Rail reload zoning meeting slated Tuesday

NYSSA – A special meeting Tuesday night at Nyssa High School will consider a major land-use move to make way for a rail reload center north of town.

The Nyssa and county planning commissions, Nyssa City Council and the Malheur County Court will convene to consider reclassifying 358 acres of farm land to industrial uses and moving it into the Nyssa urban growth boundary.

The transfer is necessary to make room for the rail reload facility slated for construction next year.

“We need that in order to be able to grow,” said Jim Maret, Nyssa city manager.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and the public can ask questions and comment.

Maret said he expects questions and is confident officials will have answers.

The rail reload center will be situated along Arcadia Boulevard and adjacent to Union Pacific tracks.

“We have got to have (the rezone) in order to get them to be able to have the rail reload facility,” said Maret.

Maret said 358 acres is a large amount of land at first glance.

“But, overall, in the scheme of things if you look at the size of Malheur County as far as acreage goes, it is a drop in the bucket,” said Maret.

 “The thing you do when you do these things is you make sure you have any issue that could crop up you already have answers to them. The surveys, all the testing, has been done,” said Maret.

Maret said the meeting is important.

“We need to do this not only for the reload facility but for the county and the city and the state. This is a big deal and we need to band together and make it work,” said Maret.

Greg Smith, Malheur County economic development director, was scheduled to present the final plan for the facility to the state Transportation Commission Thursday in Salem. That could lead to the release of about $24 million in state funds for the project.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.