We had a charming presentation from Glen Andresen for the March Speaker Series. Glen never fails to engage and entertain us while sharing his garden successes and failures. After the break Mike Bondi (Regional Administrator- OSU Extension Service & Research Center Director) gave our chapter a brief overview of the innovative plans for the proposed Clackamas County Extension Education Center. 

clackamas county extension building proposal rendering

clackamas county extension building proposal rendering

This Net Zero facility will be the first of its kind in Clackamas County and will provide much needed spaces for the entire metro-area Master Gardener program. The all wood, Mass Timber construction will allow for a reduced carbon footprint, which has recently become a high priority for newly constructed public buildings.  Two interesting Mass Timber (large, solid wood panel) products will be used for this building, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), which was first manufactured by D.R Johnson in Riddle Oregon and Mass Plywood, which is exclusively manufactured by Freres Lumber Company in Mill City, OR.

Mass Timber products have been manufactured and utilized in multistory buildings for 30 years in Europe, but the technology has only come to the U.S. in recent years. They are a more renewable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuel intensive building materials as they allow for a more efficient construction process. 

Mike also shared a story about the plan to repurpose donated wood harvested from a heritage elm tree that was removed from a nearby property. The wood has been planed and is now curing and will hopefully be used for countertops, cabinetry, wainscoting and benches as well as wall plaques, cutting boards, gifts and commemorative items. 

The Extension Education Center will be a great example of real sustainable development and energy efficiency. This project will be an important improvement in OSU’s ability to support all of our Extension programs—including the Metro Master Gardener program.  Having a meeting/training room that can accommodate 150 attendees, an outdoor education pavilion, a teaching greenhouse, landscape and show gardens, plus a natural wetland site and interpretive area, will make this facility a great resource for our Community and Urban Horticulture programs in the Metro area and home for the program’s staff.

This project is in the very early stages, so ground breaking plans are still undetermined. Hopefully work will begin in the Fall of 2019. It will be exciting to watch this building come into fruition.  Head on over to this website for news and progress updates on this ambitious project!