New onion warehouse gets OK

By Pat Caldwell
The Enterprise

VALE – The Vale Planning and Zoning Commission approved the site plan for a new onion storage warehouse last Thursday night.

The next step for Jamieson Produce will be to seek a building permit for the 180- by 226-foot bulk storage facility at 650 Hope Street.

No one spoke against the proposed structure at the meeting.

Vale City Manager Lynn Findley said the proposed warehouse is a good thing for the city.

“It is absolutely – Puts $2 million dollars of improvements on the tax rolls, and it extends the employment cycle for their jobs,” Findley said.

Findley said Jamieson Produce put great effort into ensuring the new structure would not be a nuisance for neighbors.

The company is “mindful of the noise, and they have mitigated most noise issues as the best that they can,” he said.

Findley said the firm plans to install noise-reducing drives on external fans motors in the warehouse.

“They are good neighbors,” Findley said.

Jamieson Produce, Findley said, boasts a sizeable presence in the local onion industry.

“They supply a good share of the onions for Fry Foods. They are a huge onion vendor,” he said.

Onions are a big economic engine for Malheur County, producing – depending upon the market – $80 million a year, according to Malheur County Extension agent Stuart Reitz.

“The single biggest cash crop is onions,” Reitz said.

Oregon Department of Agriculture statistics from 2013 valued the state’s onion crop that year at $106,334,000.

Reitz said the Columbia Basin and parts of the Willamette Valley also produce onions, but they don’t generate the kind of