SmartLam Hosting Timber Conference in Columbia Falls

Free event will showcase cross-laminated timber’s rising prominence in the U.S.

By Dillon Tabish
An employee checks milled edges on a portable wood road, produced by SmartLam in Columbia Falls. Beacon File Photo

SmartLam, one of the nation’s pioneers in cross-laminated timber manufacturing, is hosting a conference in Columbia Falls on June 28 devoted to the cutting-edge building material.

Casey Malmquist, president and general manager of SmartLam, said the one-day conference will focus on the “CLT movement” and how it is becoming a mainstream engineered wood product used for a variety of building projects.

The Montana Mass Timber Rising Tour and Workshop will be held at Cedar Creek Lodge in Columbia Falls from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The conference is free and will feature a tour of SmartLam’s manufacturing facility from 8:30-10:30 a.m. A free public workshop will take place from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Malmquist said the conference is coinciding with the Western Governors’ Association convention in Whitefish and will help raise awareness about CLT.

After gaining widespread appeal across Europe and Canada as a cutting-edge building material, CLT is making inroads in the U.S., and Montana and Oregon are becoming two of the hubs. Columbia Falls-based SmartLam was the first CLT manufacturer in the U.S. and recently became the first to earn certification to the SFI 2015-2019 Chain-of-Custody Standard, which is an environmental accounting system that tracks forest fiber content through production and manufacturing to the end product. It also positions SmartLam as a supplier in the green-building market through a green rating system.

Last week officials in Oregon approved construction permits for the first all-wood high-rise building in the nation. The 12-story building, called Framework, will break ground this fall and is the latest development showcasing the broad abilities of the 2-by-4 boards.

A panel of Oregon officials will speak at the SmartLam event, including Springfield, Oregon, Mayor Christine Lundberg, Timm Lock, director of forest products at the Oregon Forest Resource Institute, and Iain MacDonald, associate director of the Tallwood Design Institute.

A panel of speakers from Montana will also appear, including Malmquist, Brian Caldwell, principal of Thinktank Design Group, and Chuck Roady, director at F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company.

The event is sponsored by the Forest Business Network, Montana West Economic Development and the University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation, among others.

To register, visit www.eventbrite.com and search Montana Mass Timber Rising Tour.

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