One of the fondest memories of my youth is sitting in school around 6th grade, with stormy weather outside, and my thoughts drifting to my tree house. I couldn’t wait for school to end, get off that bus, run home, climb up the tree, and hang out during the storm in my “house” in the tree. Just a few years later, when I was 16, I started work as a carpenter’s apprentice on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
In 1993 I formed a partnership with Cary Thompson, and built what we labeled the “Environmentally Responsible House” at 2270 Monroe Street, designed by Rob Thallon and Jim Givens. Features include: passive solar orientation, concrete floors for thermal mass, radiant floor heat, solar hot water, off set stud walls on 8” plates, ACQ pressure treated wood, recycled decking from old wine vats, plant oil finishes, and certified cedar shingles. All the framing lumber and cabinetry wood came through a highly responsible process–this was before FSC wood was available. We worked with a wonderful forest owner who developed a responsible forestry plan certified by the Rogue Valley Institute. The trees were very carefully cut so as to minimize the impact on the forest. The logs were then hauled out of the woods by horses, and then milled right there on-site. For a guy from Cape Cod who loved trees, this responsible logging and milling process, deep in the majestic Doug Fir forests of the Northwest, was an epiphany, I was hooked. Following this successful project, I went on to build Eugene’s first permitted straw bale and Rastra block house, and eventually founded ECO in 2006.