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Newsletter Stories


Monday, 22 June 2020
Certificate Holder Spotlight: Zena Forest Products

By: Aubrey McCormick


Nestled on 1,300 acres just outside of Salem, Oregon sits a beautiful family-owned forest with sawmill operations and custom shop. Ben Deumling, President of Zena Forest Products believes in protecting the environment and giving back to the local community. Recently selected for Portland Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award, Ben has invested significant time advocating for stronger climate policy with Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown and local legislators. Additionally, Green Builder Media selected Zena’s Wide Plank Engineered Hardwood Flooring as one of their 2020 Hot 50 Products.

I had the opportunity to visit with Ben, meet his crew, and learn about how this FSC-certified forest is providing benefits to his family and construction markets within the Pacific West region.

Family owned and operated for over 30 years, Zena produces three types of hardwood: Oregon Ash, White Oak, and Western Maple. Zena Forest is the largest block of contiguous forest in the Willamette Valley, and it is of utmost importance to keep the forest healthy, as the headwaters of the Willamette River flow through the property.

There have been challenges. Ben believes climate change has to be taken seriously as he has seen a 10% decrease in Douglas fir growth in the region due to extreme heat, water loss, and humidity stress.

Yet, he also sees opportunity for niche markets that put sustainability at the forefront. For example, with only five percent of the Oregon white oak ecosystem remaining, due primarily to conversion, Ben is focused on developing a long-term, sustainable supply of the species into regional markets.

To learn more about Zena Forest Products, please visit http://www.zenaforest.com/ and follow them on Instagram.