Sustainable Northwest Wood debuts dramatic new 'blue pine'

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These Blue Pine slabs harvested from beetle killed trees are distinctive in their colors and patterns. Click the gallery to see other examples of Blue Pine.
Courtesy Sustainable Northwest Wood

These Blue Pine slabs harvested from beetle killed trees are distinctive in their colors and patterns. Click the gallery to see other examples of Blue Pine. 

A new stock of distinctively hued pine has arrived at Sustainable Northwest Wood.

The Portland depot for sustainably harvested wood is now stocking Campground Blue Pine, a salvaged wood with a story to tell.

Blue pine, sought after by designers for its often dramatic look, gets its hue from a fungus that results in the logs once the tree has died.

"There are a number of things that cause that blue fungus," said Ryan Temple, president of Sustainable Northwest Wood. "It could be a tree from a fire kill or just a log that sat around at the mill too long."

What makes the new shipment of Campground Blue Pine especially interesting is that it comes from pine trees killed by the ongoing mountain pine beetle epidemic throughout the American West.

The beetles have killed some 150 million acres of pine, leaving dead trees standing from Mexico through Canada. The dead trees pose an increased fire risk as they burn hotter and faster than living trees.

Harvesting the dead trees can help mitigate that risk. And the upside is that the beetle-killed trees yield especially dramatic blue pine.

"A lot of designers, furniture makers especially, are very excited about it," Temple said.

Sustainable Northwest Wood, a spinoff from the nonprofit Sustainable Northwest, is a wholesale lumberyard that supports small mills and the development of a conservation-based economy. Sustainable Northwest Wood was a finalist for Sustainable Business Oregon's Innovation in Sustainability awards program last year.

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