From healing roots come the beauty and sustenance of flower and fruit.



The Mahonia building was inspired by our motivation to heal our land, our waters and our relationships. It has been a highly collaborative project, as we believe the best solutions come from working together. Mahonia (Oregon grape) has been Oregon’s state flower since 1899, and in choosing the name of the building we place value on our understanding that health is rooted in this land, which literally supports the foundation of the building as well as our ability to live here.



Mahonia is a simple, inexpensive building with high aspirations. A mix of warehouse, production, and office spaces, the layout features common areas to create positive interaction between tenants. The building was designed by Anni Tilt of Arkin Tilt Architects in Berkeley. Well day-lit and naturally ventilated, the office exterior walls are insulated with straw bales finished with earth-plaster for a natural, healthy environment.

Mahonia plant - also known as Oregon Grape

Building Features

  • Straw Bale Walls

We have the largest straw bale insulating walls of any commercial building in Oregon! Three stories used over 500 bales from a Junction City organic wheat farmer.  The wall was installed primarily by volunteers under the direction of the California Straw Bale Association (CASBA) and Day One Design. Earth plaster walls (using site soil) regulate humidity creating a comfortable, non-toxic office environment.

  • Reused Materials

Environmentally friendly and artfully reused (up-cycled) materials include: siding, flooring, windows, doors, light fixtures, metal railings, and “urbanite” block walls in the landscaping. The stairs are off-cuts from a cross-laminated timber factory. The exterior plant screens were from reclaimed material. We would like to thank Bring Recycling for partnering with us on much of the materials. 

  • Natural Light

Extra creative effort was made to bring in natural light and stretch it throughout the building, so people can thrive and be inspired.

  • Water Catchment System

Rainwater collection is collected in a cistern that overflows to a stormwater planter along Shelton McMurphey Blvd, (this was actually one of the trickier elements of the building!) The 4000 gallon stainless steel water cistern was reclaimed from Texas oilfields. 

Green Building Highlights

  • 50 KW solar electric system. To see solar energy production in real time click HERE

  • Central solar hot water with tankless gas backup heaters

  • High efficiency dual fuel heating and cooling systems

  • LED lighting

  • Environmentally friendly finishes such as whey based floor finish and no-VOC paints

  • Trout Friendly landscape, with bioswales to collect water runoff from parking lot

  • Zero Waste reuse and recycling stream

  • Indoor bike parking and shower


Charitable Giving

All of the contractors associated with the building project made a contribution to the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, a community nonprofit working to develop a secure, sustainable and inclusive food system in Lane County.

Mahonia Layout
Ground Honoring ceremony
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Ground Honoring ceremony 2
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120 SHELTON MCMURPHEY BLVD. EUGENE, OR  97401   TEL: 541-632-4288  |  INFO@BACKTOTHEBARROW.COM   |   150 Shelton McMurphey Blvd. Eugene OR, 97401   |   541-632-4288

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