By Pat Caldwell
VALE – The Malheur County Development Corp. last week collected more data on five possible sites for a new rail shipping center in Malheur County.
The appointed seven-member board is planning the project, which will use $26 million from the state. Sites near Ontario and Nyssa are being considered.
At such a facility, farm products are trucked in and loaded onto trains that can make a run to the East Coast in days. Each train holds several hundred truckloads of goods, lowering freight costs and speeding delivery.
The center, which could employ up to 125 people, is expected to be a big boost for Malheur County’s onion industry.
At last week’s meeting, Greg Smith, Malheur County Economic Development director, reviewed the next steps to build the facility before the board moved into an executive, or closed, session. By state law, the public doesn’t have access to that portion of the meeting.
The next major step for the nonprofit corporation is to create a pre-application for the facility. Dec. 15 is the deadline for submitting a pre-application to the Oregon Transportation Commission, and Smith said he plans to have it completed by Nov. 15.
After Dec. 15, Smith said, the corporation will be invited to make a presentation to the commission. He said he will ask the commission to release 5 percent of the $26 million earmarked for the shipping center.
That money would be used for engineering and early design work.
Have a news tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or (541) 473-3377
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