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Malheur County rail center seen as a boon for economy

By Pat Caldwell

The Enterprise

ONTARIO — The economic impact area for a proposed rail shipping depot in Malheur County will extend across eastern and central Oregon and far into Idaho.

That was one of the new pieces of information delivered Thursday night in Ontario by state Rep. Cliff Bentz as he started planning how to use $26 million in state funds for the project.

The shipping depot would form special trains loaded with area produce that is trucked in. The trains would then head east, cutting time and costs for the local agriculture industry. The depot also would create new jobs.

“This will be a real salvation for our industry,” said Grant Kitamura, general manager of Murakami Produce, a local onion packing firm.

Bentz sponsored the meeting at Fiesta Guadalajara restaurant, giving a slide show regarding the facility to a large group crowded into a conference room.

Bentz . . .