Mass Timber in the News

Mass timber is in the news all over the Willamette Valley (and fairly old news in Europe) so we OSWA members scheduled a tour on March 8, 2018. Mass timber structures, such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) push beyond wood’s perceived boundaries, achieving building heights and spans that would have once required a concrete or steel structural frame. Originally conceived in Europe using spruce, OSU researchers showed that the use of douglas fir and other refinements can significantly enhance CLT, and the new Peavy Hall is a demonstration of this revolutionary building technology. The CLT panels were manufactured at D.R. Johnson in Riddle and the mass plywood panels were made at Freres Lumber in Lyons.

CLT consists of layers of dimension lumber (typically three, five, or seven) oriented at right angles to one another and then glued to form structural panels with exceptional trength, dimensional stability, and rigidity. Panels are particularly cost effective for multistory and large building applications up to 12 floors. Some designers view CLT as both a stand- alone system and a product that can be used together with other wood products, such as mass plywood panels. CLT and mass plywood offer two-way span capabilities, making them well-suited to floors, walls, and roofs, and may be left exposed on the interior for aesthetics. The composite action between CLT and concrete provides extreme stiffness and minimal deflection which, along with an insulation layer between the materials, provided good acoustic separation between floors. (Update: one panel delaminated at the joint but has since been replaced. All panels made at the same time are being tested in place using radar.)

Recent advances in CLT panel connectors allow controlled structural flexing during extreme seismic and wind loads, and were recently shake-table tested over 9.2 Richter scale.

OSWA group and guests


Benton County Supports Red-Legged Frogs

Marsha Carr and two of her granddaughters, Benton County members, are making an effort to support red-legged frogs.

Red-legged frogs are on the endangered list in California. First the girls drained the pond with some direction from ODFW.oswa-benton-carr-2

Brian Bangs, shown here, from the Finley Wildlife Refuge showed Kayla Carr what to plant and where. oswa-benton-carr-3

Natalie Unrein (also shown here) and Kayla Carr are becoming great future stewards of the land.oswa-benton-carr-1

Lane County Small Woodlands Association’s Annual Meeting

January 2018
Lane County Small Woodlands Association’s Annual Meeting

Join us for an evening of fun and information at Eugene Elks Club, West 11th Avenue

Date: Thursday, 18 January 2018
Address: 2470 West 11th, Eugene, OR 97402


  • 5:30 pm- Social
  • 6:30 pm- Dinner
  • 7:00 pm – Meeting
  • 8:30 pm – Adjourn

Dinner will be $ 15 per person

Please RSVP to:
Dick Beers by January 15th
541.687.1854 – 541.729.251 (cell) or

Other Questions:
Mike Atkinson 541-344-4991 or e-mail:

This is a great opportunity to invite neighbors and friends to experience the benefits of being a LCSWA member. Please feel comfortable bringing a guest, especially anyone who might be interested in becoming a future member. This is an opportunity for a pleasant evening dining out, visiting with
neighbors and getting updated on LCSWA’s current and future activities.

LCSWA’s guest speakers will be Rick Dancer. Rick will provide us a perspective on how to communicate with the public. Jim James, OSWA Executive Director will update us on OSWA’s status and current activities. Gordon Culbertson will provide us insight into current log markets and what to expect this coming year.

Our meeting closes with LCSWA annual raffle of donated items.

LCSWA will have three board seats up for election and should you have any interest in serving on the board, put your name up for nomination during the meeting.

LCSWA would also like to remind all that we will be having the chapter’s annual seedling sale Saturday February 3, 2018 at Eugene’s Alton Baker Park. It will begin at 8am and continue until sold out. Plan on dropping by to support this annual fundraising event.

Your Board looks forward to receiving your feedback on activities, both past and future.

See You There!

2017 OSWA Annual Meeting, Workshop & Luncheon


Connecting families and the tree farm

Time: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Place: The Rediscovery Forest in the Oregon Garden
Focus: Families are invited to participate in three 30-minute concurrent sessions in the Rediscovery Forest.

1. How to determine density management with Mike Cloughesy, OFRI, and Stephen Fitzgerald, OSU Extension
2. Being successful with reforestation with Glenn Ahrens, OSU Extension
3. Managing ponderosa pine with Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine

Conservation Association Connecting families and forest fun

Time: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Place: The Discovery Pavilion
Focus: Forest discovery station for young family members. Hands-on funand learning with Rikki Heath, OFRI
Families are also welcome to tour The Oregon Garden on their own or ride the tram before or after the luncheon! Admission is included in registration.


New this year! Inspector annual meeting and workshop. Inspectors that attend workshop do not have to pay for luncheon. Hosted by Tamara Cushing, OSU; Lauren Grand, OSU; and Mike and Connie Atkinson, OTFS inspection coordinators.
Time: 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Place: Oregon Garden Resort
Focus: We will explore the wealth of information from the national woodland owner survey and discuss approaches for engaging more family forest owners in a meaningful conversation about their woods.
Also, updates on certification requirements.



Time: 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (lunch)
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 (awards)
Place: Oregon Garden Resort
The sessions will be followed by a brief Oregon Tree Farm System business meeting and then a lunch (pricing on back) honoring the
County Tree Farmers of the Year. The high point of the day will be
a video featuring all the County Tree Farmers of the Year and the
announcement of the Inspector of the Year and the Oregon Tree
Farmer of the Year for 2017.


Oregon Tree Farm System, Inc
Oregon Small Woodlands Association
U.S. Forest Service
Oregon Department of Forestry
Oregon Forest Resources Institute
OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
For more information, contact Jim James at 503-588-1813 or

Download the complete OTFS Annual Meeting Flyer and Registration flyer here.

Send your completed registration, along with fees, to the address on the back.

Oregon’s DeFrees Family Selected National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year

From left to right, Jess, Nathan, & Sloan Defrees; Dean & Sharon Defrees; Lyle Defrees; Tyler Defrees with wife Max Patashnik; and Dallas & Riley Hall
From left to right, Jess, Nathan, & Sloan Defrees; Dean & Sharon Defrees; Lyle Defrees; Tyler Defrees with wife Max Patashnik; and Dallas & Riley Hall

Thirty years after a fire razed 500 acres of forestland at Defrees Ranch, Dean Defrees still remembers the harrowing ordeal with all five of his senses. “It was extremely smoky, it was hot, and you can feel the fire,” Defrees says. “My dad did suffer a burn on his arm as he was putting in a dozer line. When the fire starts to crown, which means it’s running through the treetops, it can be extremely impressive, with flames probably 150 feet in the air. It also makes a tremendous amount of noise. It kind of sounds like a train – just a big, rumbling noise.” Ever since then, the Defrees family has done all they can to minimize the risk of a devastating fire at their 2,000 acre tree farm in Sumpter Valley, about 25 miles from Baker City in the northeastern corner of Oregon.

Each year, the Defrees family removes smaller trees, brush and debris from about 30 of the farm’s 1,227 forested acres and maintains fire lines throughout their property. With financial support from the National Resources Conservation Service, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the family also installed a series of 1,400 gallon water troughs and a 2,500 gallon cistern storage tank to ensure that in this dry, wildfire prone region, water is readily available. “Those troughs also benefit the wildlife as well,” Defrees says. “The benefits are threefold: They provide water for wildlife, firefighting and livestock.”

1400 gallon water trough for fire engine tenders,  wildlife, and livestock
1400 gallon water trough for fire engine tenders,
wildlife, and livestock

The family keeps their creek and stream banks well planted to prevent erosion and preserve water quality, and they built water bars on their logging roads. The diagonal channels across the sloped roads divert surface water, which would otherwise flow down the length of the road, to the sides of the road, preventing road degradation and helping to keep silt and debris out of nearby streams.

That commitment to responsible land management earned them recognition from the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), which named the Defrees family its 2016 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. The Defrees family and the ATFS’s regional outstanding tree farmers of the year were honored at a reception on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on Dec. 6 that celebrated the ATFS’s 75th anniversary.
“We’re really honored and can’t believe that out of the 74,000 tree farmers across the nation, we won this award,” Dean Defrees says. “It’s really something. We’re still trying to digest that fact, and it’s been really exciting for the whole family.”

The Defrees family has owned their land since 1904, and Dean Defrees is the fourth generation of his family to call it home. His grandparents raised chickens, sheep and dairy cows, and in the 1970s, the family entered the timber business, harvesting some of the ponderosa pines that dominate the forestland.

Dean, 57, and his wife, Sharon, live on the farm with Dean’s father, Lyle, 83. Dean and his wife have three children: Nathan, a medical doctor in Boise, Idaho, who plans to move back to Baker City in 2017; Tyler, an attorney in Seattle; and Dallas, who lives in Baker City and is pursuing her master’s degree in grazeland ecology at Oregon State University.
Dean and his wife live in a house built by his grandparents, and Lyle lives in a house built by his brother. For Lyle, the thought of leaving the farm never had much appeal.

defrees-3“I live about a third of a mile from where I was born,” he says. “I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I’ve never found a place I like better. My heart is here.” Dean, who earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science at Oregon State, says he feels the same way.
“When I left for college, I kept my options open, but when graduation rolled around, I felt that this is where I wanted to be” he says. “My wife, who I married right after college, loved the place right after she saw it and was willing to live here with me, so that’s what we did. The land means a great deal to all of us, and I guess that’s why we spend so much time with it. It’s been in the family for so long, and we want to keep it healthy and sustainable for the next generations.”

Timber harvesting accounts for about 40 percent of the family’s business, but due to a sluggish local market for saw logs, the family has recently focused more on its core business, raising beef cattle. The farm is home to about 500 head at any given time, half of which are female cows used for breeding. The beef cattle are born on the farm and spend 14 to 16 months there grazing the meadows, grass fields and forestland before going to market.

defrees-4 But Defrees Ranch is much more than a cattle farm – it’s practically a zoo. Dean says his family has identified 42 species of mammals and 133 species of birds on their land, including white tailed deer, mule deer, elk, antelope, turkey, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, Canadian geese, Sandhill cranes, ducks and woodpeckers. The family frequently hosts hunters, and birdwatchers, and Sharon, a high school biology teacher, often brings classes on field trips to the farm to walk the trails, identify animals and trees and learn about land management.
“They discuss all aspects of habitat and forestry,” Dean says. “We’re trying to get the kids a little bit familiar with what goes on out in the woods on a working tree farm. All the kids love it here so much. It’s just a fun place to go.”

The farm has its own sawmill that the family uses to produce wooden fencing, livestock corrals, scale houses, garages and machinery sheds. “Everything that you need on a ranch that you can make out of wood, we’ve done it.” Dean says.

Students touring the Defrees Ranch
Students touring the Defrees Ranch

Back in 1968, when a fire ravaged their property for two weeks, the family wasn’t sure how much of their land would be left. Initially, the Defrees family and their friends and neighbors battled the blaze alone while the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service focused on fighting the fire on federal forestland. After several days, those two agencies were able to lend support to the family, but in the end, 500 acres were lost.

“It was pretty devastating to us,” Dean says. “It was so hot and windy that it was really difficult to control, so we put all the resources we had personally on it with our equipment and friends and neighbors. The Forest Service was tied up with other fires at the time. It was kind of a widespread forest fire summer here that year. We did everything we could. We were so busy at the time that it was hard to assess the damage as it was happening. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do, but we did save a pretty good chunk of land that didn’t burn.”
After the fire, the Defrees family got to work restoring their land, planting Douglas fir trees, ponderosa pine, western larch and white pine. Today, those trees measure about 20 feet tall.

“We planted quite a few trees, and we’ve had a lot of natural regeneration, so it’s come along pretty well,” Dean says. “But we’re not like the fast-growing forests of the South or even the coastal region of Oregon. Things grow pretty slow here because we’re in eastern Oregon. It’s dry here, and timber just grows a lot slower.”

Shortly after the fire, the Defrees family faced adversity again, as a mountain pine beetle infestation took over sections of their forest. The family harvested the affected trees and left some dead trees throughout the property to provide habitat for woodpeckers, who feed on the beetles.

“Woodpeckers will make a nest inside the tree, but the tree has to be dead and the wood soft enough for them to excavate a hole in the tree for them to nest in,” Dean says. “So, we try to leave those snag trees, or wildlife trees, placed throughout the property so that we have a good, healthy woodpecker population. One of our goals here on the tree farm is to keep the habitat diverse enough so that we can continue to support these animals.”

The Defrees family joined the ATFS in 1980 and has used it as a resource to better manage their land. The family also has mentored other landowners on the importance of forest management, has participated in state advocacy efforts and presented ATFS events.

“We use their literature a lot and try to keep to their standards,” Lyle says. “When we wrote our management plan, we tried to meet the standards of the American Forest Foundation and the America Tree Farm System. When the AFF’s evaluators were here to consider us for the award, we learned something from every one of them, and we really liked having them here so we could learn.”


OTFS Annual Meeting, Workshop & Recognition Luncheon

Download the complete event flyer – click here.

Date: November 21, 2016 Time: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Place: World Forestry Center

Portland Sponsors:

  • Oregon Tree Farm System
  • Oregon Small Woodlands Association
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Oregon Forest Resources Institute
  • OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension
  • USDA Forest Service
  • SFI

Celebrating Our Heritage:

Focusing on Our Future Succession Planning for Your Tree Farm

Time: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m

Place: Cheatham Hall, World Forestry Center


  • Tammy Cushing, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension
  • Rick Barnes, Nickel Mountain LLC, 2014 Tree Farmer of the Year
  • Clint Bentz, CPA, 2002 National Tree Farmer of the Year
  • Dick Courter, OTFS Memorial Fund
  • Caroline Kuebler, American Forest Foundation
  • Julie Woodward, Oregon Forest Resources Institute
  • Annual Meeting, Workshop and Recognition Luncheon

Download the complete flyer here

Annual Meeting, Workshop and Recognition Luncheon

Do you have a succession plan for your tree farm? As American Tree Farm System celebrates its
75th anniversary, it’s a good time to look ahead at the next 75 years. Good succession planning is a
way of building shared vision and passion for the land among the family. A panel of presenters will
discuss succession planning and provide insight into important discussions to have with heirs and/or
charitable planned giving entities. Bring your family for the workshop; there will be time for any
questions you might have about communication and legal aspects of succession planning.

Tree Farm Recognition Luncheon Time: 11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Place: Miller Hall, World Forestry Center

The workshop will be followed by a brief Oregon Tree Farm System business meeting and then a lunch honoring the County Tree Farmers of the Year. The high point of the day will be a video featuring all the County Tree Farmers of the Year and the announcement of the Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year for 2016. The workshop is free; the luncheon is $30 per person ($15 for each additional family member after 2 full registrations).

For more information, contact Anne Hanschu at 503-357-2551 or

Download the OTFS Annual Meeting & Recognition Luncheon registration form here.
Send in, along with fees, to the address on the back.

Defrees Ranch Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Annual Woods Tour

Written by: Jim James

The Defrees Family from left to right, Dean, Sharon, Nathan,  Lyle, Riley, Dallas, and Tyler
The Defrees Family from left to right, Dean, Sharon, Nathan,
Lyle, Riley, Dallas, and Tyler

Oregon Tree Farm’s June 11th Annual Tour of the Defrees Ranch near Sumpter, southeast of Baker City, provided vivid examples of land stewardship where cattle and timber come together to support a family ownership. The 2,000 acre Defrees Ranch with 1,227 acres of forestland is Oregon’s 2015 Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year, and the American Tree Farm System’s 2016 Western Region Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year. Approximately 160 people attended the tour got to see why. The ranch has been in the family for 107 years.

Pre-commercial and commercial thinning demonstrations
Pre-commercial and commercial thinning demonstrations

A variety of management activities included a unique dredge tailing restoration project, tree thinning, aspen restoration, and spring water development. Dallas Defrees, a fifth generation member of the family and an Oregon State University graduate student studying ranchland ecology, explained how the Defrees Ranch in partnership with Baker County designed a project to restore barren dredge tailing. Beginning in 1913, dredges churned up rocks and gold leaving 2500 acres of the Sumpter valley with mounts of near sterile land. A portion of the tailings are adjacent to the Defrees Ranch’s northern border. Dallas described how by winter feeding cattle on the tailing, they were able to decreased bare ground, decreased weed species, and increased soil fertility and thus increase plant diversity and biomass.

Lyle Defrees and his son Dean, Dallas’ father, lead the tour through grazed pastures and managed forests. At the first stop Lyle and Dean explained their cattle management strategies and how they integrated grazing and forest management. The second stop dealt with Quaking Aspen restoration. Dean explained how Aspen is declining in eastern and central Oregon due to a number of factors that include lack of wildfire and wildlife/cattle grazing. The Defreeses contracted with a nursery to grow aspen seedlings which they have planted in fenced off areas.

Dean describes spring and water projects needed for cattle, wildlife, and fire protection.
Dean describes spring and water projects needed for cattle, wildlife, and fire protection.

The third stop demonstrated the precommercial thinning methods they use to promote forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and improve grazing. Saplings up to 2-3 inches are cut with a brush cutter, and larger pre-merch trees are removed with a tree shear. Adjacent to the thinning demonstration was a spring development project to benefit both wildlife and cattle. It was cost-shared through the Natural Resources Conservation Service program. The final stop looked at commercial thinning and slash disposal in the ranch’s predominate ponderosa pine forest. A roast beef luncheon held under sunny skies and the Blue Mountains as the backdrop provided a fitting conclusion to a most informative tour.

Tractor/Trailer Transportation - Dean and Lyle Defrees discusses integrating cattle
Tractor/Trailer Transportation – Dean and Lyle Defrees discusses integrating cattle

OTFS Awards at OSWA Awards Banquet

Several Awards were presented to Oregon Tree Farm System participants at OSWA’s Annual Awards Banquet. Tom Martin, President of American Forest Foundation presented Mike Cloughesy, Oregon Forest Resource Institute and Jim Johnson, OSU Forestry Extension with plagues honoring their partnership with the American Tree Farm System.

Tom commented “75 years is a very long time for a program or organization to prosper. It can only do so through the commitment of many talented people and in the case of the American Tree Farm System, committed, vibrant partner organizations. OFRI and OSU Extension have been two of those special organizations helping nurture the success of ATFS through many, many years.

In recent years Mike Cloughesy has provided energy, insight and leadership to help ATFS continue to help family landowners become better stewards of their land.  Mike and OFRI are a large part of what has made and is making ATFS successful in Oregon. OSU Extension has provided leadership through their Extension Foresters who are inspectors and who participate in inspector training. Both Mike and Jim have served on the OTFS board for many years.”

Tom Martin presents award to Mike Cloughesy with Scott Hayes, Chair of OTFS
Tom Martin presents award to Jim Johnson


Tom Martin presents award to Mike Cloughesy with Scott Hayes, Chair of OTFS
Michael Atkinson and Scott Hayes present ATFS 25 Year Sign to Paul Cal. Paul has been in ATFS since 1979
OSWA Award presentation
Michael Atkinson and Scott Hayes present a red cedar carved sign to Audrey and Rick Barnes in recognition of their selection as National Western Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 2014. Their Nickel Mountain, LLC property was Oregon’s OTFofY in 2013. The Douglas County Chapter hosted the OSWA Annual Meeting in 2014.