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Our History

What’s in a Name

Columbia Cedar, Inc. has exclusively produced Western Red Cedar products since 1981. Owners Ralph & Merry Schmidt and CFO Skyler Johnson have been, and will continue to be, committed to making the best quality cedar products available in the USA.

As the last remaining random length, 100% cedar manufacturing facility in the USA, Columbia Cedar can consistently provide products to its customers throughout the year.

A Three-Generation Legacy

The Schmidt Brothers Farms in Beavercreek, Oregon, started a farm sawmill in 1952. Ralph became involved in 1976 after completing college. At that time, it was a two-person operation. Currently, Columbia Cedar employs 95 people between the Kettle Falls and Arden Washington sites. Sons Jacob and Matthew Schmidt are heavily involved in the company’s daily operations. Jacob is responsible for Arden’s planer and kiln operations, and Matthew is Arden’s Shipping and Inventory Supervisor.

The Sales and Leadership team has over 196 years of combined experience producing cedar products, starting at the original sawmill in Beavercreek, Oregon. Todd Fox left the mill in 1987 and returned in 1993 to become Sales Manager. Todd’s cousin, Chris Retherford, joined the sales team in early 2000. The Schmidt-Fox connection runs deep. Todd’s dad, Vic Fox, was Ralph’s baseball coach and mentor.

Columbia Cedar started with a two-step distribution and continues that philosophy today. From patterns to grades, we listen carefully to our customers and strive to supply products that fit our customer’s needs. A 100% usable product is being requested, and we are working hard to create it in all our product lines.

Today, Columbia Cedar produces its Exterior Sidings, Interior Panelings, Decking, and S1S2E trim boards under the Electric Blue brand.

“Western Red Cedar is what we have known for 47 years. From the art of properly drying the raw material to the patterning and finish, then packaging for protection during shipment, it all must come together. The ongoing challenge is, of course, raw material. Competition is high for cedar logs, and I don’t see that changing in the future. The fun of the business is still finding new and innovative ways of producing cedar lumber products that satisfy our customer’s needs. Repeat orders and happy end users motivate us daily.” – Ralph Schmidt.