UO partners with OSU on new center for sustainable wood products

Judith Sheine, professor and department head of the UO architecture program, recently provided testimony to the Oregon Legislature in support of a Senate bill that would appropriate lottery funds to the operation and research budget of the National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design.

The new center is a collaboration between the UO and Oregon State University and will feature the schools’ leading architecture, wood science and engineering programs to focus on development of innovative sustainable wood products and building components capable of being produced in Oregon.

“Through the center, we will actively partner with Oregon building design professionals and wood products manufacturers to drive innovation and testing for engineered wood materials, allowing Oregon to compete in emerging domestic and global markets and establish our state as the North American hub for research and innovation on use of wood materials in building design,” Sheine said in her testimony.

The center will be housed in the forest science complex in Corvallis and administered by OSU’s College of Forestry. Several UO faculty members and students will share the space and conduct joint research and education projects.

“The University of Oregon … will continue to be an enthusiastic and equal partner with OSU in the vision, formation, direction and operation of the center,” Sheine wrote. “We have a unique opportunity to link the expertise of wood science, architecture and engineering to address the entire building supply chain connecting research, manufacturing, design, and engineering and construction.”

The formation of the center comes at a time of resurgence of manufacturing in the United States. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown recently signed a bill creating the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership Advisory Committee that will support an effort by several counties and states to increase manufacturing and grow middle-class jobs.

“Our collective faculty expertise, along with Oregon’s timber industry and building design professionals, will work collaboratively to drive new innovations that can increase the value of Oregon’s natural resources while growing jobs in rural communities with benefits across the entire state,” wrote interim UO President Scott Coltrane and OSU President Ed Ray in a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce. “Oregon is at the forefront of manufacturing productivity in the country, and our universities are committed to strengthening the state’s innovation mindset to growing Oregon’s economy.”

—By Heidi Hiaasen, Public Affairs Communications