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Local "Green" Builder Implicated in Destruction of Rainforests

Please help Rainforest Relief help fight logging of old-growth, tropical rainforests. Below is an action alert with more information about the use of destructively harvested rainforest woods by a Portland developer, and what you can do about it.
Destructively harvested tropical hardwoods - most likely including llegally logged woods - are being used in the interiors of at least two of Hoyt Street Properties' Pearl District condominium developments that are being marketed for their "green" features. These materials, more scorched earth than green, include the mahogany lobby in The Metropolitan, and the "ebony" cabinets and "mahogany" flooring at The Encore.

The wood used in the "ebony" kitchen cabinet veneers is actually a wood from West African rainforests called "obeche" that is coming Cameroon, West Africa. Fully half of all logging in Cameroon is illegal, with serious damage to forests, watersheds, and wildlife. Hoyt claims that the obeche wood they are using for the cabinet veneer comes from responsible sources. They have no proof of this, other than the word of the veneer manufacturer. Cameroon does not have sufficient resources to monitor its forestry concessions, and independent reports have iidentified issues with the sustainability of operations by Alpi, the concession holder and mill operator. More information countering their claims this is available on our website at  http://www.rainforestrelief.org/Campaigns/Developers/Hoyt_Street_Properties.html

Hoyt can't even make a claim of sustainability for the mahogany wood. In Brazil and Peru, the leading suppliers of Latin American mahogany, approximately 60-80% of all logging is done illegally, often in nature reserves or on lands of indigenous people. Damage from logging is combined with construction of logging roads, which then allow forest destruction by ranchers and farmers. Latin American mahogany, unless taken from second-growth forests according to certification procedures of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is one of the most destructive materials on Earth. Hoyt Street Properties is not using mahogany that is certified under FSC, according to its architect at Boora Architects.

Hoyt has declined several entreaties from Rainforest Relief to stop using tropical woods and develop a rainforest-safe wood use policy. With the high impacts of rainforest logging on biodiversity, carbon storage, and indigenous people, Hoyt is undoing much of the good that it does using other "green" building practices.

Please contact Hoyt Street Properties and ask them to stop using tropical woods in all developments:
Ms. Tiffany Sweitzer, CEO
Hoyt Street Properties
809 NW 11th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 227-6677 Fax: (503) 227-0147
Email:  TiffanyS@hoytstreetproperties.com

Please also contact Boora Architects and ask them to no longer specify tropical hardwoods such as mahogany and obeche:
 info@boora.com

We will also be flyering at Hoyt's real estate office in the near future; please send us an email if you would like to see the announcement. Thanks for helping to save Earth's rainforests.

homepage: homepage: http://www.rainforestrelief.org/Campaigns/Developers/Hoyt_Street_Properties.html
phone: phone: 503-236-3031


local hardwoods are best. 29.Nov.2007 22:43

fred

Here in the north west we are blessed with many beautiful hardwoods. We have oak and maple, which makes beautiful furniture, in Southern OR and Northern CA we have many other kinds- During college I worked at a small business making flooring from Tanoak- which is kind of a cross between a chesnut and an oak- it has absoultely beautiful wood- with a side hardness of hard maple- (meaning virtually indestructible) Also Pepperwood aka myrtle- which when sanded smooth appears to have a classy oil finish- good for expensive furniture. And we've got a sh** load of fast growing red alder- perfect for cheapo furniture as it looks like birch but it's cheap and easy to work like a softwood..

The problem lies in basic human greed-

In my opinion, Forestry here is purely an extraction industry- at least it was in 1991 the last time I gave a damn.

If you're a decidous (meaning your leaves fall off and make a mess each fall) tree lucky enough to get dragged out of the woods rather than just burned in a slash pile, the best you can hope for is to wind up at the paper mill and make some glossy paper for the victorias secret catalog. Other wise you make TP and wipe someones fat butt the day after a greasy burger binge. (Wish that forestry diploma was on softer paper so it would be useful for something...)

The reason for this is simple. Paul Bunyan can clobber a doug fir or hemlock tree, sell it to the mill, they can butcher it and sell the green lumber the next day. After my four year degree and "joining the ranks of educated americans" I spent the better part of a year at a big mill near corvallis- It was a Quad- meaning the logs run through a four saws at once. We dealt with a fifty year old tree every seven or eight seconds. (Really good excersize) It can then make a stud wall in a Tigard McMansion the day after that. Hey, if it's a garage it might just keep a Durango from getting rained on. five years later everythings a moldy mess becuase someone wrapped up a bunch of wet wood in tyvek but who cares Or, it can be kiln dried in a week. The point is, the money goes from on the stump to in the bank fast. Lets see here, I've got a tree growing 2% a year and a bank account growing 4%- any legitimate business is going to clobber the tree and put the money in the bank as soon as possible without any regard to sound silvicultural (tree farming) practice, much less any feel-good sustainability crap-a-roo.

Let's consider Mr. Maple tree now. If he grows in a stand of timber he'll have good saw-logs with few knots, so butchering him into boards isnt such a problem. But, then again, youve got to have some old guy with a bit of skill turn the log each time it goes thru a single headrig- aw, gee one board at a time?, That's going to take mr. landowner or mr. mill owner a long time to save up for that new caddilac escalade...
It goes downhill from there fast- If you try to dry that stubborn maple in a week- you just get some real nice firewood- (cracked up and bent up boards) The best way is a year outside and a few months in a kiln. At the least it's a few months in a proper kiln. And before that you've got to sticker and stack it even air space between every row, even pressure all over the boards. Skilled labor??? Uh-OH, what if they want a Union???? And you mean to tell me I have to wait MONTHS to get MY money??? But, I want that Escalade NOW!... So, I'll just use my doug fir and push that hardwood into a pile and ferget about it, And spray the hell out of the reprod so my grandkids dont have to deal with hardwoods, as long as I can write the roundup off my taxes...

Seriously though, this is why even though we have the hardwoods here, with the exeption of the alder, which can be turned into money in a few weeks, your hardwoods you buy are going to come from places with cheep labor, like the appalacians or south america...


Let me know if them yuppies feel too guilty about thier exotic hardwood counters I can burn em in my woodstove....


Forestry and health care are the two places I can think of where "socialism" would make a good deal of sense. We could get a lot more out of the woods here- good jobs and a lot more lumber to export- but under the capitalist system, any responsible business owner must get the money out of the woods and put it somewhere it will grow faster.

local hardwoods are best. 29.Nov.2007 22:44

fred

Here in the north west we are blessed with many beautiful hardwoods. We have oak and maple, which makes beautiful furniture, in Southern OR and Northern CA we have many other kinds- During college I worked at a small business making flooring from Tanoak- which is kind of a cross between a chesnut and an oak- it has absoultely beautiful wood- with a side hardness of hard maple- (meaning virtually indestructible) Also Pepperwood aka myrtle- which when sanded smooth appears to have a classy oil finish- good for expensive furniture. And we've got a sh** load of fast growing red alder- perfect for cheapo furniture as it looks like birch but it's cheap and easy to work like a softwood..

The problem lies in basic human greed-

In my opinion, Forestry here is purely an extraction industry- at least it was in 1991 the last time I gave a damn.

If you're a decidous (meaning your leaves fall off and make a mess each fall) tree lucky enough to get dragged out of the woods rather than just burned in a slash pile, the best you can hope for is to wind up at the paper mill and make some glossy paper for the victorias secret catalog. Other wise you make TP and wipe someones fat butt the day after a greasy burger binge. (Wish that forestry diploma was on softer paper so it would be useful for something...)

The reason for this is simple. Paul Bunyan can clobber a doug fir or hemlock tree, sell it to the mill, they can butcher it and sell the green lumber the next day. After my four year degree and "joining the ranks of educated americans" I spent the better part of a year at a big mill near corvallis- It was a Quad- meaning the logs run through a four saws at once. We dealt with a fifty year old tree every seven or eight seconds. (Really good excersize) It can then make a stud wall in a Tigard McMansion the day after that. Hey, if it's a garage it might just keep a Durango from getting rained on. five years later everythings a moldy mess becuase someone wrapped up a bunch of wet wood in tyvek but who cares Or, it can be kiln dried in a week. The point is, the money goes from on the stump to in the bank fast. Lets see here, I've got a tree growing 2% a year and a bank account growing 4%- any legitimate business is going to clobber the tree and put the money in the bank as soon as possible without any regard to sound silvicultural (tree farming) practice, much less any feel-good sustainability crap-a-roo.

Let's consider Mr. Maple tree now. If he grows in a stand of timber he'll have good saw-logs with few knots, so butchering him into boards isnt such a problem. But, then again, youve got to have some old guy with a bit of skill turn the log each time it goes thru a single headrig- aw, gee one board at a time?, That's going to take mr. landowner or mr. mill owner a long time to save up for that new caddilac escalade...
It goes downhill from there fast- If you try to dry that stubborn maple in a week- you just get some real nice firewood- (cracked up and bent up boards) The best way is a year outside and a few months in a kiln. At the least it's a few months in a proper kiln. And before that you've got to sticker and stack it even air space between every row, even pressure all over the boards. Skilled labor??? Uh-OH, what if they want a Union???? And you mean to tell me I have to wait MONTHS to get MY money??? But, I want that Escalade NOW!... So, I'll just use my doug fir and push that hardwood into a pile and ferget about it, And spray the hell out of the reprod so my grandkids dont have to deal with hardwoods, as long as I can write the roundup off my taxes...

Seriously though, this is why even though we have the hardwoods here, with the exeption of the alder, which can be turned into money in a few weeks, your hardwoods you buy are going to come from places with cheep labor, like the appalacians or south america...


Let me know if them yuppies feel too guilty about thier exotic hardwood counters I can burn em in my woodstove....


Forestry and health care are the two places I can think of where "socialism" would make a good deal of sense. We could get a lot more out of the woods here- good jobs and a lot more lumber to export- but under the capitalist system, any responsible business owner must get the money out of the woods and put it somewhere it will grow faster.

LEED is part of the problem 02.Dec.2007 18:31

eric

I work in "green" constuction. Luckily my company is cool enough to give a crap beyond a marketable "green" rating, such as LEED.

LEED is great - for energy. Unfortunately it has gaping holes, like what you see here with the rainforest mahogony. The problem is that LEED doesn't "do" materials, except for a couple points if its local.

You could easily build a whole subdivision and use an entire forest of old-growth mahogony that was home to the last wild monkeys on earth as framing lumber for all LEED cares, as long as you do something goofy like a green roof and rainwater catchment - and cut them a nice check.

Rainforest activists might consider targeting LEED directly - these condo projects are probably supposed to get LEED certs right?

Updates 04.Dec.2007 12:45

Rainforest Relief j.lockwood@rainforestrelief.org

We are indeed working on a letter to U.S. Green Building Council about the shortcomings of the wildly popular LEED program.

The story giving more details about the Hoyt Street Properties wood use selections is temporarily not available on our website. We will be trying to get the story back online by tomorrow, 12.5.07. In the meantime, please email if you have questions or want to get involved in this campaign.