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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We held our 4th Ampersand LIVE last fall at the Moore Theater, with 1200 totally engaged guests. I mean totally engaged. Those on stage told stories, showed pictures, played music and danced. Some of the performances embraced us and some starkly challenged us. It summed to a cross-section of the many voices of our Pacific Northwest. The 90 minutes covered the worries of this place, the hopes of this place and the changes we need to make in this place to be all it can—a sustaining community for everyone here already, and for those yet to come.
In 2015, Forterra spearheaded a conversation with about eighty stakeholders to discuss leveraging CLT and mass timber products to improve forest health, stimulate employment in rural communities, and house a growing urban population. Just over three years and an established CLT Coalition later, engagement has grown substantially.
Across the Puget Sound this fall, more than 2,200 volunteers converged at area parks and green spaces to celebrate Green City Days. Now boasting nine cities in the Green City Partnerships, these annual event connects community members across all age, ethnic and economic backgrounds for a common goal: helping to keep our forested parks and green spaces environmentally healthy.
It’s no coincidence that as Puget Sound grows (and continues to grow), the amount of green space, salmon, and orcas have been in decline. In the intricate, messy web of life that connects locals and transplants, salmon and orcas, and all the other creatures to this place we call home, every decision we make reverberates across seen and unseen threads, making an impact that is as large as it is lasting.
Ampersand LIVE was an incredible evening. From Jehan’s incredulous retelling of the time she ran from lightning towards the jaws of a Grizzly bear, to Paul’s intimate war portraits of iconic creatures threatened by climate change, to Jade’s heartrending dance, to Okanomode’s high notes, to Bill’s recipe for “goo,” there were so many unforgettable and thought-provoking moments—all punctuated by gorgeous harmonies from The Westerlies. It was a night filled with gratitude, amazement, love and hope for our Pacific Northwest.
A section of the beloved Lake Serene trail was scheduled to be logged in the Fall of 2017. We kicked off a fundraising effort in mid-August to protect the trail. It mobilized quickly thanks to support from an amazing community of people who love the special place.
It’s a challenging moment in our country. In today’s harsh political calculus, diversity equals division, not addition, not multiplication. The way we see it, that’s wrong. We’re an organization of land advocates. Many of us were educated in biology and ecology. What you learn in those disciplines is that the healthiest, most resilient places are those with complexity.