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About Random Lengths

From the About Random Lengths Brochure:

Introduction

This brochure will introduce you to Random Lengths and answer some basic questions about the company, its staff, its policies, and its approach to reporting prices, market activity, and industry issues.

Random Lengths closely guards its independence, so that its readers know that the information provided is unbiased and dependable. The company derives more than 98% of its operating revenues from subscriptions and book sales. It does not rely on, nor is it forced or inclined to answer to, advertisers or individual companies paying consulting fees.

Random Lengths also does not forecast prices. The Random Lengths reports provide up-to-date price and market information on activity that has occurred. To accomplish this in an unbiased manner, we cannot have any vested interest in forecasts.

If you have additional questions or comments, please contact Random Lengths at (888) 686-9925, rlmail@rlpi.com, or fax (800) 874-7979. Contact information for individual members of the editorial/reporting staff are on the Staff page of this Web site.

What is the history of Random Lengths?

Random Lengths first appeared in October 1944 as a monthly newsletter for the lumber industry in Western Oregon. Publication ceased during World War II. In 1949, a book titled “Random Lengths” was written by an industry association executive, Herb Cox. The newsletter reappeared in 1952 as a price guide distributed by a lumber brokerage, also operated by Cox.

In 1958, not long after Les Anderson joined the company, Random Lengths hired its first full-time employee, longtime editor Bill Dean. Dean had been the business editor for the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard. In the late 1960s, the brokerage and the publishing company were separated for ethical and business reasons, as Random Lengths had grown in its role as a price reporting service covering the North American industry.

From that time on, Random Lengths has focused solely on providing independent, unbiased reports on market prices, activity, and issues in the industry. No one on the Random Lengths staff is allowed to participate in the wood products markets or the futures market.

Les Anderson (1921-2000) was a pioneer in the electronic distribution of subscription newsletter information, utilizing the Telex machine in the early 1970s to meet demand for timely delivery of Random Lengths’ price guides. He also received NAWLA’s prestigious Mulrooney Award in 1987.

Over the years, other publications and services have been added to Random Lengths. They include the Yearbook, International, the Midweek Report, The Big Book directory of the industry, Yardstick, and Random Lengths My Print at www.rlmyprint.com.

The company has 14 full-time employees. All are at the company’s office in Eugene, Ore. Seven staff members are editors/reporters who cover the many market segments Random Lengths tracks.

Who owns Random Lengths now?

Jon Anderson, current president and publisher, is the sole owner. He began working for Random Lengths in 1974. The Anderson family has held an ownership position since 1958 and full ownership since the mid-1960s.

You can contact Jon Anderson at (888) 686-9925 or jpa@rlpi.com.

For more information about Random Lengths, see the About Random Lengths Brochure:

  • History, policies, and background
  • How prices are reported in Random Lengths
  • Basing contract prices on price reporting services like Random Lengths
  • Distribution of Random Lengths reports and copyrights
  • Copyrights and Random Lengths’ reports

Resources: 

About Random Lengths Brochure 

How to Read RL Brochure

Services Brochure

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