Perspectives — Rural
Working with a range of rural community leaders and residents, we envision vibrant town centers, access to locally grown food, and new opportunities for economic growth and development based in our rural communities.
Fifteen thousand years ago, the Vashon ice sheet began its melting retreat, depositing a plain of gravely outwash that underlies the prairies of South Sound. Over time the rocks broke down and organic matter accumulated, resulting in the quick-drying, nutrient-poor soil we have today. This soil defines the prairie ecosystem. It discourages all but the most nutritionally undemanding of trees and encourages a unique suite of relatively short grasses and wildflowers that can tolerate such conditions.
Tacoma civic leader Lyle Quasim and Forterra President & CEO Michelle Connor answer your questions from our recent Coffee and Conversation event on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Washington’s communities and lands.
Earth Day is a day to celebrate our planet and take action to keep it healthy. Each Earth Day, organizations and individuals around the world make commitments to reduce water usage, plant trees, reduce waste, and more. Our partner, Earth Day Northwest, is encouraging everyone in the region to act with resolve this year to benefit our lands and communities in the future.
As our climate warms, and our region becomes more densely populated, it is up to us to make sure that this region continues to be a livable and enjoyable place for all residents. Evergreen Carbon Capture (ECC) helps businesses and individuals do their part to address climate change. By contributing to local tree planting projects, participants balance their carbon impacts through carbon sequestration of the trees.
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.
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.
The orca mother Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days. People around the world were transfixed. Together, we ached with empathy. My sadness blends into frustration and guilt because the loss of this orca calf has a broader meaning. We are failing a crucial litmus test for the health of our Pacific Northwest.
Hamilton town center was built in a deep oxbow of the Skagit River. In the early days, the town grew quickly along the riverbank on a robust diet of logging and coal mining. When Skagit County was established in 1883, Hamilton’s economic power and prominence allowed it to vie with Mount Vernon for the county seat.
Necessity is the mother of invention. It calls for vision, courage and tenacity. That’s a good thing because it has never been more imperative to find ways to protect Mother Earth and save our little corner of the planet. So we asked activists across our region—women making a big difference—what inspires them to stand up and take action for the places they love.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By playing to our strengths—land acquisitions—we’re teaming up with local organizations to invigorate the local food economy in South King County. Earlier this year Forterra partnered with International Rescue Community and Global to Local to build a new community garden in Kent’s West Hill neighborhood to serve local refugee, immigrant, and low-incomes families. What started as a thicket of blackberry is now a 10,500 square foot garden for thirty-five families next to a new fruit tree orchard.
Two days of conversation with leaders across Kittitas County and one day of hiking. For the last few months and particularly over two concentrated days, we met with business leaders, advocates, planners, developers, farmers, elected officials and tribal leaders; to name some. The conversations only barely scratched the surface of course—of the richness of the place and the challenges it faces.
Green Everett Partnership volunteer and UW Bothell student, Candice Magbag, set to find out in her class on restoration ecology. In her final project, Candice covers the history of Forterra and her perspectives on conservation. Read her guest post and watch her video below.