- Town of Darrington receives $6 million federal grant to advance the new Darrington Wood Innovation Center, totaling to $8 million in state and federal support
- The Center will provide a hub for the next generation of innovative wood product manufacturing and reinvigorate the wood products industry in Snohomish County
- Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Suzan DelBene were instrumental in securing economic recovery funding following the 2014 Oso/SR 530 mudslide
- Darrington also received $157,000 from the Snohomish County Conservation Futures program to conserve 30 acres of adjacent of forest for passive recreation and education
- Groundbreaking begins later this year
DARRINGTON, WA — The Town of Darrington received a critical $6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build the infrastructure for the new Darrington Wood Innovation Center, a campus designed to house and attract next-generation wood product companies and strengthen the region’s economy. The Center will bring approximately 150 competitive-wage jobs to the region by housing mass timber production in Darrington.
“For a small town like ours, this is a huge moment,” said Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin. “The new Darrington Wood Innovation Center will build on our deep roots as a timber town. And we share this success with the County. The Snohomish County Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries lead, Linda Neunzig and I had discovered mass timber and together saw it as a part of Darrington’s future. The Snohomish County Executive’s Office supported us in bringing mass timber and CLT production home to Darrington.”
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers has strongly supported this project, providing tools and strategic guidance through the grant and permitting phases.
“The Darrington Wood Innovation Center brings together partners working to create good jobs in our hard hit rural community in and around Darrington and build a sustainable economy for our foresters,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “We appreciate the hard work of Senator Cantwell, Representative DelBene and the other members of our congressional delegation in securing these funds.”
After the 2014 Oso/SR 530 mudslide, Rep. DelBene introduced the Town of Darrington to the mass timber and wood-engineered product industries as a means of addressing town officials’ long-term goals to reinvigorate the local economy.
“The innovative timber industry is a win for workers, local communities and our environment. This grant will help expand one of Washington’s many rural economies with good-paying jobs that can be an example for other timber towns around the country,” said DelBene. “Darrington has faced significant adversity in recent years and the wood innovation center is an opportunity for it to start a new chapter and grow strong roots for the future.”
Sen. Cantwell, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, worked directly with the EDA to secure the $6 million grant to the Town of Darrington. Sen. Cantwell has also been a long proponent of mass timber products and has led efforts to increase the use of cross laminated timber and supported efforts to produce cross laminated timber in Washington state.
“This $6 million federal grant is an important investment in the economies of Darrington and Snohomish County after the devastation of the Oso landslide seven years ago,” Sen. Cantwell said.
“The Darrington Wood Innovation Center would be the first of its kind in the United States, creating a campus where environmentally-friendly building materials, like cross laminated timber, will be produced and where people will come to research and learn about these state-of-the-art wood products and how these products can be used to build next-generation, safe, and sustainable buildings. I am proud to have worked with Mayor Rankin and the community to support this project, which will create timber industry jobs in rural Snohomish County, and I will continue working to support Washington’s innovative mass timber industry.”
The $6 million U.S. EDA grant helped secure a $2 million award from the State of Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB), totaling $8 million to support site acquisition and infrastructure work. Darrington plans to develop the Wood Innovation Center on a 94-acre campus northwest of the town center.
Once built, the Center will host wood products manufacturing businesses creating new opportunities for education and learning. Forterra’s Strong Communities Fund, a social impact investment vehicle, will be one of the primary equity investors in the Center’s buildings. Darrington Wood Innovation Center LLC, a subsidiary of Forterra, will construct the onsite buildings for future wood innovation tenants.
“This facility offers an opportunity to steward the health of our forests through sustainable, high-value jobs in a historic timber town, while contributing attainable housing to Washington residents eager to own a stake in their own communities,” said Forterra president and CEO Michelle Connor. “This is a trifecta for the community, economy and environment.”
Mass timber is a category of framing styles that is typically characterized by the use of large solid wood panels for wall, floor and roof construction. CLT is an example of mass timber.
Mass timber and CLT have the potential to support economic, social and environmental resilience in rural Washington and beyond. CLT is a wood panel product manufactured by gluing together layers of lumber stacked in alternating perpendicular directions. The result is a lightweight yet strong structural building material that holds up well against fire, earthquakes and temperature changes. CLT has the capability of shortening construction time, lowering building operating costs and fostering healthy forests.
The Town of Darrington will go to bid this spring for infrastructure construction. Together, the partners anticipate beginning site preparation in the spring with construction starting later in the year.
Mayor, Town of Darrington
Managing Director of Media Relations and Storytelling, Forterra
Communications Director, Snohomish County Executive Office
ABOUT TOWN OF DARRINGTON
Darrington, a small mountain town in the North Cascades, sits between the Sauk and the North Fork Stillaguamish rivers. Today, the town has about 1,405 residents and serves another 1,200 folks in the surrounding areas. The primary economy is still the timber industry; however, Darrington is also using its unique location near the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Wilderness to promote recreation as a strong force in the local economy. Learn more at www.townofdarrington.com.
ABOUT SNOHOMISH COUNTY
Snohomish County is the third largest county in the State of Washington by population and is home to the largest manufacturing facility in the world. Snohomish County is also a top tourist destination. From the waves of Puget Sound to the ice fields of Glacier Peak, Snohomish County has diverse ecosystems, while also being home to a thriving agriculture industry and dynamic urban centers. Learn more at: www.snohomishcountywa.gov.
Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning, innovative programs and policies, farming and forestry approaches, community ownership opportunities, and development solutions. Visit www.forterra.org.