Homeowners Phil and Rocio spent some time moving about the US, landing in the bay area for about a decade, but always with a plan to return to their farm in Oregon. Recently retired, they headed back to Oregon, returning to the eight acres they had rented out for 15 years, planning to build a “small but perfect home”. The couple had always been enthralled with the beauty of wood which lead them to timber framing with our sister company New Energy Works and an abundance of our reclaimed and sustainable wood. Phil kindly gave us some insight into the wood in their NEW Jewel of a home:
How did this all begin for you and Rocio? Well, we knew we wanted a modest but highly-detailed home to spend our retirement in. We’d been renting out the land for 15 years…it was a major task to re-conquer the wilderness and visualize a new home on-site. Jonathan and David [of New Energy Works/Pioneer Millworks] visited early on and saw the raw material we had to work with. They were able to see the possibilities with us.
Big timbers, clean wood, rugged wood—all local! Three iconic buildings in Portland, Oregon have reached the end of their lifecycle and we’re bringing you the salvaged timbers, boards, and more:
After nearly 100 years in business, Fishels Furniture, known best for patio furniture, closed its doors in 2016 as owner Larry Talbott sought a new chapter in life having spent 40 years owning/running the business. Photo: Lynch Sales Co.
The old Fishels Furniture building on Martin Luther King Blvd. at Burnside bridge has yielded Douglas fir timbers fit to go back into use as they are or to be re-sawn into crisp board stock with unlimited uses. In more good news: some of the wood reclaimed from the building is going back into the new construction that’s happening there.
Reclaimed Douglas fir timbers from the Mersman Table Factory found new life in a Portland, OR home. Photo by Loren Nelson.
Douglas fir timbers reclaimed from Centennial Mills.
We’re salvaging 400,000 board feet of timbers and planks during the selective deconstruction of Centennial Mills in Portland, Oregon. Deconstruction of five warehouses and several old grain elevators, deemed beyond repair and unsafe, began in September 2015 and is expected to be complete by June 2016. To date, seven tractor-trailer loads of Douglas fir timbers and cribbing planks have been transported to our McMinnville, Oregon yard.
“Ideally, we’ll be working to get as much of the reclaimed material back into the Portland market as possible,” said Jonathan our president and founder. We’ll have samples on hand in our design studio in Portland, OR.
Dismantling one of the grain elevators at the mill.
“Some of the wood can be re-used as heavy timber and beams, while some will be re-milled for use as paneling or flooring,” continued Jonathan. (You can read more on the history of the mill on our Unearth the Story page.)
Centennial Mills, Portland OR
The Centennial Mills site is owned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and lies within Portland’s River District urban renewal area. “Working with Pioneer Millworks enabled us to streamline the salvage process, ensure the repurposing of as much material as possible, and return funds to the project budget,” said PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton. “We view this as a very successful partnership and look forward to hearing about how and where Centennial Mills materials live on throughout the Northwest.”
Originally we hoped to salvage about 800,000 board feet of timber from the Centennial Mills site. However, due to rot and the difficult cost benefits of saving all the smaller pieces, that number has been reduced. We continue to work towards salvaging more of the wood, but politics make things sticky. The salvaged wood is of an exceptional grain quality and we’re excited to share it with our customers.
First stages of removal of a grain elevator at Centennial Mills.
After passing an emergency declaration in December 2014 relating to the condition of Centennial Mills, the PDC enlisted Tigard, OR-based Northwest Demolition & Dismantling for the selective demolition and salvage of the property. Demolition of Warehouses A, B, C, D, and F as well as Elevators A, B, and C began the first week of October 2015 and is scheduled to conclude in June 2016. The subsequent phase is slated to begin in July 2016.
If you’re interested in helping keep some of this historic wood in Portland, or if you have a great project that will give it new life, let us know. We’d be happy to provide samples.