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NEED $3.6 MILLION’ – Records raise questions about Malheur County rail center finances

Directors of the Malheur County Development Corp. participate in the Oct. 1 groundbreaking for the Treasure Valley Reload Center. They are, from left, Kay Riley, Grant Kitamura, Jason Pearson, Greg Smith and Lynn Findley. (Malheur County Economic Development Department photo)

The alarming note about the Treasure Valley Reload Center arrived in Greg Smith’s email in early January. 

The one-page handwritten note attached to the message provided the newest cost estimate from Brad Baird, the lead engineer on the Nyssa project.

“Need $3.6 million” beyond the $26 million budgeted to build the shipping center, his note said.

 “Wise to round up to $5 million,” he added.

Smith, the project manager and a state legislator, didn’t alert key officials to the development.

Instead, hours after getting Baird . . .