Perspectives — Blog

At Forterra, our work spans from securing wild places and farms, to land in the city for parks and affordable housing and creating innovative policy.

Read the latest about the work we’re doing and the people and places who shape it.

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Mass Timber: The Innovative Future of our Built Environment

New building code changes in Washington to permit mid and high-rise mass timber buildings, allowing the state to take a huge step forward for the sustainable future of our built environment and will revolutionize the way we design, build and grow.

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Taking Back Cedar River

The health of Cedar River—and its inhabitants—has been continually threatened by knotweed, an invasive plant that overtakes riverbanks, squeezes out native species and can quickly destroy properties and ecosystems. Forterra’s successful restoration efforts aim to give salmon and orca a fighting chance.

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Our Magical Intellectual Circus

Identity. Caribou. Social justice. Brass. Dogs. Climate change. Sasquatch. Hope. More than 1300 people joined us at the Moore Theater for Ampersand LIVE, our evening of storytelling about people and place, and there are so many unforgettable moments.

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Putting Down Roots

Almost 1,900 volunteers converged to celebrate Green City Days at parks and green spaces across Puget Sound this fall. They planted more than 11,500 native plants. There are now twelve cities in the Green City Partnerships—Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Puyallup, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tacoma, Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines—and these annual events give volunteers a wonderful opportunity to help restore their local natural areas while building community through stewardship.

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Saving Lake Serene

Forterra officially closed on the last-remaining privately owned section of the popular Lake Serene Trail in October 2018. Thanks to massive community support, the purchase of this 190-acre property preserved the trees along the trail and guaranteed permanent public access to Lake Serene Trail’s breathtaking views, waterfalls, and reflective alpine lake—forever.

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Forterra awarded Olmsted Medal

Forterra was recently awarded the prestigious Olmsted Medal of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Conferred annually at ASLA’s national conference, the Olmsted Medal is one of the Society’s premier honors.

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Vote ‘Yes’ on 1631 for a Cleaner, Healthier Washington

Pollution and climate change are threatening Washington’s health, communities, economy and landscapes, and without action the challenges we face will only get more grim. Initiative 1631, which is on the statewide ballot this November, could help us make crucial moves to fight back. It’s time we stand up for our land and our future, and secure a better Washington for our generation and generations to come.

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See the Forest for the Teas

With fall just around the corner, try out some teas made from plants native to our local forests! Douglas fir, Grand fir, Stinging nettle, and Nootka rose are all great options, and the process is relatively simple.

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9 Ways to Help Orcas Now

Earlier this summer, we watched in disbelief as the orca mother, Tahlequah, carried her dead calf for 17 days. Puget Sound orcas are struggling. From disrupted habitats, food source shortages, and poor water quality, the impacts humans have had on our regions’ orcas are staggering. Here are a few steps you can take to help the orcas now.

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#FremontCANpaign Photo Contest

This summer we’re teaming up with Fremont Brewing and REI for the 5th annual #FremontCANpaign. It’s an Instagram photo contest that celebrates the natural beauty of Washington and some of our favorite local, sustainably-made, independent craft beer.

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Offset Your Adventures

Here in Seattle, we love to hike. But hiking comes at a cost—to our environment. A round-trip drive between Seattle and Mt. Si emits roughly 80 lbs. of greenhouse gas. For a longer trip—say, a weekend at Mt. Rainier National Park—you could emit about 200 lbs. The numbers add up when considered over the course of a year. Driving 100 miles every weekend will spew approximately 5,000 lbs, or 2.5 tons of carbon, into the atmosphere over the course of a year.

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Kent Community Garden Opens!

Thirty five family gardening plots and an apple, pear and cherry orchard will benefit recent immigrants from Congo, Sudan and Bhutan at a new community garden in Kent.

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Welcoming All Our Neighbors

The vision is for the Knight’s Inn property is to build a new community-owned affordable housing and mixed-use commercial space. The ground floor of the building will serve as an international market for a variety of refugee- and immigrant-owned micro-enterprises that are facing displacement in this fast-changing community.

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Snohomish County Decision Broadens Conservation Options

A vote by the Snohomish County Council last week amended zoning along the Highway 99 corridor between Lynnwood and Everett to encourage more compact development near transit, expanding options for farmland conservation by adding areas where new construction can take advantage of a program called transfer of development rights.

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Reflections from Travels Abroad

President Emeritus, Gene Duvernoy, takes a much-deserved sabbatical after stepping down as President of Forterra after 29 years. Follow along as he shares his thoughts and musings from his travels.

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Layers of the Forest

Trees provide many benefits for human communities, including a positive effect on health, local economy, safety, child development, and stormwater infrastructure. They’re also vital to another constituency of Seattle residents and visitors—our birds. Each layer of the tree canopy provides habitat to specific birds. Learn which birds live where in your neighborhood trees!

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Gene Duvernoy Announces Retirement at 2018 Forterra Annual Breakfast

Watch video of Gene Duvernoy announcing his retirement after nearly 30 years of visionary leadership. Michelle Connor was named as Forterra’s next president and CEO.

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Salamanders & Science at Hazel Wolf Wetlands

Citizen Scientists on Woodland Park Zoo’s Amphibian Monitoring Team saw newts, salamanders and frogs at Forterra-conserved Hazel Wolf Wetlands in Sammamish. Check out the photos they documented for science.

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Sasquatch Caught On Camera

Late Friday evening, scientists flagged a mysterious image on the wildlife camera at the Gold Creek underpass just east of Snoqualmie Pass, part of the I-90 Wildlife Bridges project to reconnect wildlife habitat in the Cascades. The figure is believed to be Sasquatch, according to biologists at Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Local Trees for a Global Problem

This year, over two dozen companies participated in ECC. Thanks to them, we planted a whopping 3,330 trees, which, over the next 100 years, will absorb at least 16,650 tons of CO2! The native northwestern conifers we plant absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, effectively offsetting the emissions of program participants. Because we plant locally, the trees also bring the region a host of additional benefits, including stormwater retention, animal habitat and making this place more beautiful.

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Cross Laminated Timber Bill Passes Legislature

Washington State is poised to be a national leader in mass timber construction with the passage of SB 5450, which will support the expanded use of Cross Laminated Timber and other mass timber products. The legislation requires the State Building Code Council to adopt rules for the use of mass timber products for residential and commercial building construction.

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Forterra, King County Parks partner to secure a forested 155-acre Enumclaw Foothills property

We teamed up with King County Parks to secure a one-time private wedding venue that will serve as a critical gateway to the recreational trails in the 80,000-acre White River Forest. The land features healthy forests, large meadows and a small lake, and is home to black bear, cougar, bobcat, plus numerous bird species and other wildlife.

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Fund for Good

High-flying companies are fueling a red-hot economy around Puget Sound bringing more than a thousand new people each week, intensifying trends of gentrification and displacement. That’s why Forterra is bringing our nearly 30 years of expertise negotiating land transactions in wilderness and farms to our cities. Whether it’s open spaces for nature and play, or affordable homes and vibrant, diverse communities, it all begins with land.

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Paddling to a Future Forest

For three years, Forterra staff and WCC crew members have waded across the Cedar River to control invasive knotweed in a remote part of Ron Regis Park—but in winter when rains swell the river, a new approach to tackling the knotweed was needed.

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