Freres PDX roof 2

After four rounds of voting, Oregonians have chosen the coolest thing made in the Beaver State: Freres Engineered Wood’s Mass Ply panels. The versatile product, which plays a key role in a growing list of mass-timber projects, defeated A-dec’s 500 Dental Chair to win the inaugural Coolest Thing in Made in Oregon contest. The winner was announced Oct. 25 during OBI’s annual Vision Oregon Event in Portland.

“I’m sure plywood wasn’t the first thing that came to mind for many when they thought about the coolest things made in Oregon, but Mass Ply and the entire story surrounding it are in fact very cool, and voters recognized that,” said OBI President and CEO Angela Wilhelms. “This year’s Coolest Thing winner is quintessentially Oregon—innovative, sustainable, strong and made by a company with deep roots (literally and metaphorically).”

Mass Ply is a sustainable, veneer-based form of cross-laminated timber that can be used in the place of steel and concrete in many projects. It plays a key role in the undulating roof above Portland International Airport’s new main terminal. It’s also an integral part in a soon-to-be-completed 19-story residential tower in Oakland, Calif. For every cubic yard of wood used on this project in the place of a similar volume of concrete, the tower’s developer estimates the release of two tons of carbon dioxide has been prevented. Read more Mass Ply here.

The process to determine the Coolest Thing Made in Oregon began months ago with the assistance of partner Here is Oregon. This summer, Oregonians nominated their favorite products, more than 150 in all. A panel of business, media and education leaders then narrowed the list to 16, which were paired on a tournament-style bracket. Through four rounds of voting, Oregonians narrowed the list to eight, to four, then to two before choosing the winner.

“Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted in this contest, and a special thanks to the companies that participated in our bracket of 16,” said Wilhelms. “I cannot wait to see which products are nominated for the 2024 Coolest Thing Made in Oregon contest…there is certainly no shortage of them! For now, though, Freres Engineered Wood Products owns these bragging rights.”