Softwood Forest Products Buyer


Feature Story


Lee Jimerson, product manager, and Alyson Kingsley, sales associate, are the Pacific Albus sales team for The Collins Companies.
COLLINS Maintains Cutting Edge With Pacific Albus

Portland, Ore.—Family-owned since 1855, The Collins Companies, headquartered here, recently opened a $35 million, state-of-the-art sawmill with dry kilns in nearby Boardman, Ore. The Collins Upper Columbia Mill was built in partnership with GreenWood Tree Farms. The adjoining 24,807-acre Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified tree farm will be managed by GreenWood Resources.

Collins manufactures an assortment of high quality wood products including TruWood Siding and Trim, Softwoods, hardwoods and Collins Pine Particleboard. Although Collins is known mostly for its Softwoods, the Upper Columbia Mill will produce and ship Collins Pacific Albus, FSC-certified plantation hardwood lumber.

This photo shows the SII side-loading dry kilns that utilize 8-foot-wide lumber bundles, providing superior air flow and even drying.
The Collins Companies operates Collins Pine Co. sawmill in Chester, Calif., as well as manages the 94,000- acre Collins Almanor Forest. The facility manufactures 120 million board feet of Ponderosa and Sugar Pine, White Fir and Incense Cedar annually. The company also maintains a sawmill in Lakeview, Ore., which is supplied in part by 78,000 acres of company-owned land. Collins produces 65 million board feet of Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine, White Fir and Incense Cedar there annually.

While Collins Pacific Albus is a hardwood, it can be used in many industrial, western Softwood applications. “This is a lightweight, straight-grain, light colored, medium-to-fine textured wood that has a variety of cost-saving applications, for Venetian blinds, millwork (solid and finger joint), edge-glued panels, S4S and cut stock, pre-ripped moulding blanks, balusters, landscape timbers, furniture, pattern stock, picture frames, ceilings, veneer, pallets, crating and boxes, and cants for reprocessing among others,” said Lee Jimerson, Pacific Albus product manager. “Because of its light weight, it is also a great option for recreational vehicle parts and tradeshow displays — anything that is frequently transported.”

This is a view of the 24,807-acre Pacific Albus plantation that is certified through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Notice the owl boxes on the trees that help promote the owl population and balance the rodent population.
Available kiln-dried, air-dried, heat-treated or green, Collins Pacific Albus is also hypoallergenic, making it a natural choice for saunas and food grade applications. Jimerson added, “The Collins Upper Columbia Mill can produce up to 100 million board feet of hardwood lumber per year, providing our customers a high quality, consistent, uniform product year round.”

Collins is in a unique position to control the quality and consistency of the final product. Galen Smith, quality control supervisor, said, “Our job is to maintain the value of the log throughout the entire process. And because we have a special relationship with GreenWood Tree Farms, we can give them ongoing feedback to improve planting, irrigating and harvesting techniques that will result in continually improved products. At every step of the way, we want to assure ourselves and our customers that we are growing, producing and shipping products that we can be proud of.”

Smith, whose full name is Galen Collins Smith, is the fifth generation of the Collins family to work in the 154-year-old forest products company.

The hardwood plantation and mill are augmented by an efficient and cost effective transportation system. “We are very aware of the spikes in transportation costs, which is why we have located the sawmill right in the middle of the plantation, giving us an average log haul distance of only three miles, said Nick Falatovich, corporate logistics manager. “The dry kilns and finishing mill are just a few miles away from the mill, at the Port of Morrow on the Columbia River, providing convenient barge service. It is also located on Interstate 84, the main East-West highway in Oregon, and on the Union Pacific rail line.”

Collins Pacific Albus lumber is first well air-dried in the central Oregon sunny, dry and breezy climate before heading to the kilns.
Boardman, Ore., is also home to a growing bio-fuels industry, which Collins hopes to tap for their future transportation needs, as well as a market for their mill residuals.

At a time when lumber sales are still sagging from the economic downturn, Collins’ commitment to build a new mill has bolstered the economy in Morrow County by providing upwards of 100 new jobs when the mill is in full production. Wade Mosby, senior vice president, remarked that, “Employment is only one part of the picture. The other is our impact on the environment, not only in our choices in building the mill, but in operating it as well.”

In terms of building materials for the mill, the FSC-certified White Fir dimension lumber used for framing came from Collins’ Lakeview, Ore., sawmill and their Chester, Calif., sawmill. FSC-certified Collins Pine FreeForm Particleboard NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde resins) made in Klamath Falls, Ore., was used to make cabinets in the offices and break rooms.
A cant is sawn by a TMT curve gang saw, following any curvature in the cant. The TMT provides higher recoveries, straighter lumber and less slope-of-grain in the lumber, compared to conventional gang saws.
FSC Pure Pacific Albus was turned into ceiling grids and doors manufactured by 9Wood and Jeld-Wen, respectively. FSC-certified CDX plywood for sheathing came from Roseburg Forest Products. FSC-certified PaperStone countertops were a distinctive and practical answer for the office kitchen and conference room. Metro recycled paint was used for the exterior and interior of the office and break rooms. Collins also turned to their TruWood Siding and Trim division for exterior siding, trim and moulding in the offices.

“We are also using steam from the nearby PGE Coyote Springs Co-Gen facility to run our dry kilns,” Jimerson said. “And, all of our wood waste is recycled for use in a variety of applications, including biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol, wood pellets, fire logs, hog fuel and briquettes, as well as raw material inputs for paper and composite panel products such as door skins.” The mill itself utilizes electrical actuators, a new technology that saves approximately 50 percent of the energy used compared to traditional hydraulic or pneumatic actuators

On the plantation side, GreenWood Tree Farms also implements sustainable practices on the FSC-certified Pacific Albus trees. The plantation meets the FSC standards, which requires an integrated pest management system. This means that the first line of defense for controlling pests and weeds needs to work with nature and includes installing owl boxes, employing goats and mowing for weed control. The plantation is home to hundreds of deer and other wildlife.

Wade Mosby sums it up by saying, “It is not often two companies can create such a symbiotic relationship built on our mutual goals of producing a product that is truly sustainable in every step of the process.”

Office and break room cabinets are made with clear melamine-coated Collins FreeForm Plus Particleboard and edge-banded with Edgemate Pacific Albus edgebanding.
For more information, call The Collins Companies at 1-800-329-1219 or visit


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