestry operations.
Cow Creek Umpqua lumber will be built into a redesigned marketplace area, where travelers can roam and shop while waiting for flights. The lumber was processed by Umpqua Indian Forest Products in Canyonville, and brought to market with the assistance of Sustainable Northwest, a Portland-based firm that showcases ecologically sourced timber for green construction projects.
The remodeled areas of PDX are expected to open in phases, with the entire project scheduled to be complete by 2025. The highlight of the first phase is the main terminal roof, which is constructed entirely out of wood. Engineers used glulam beams, laminated together for increased strength, to create a massive series of vaulted arches. Yakama Nation’s Yakama Forest Products harvested timber from their Tribal forest lands for the beams.
Lumber from Coquille Indian Tribal lands on the Oregon Coast will make up portions of the roof around several large skylights. Timber harvested by the Skokomish Indian Tribe from their Tribal forest lands in Mason County, Washington, will make up part of the lattice work incorporated into the roof.
The marketplace with Cow Creek Umpqua lumber is expected to be incorporated into a second phase of the remodel, open later in 2024. For more information on the PDX remodel, visit pdxnext.com.
PDX Remodel Partners Tour Cow Creek Umpqua Forest Lands
Both ZGF and Sustainable Northwest toured Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal forest lands over the fall.
Along with two dozen other representatives from construction companies, city and county governments, and firms interested in environmentally responsible building, teams working on the PDX remodel visited to learn about the Cow Creek Umpqua forestry philosophy.
First, the group started at the Milepost 97 Fire, south of Canyonville. There, on a hilltop surrounded by empty mountainsides dotted with only a few charred snags, Cow Creek Umpqua Director of Forestry Tim Vredenburg and Silviculturist Wade Christensen explained how the wildfire started in summer of 2019, burning through lands that had been only recently restored to the Tribal Government by Congress.
Later, the group visited an area near Johnnie Springs Road outside Myrtle Creek, where Tribal foresters are rehabilitating the forest to transform it into an oak savannah, a landscape historically similar to when Cow Creek Umpqua ancestors lived in the area hundreds of years ago. By thinning stands to allow healthy trees to flourish and game to roam, the restoration work also makes the forest more wildfire resilient.
Finally, the group toured Umpqua Indian Forest Products, where Tribal timber is processed into lumber, like the wood going into the PDX remodel. Embracing Indigenous values and not wasting anything the land provides, the mill is also where snags from the Milepost 97 fire went to be turned into wood chips.