It may not have grabbed the limelight with the same pizzazz as the rest of the hoopla at the 56th quadrennial inauguration, but Riley Creek Lumber Company's logo received worldwide visibility shortly before Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.
A photograph and slideshow of the construction of the inauguration platform displaying stacks of lumber draped with Riley Creek's distinctive emblem on its white-and-blue bagging at the west steps of the U.S. Capitol was viewed by hundreds of thousands of Internet users.
And when Obama raised his hand to take the oath of office on Jan. 20, the platform he was standing on was constructed from a shipment of fir and larch logged in north Idaho and milled at a Riley Creek facility before the company merged with Bennett Forest Industries last summer.
"It was pretty exciting to see the Riley Creek name over our product in front of the White House like that," said Jesse Short, plant manager of the Moyie Springs mill. "Our team is quite proud over the fact that we have a superior product that was chosen to build the inaugural platform."
Constructed entirely from scratch for each inaugural ceremony, the 2009 platform was built with more than 10,000 board feet of Riley Creek lumber designed to hold about 1,600 people, including the president-elect, vice president-elect, outgoing president and members of the Senate and House.
The platform is built entirely of lumber to better protect the Capitol's sandstone and marble and designed to blend into the architecture.
Though it may be may be difficult to determine whether the lumber came from the Moyie Springs, Chilco or Laclede facility, company officials are still trying to track it down.
"We ship out about 20 carloads a day from here," said Erol Deren, vice president of marketing from the company's Chilco plant. "We know that one of our distributors sent a fir/larch dimension to another distributor, who then shipped it to the White House to be used for the inaugural platform. We're still hoping to pinpoint which distributor it came from."
But Deren said that the photograph of pallets of lumber with Riley Creek's logo stacked in from the U.S. Capitol that was sent around the world via the Internet was accidental.
"A friend of Mark Brinkmeyer (Riley Creek President) happened to be in Washington, D.C, shortly before the platform was to be built, noticed the Riley Creek wrapping on a load of wood, took a picture of it and sent it back to the Chilco plant," said Deren. "We held onto it until the day of the inauguration and sent it to all our customers."
Many of those Deren emailed the photograph to thought it was a joke.
"They thought we doctored it," he laughed.
But a website showing a slideshow presentation of the inaugural platform construction convinced the majority of doubters.
Those who didn't see it, however, decided to get a little creative.
"A few we sent it to photo-shopped the picture by putting their logo over Riley Creek's for fun," he said. "Still, we think it's very cool that Riley Creek lumber was played a part in the inaugural platform. We couldn't be prouder."
To view the slideshow presentation, log onto http://inaugural.senate.gov/2009/slideshow-platformconstruction.cfm