The wood—Jakarta Market Blend—arrived as shipping crates from Japan. It was reclaimed within a mile of the Natural Capital Center, milled in North Portland, and eventually crafted by furniture designer and Ecotrust building engineer Joel Miller into four tables and benches, which now beckon Ecotrust employees and visitors atop our roof overlooking the Pearl District.
It’s the kind of story Viridian Reclaimed Wood likes to tell, because it shows how their work conserves resources through local processing.
Started in 2004 by Joe Mitchoff and Pierce Henley, the Portland-based company’s wood is salvaged, 100% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, manufactured in the United States, and eligible for LEED certification. Co-founder Joe Mitchoff answered a few questions for us.
Q. How and why did you decide to start Viridian?
A. Pierce and I never thought we’d be doing this! Pierce was working on a construction project and I was working on a small development project. We found wood at the Port of Portland that was being sent to landfills because it comingled with waste from ships. Salvaging wood began as a side project, but as we discovered the incredible amount of wasted resources, we decided to turn our hobby into a business.
Q. What do you mean by the term up-cycling?
A. We take someone else’s trash and create pieces with lasting value. Our company is resource efficient in obtaining the raw materials and carrying out the manufacturing process.
Q. Can you describe the excitement in refurbishing—in giving new life to something?
A. Our warehouse is located at a gritty old steel foundry—it’s amazing to see how pieces of wood start as unwanted scraps intended for landfills and transform into beautiful products like tables and floors. We ask our clients to send pictures of their finished products and we encourage finding new and creative ways to use the materials.