Local government

County considers hiring consultant to push plans for industrial park near Nyssa

VALE – The Malheur County Court wants to find out what a 220-acre plot of land set aside for an industrial park can be used for and is considering retaining a Portland land engineering firm to develop options for the property.
The Arcadia Industrial Park is planned for land north of Nyssa and adjacent to Treasure Valley Reload Center.
The county court bought the property in 2019 and county taxpayers are funding payments on the loan used for the acquisition.
The county is contemplating a deal with Mackenzie, a Portland architecture, land use planning and civil engineering firm, to plan for the future use of the land.
“We haven’t made any decisions. We are just kicking it around, kind of brainstorming,” said Don Hodge, Malheur County commissioner.
If the county did move ahead on a contract with Mackenzie, the project would most likely be done in phases. The first phase would be to examine whether there were any existing restrictions to development, how big – in terms of facilities – the industrial park could be and whether the county should actively seek tenants for the site.
The first phase is also projected to assess what type of infrastructure may be necessary at the industrial park site. The creation of a market study and a preliminary site plan layout will also be part of the first phase contract.
While not set in stone, the county projects a contract would pay Mackenzie by the hour and for materials up to $10,000.
At the end of the first phase, the county would get a technical memorandum outlining strategies for the county to turn the farmland into industry.
Ron Jacobs, Malheur County commissioner, said he believes the county needs “to get going on this.”
“We feel we need to get that thing in a situation where we can start potentially having something to offer somebody,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs said he believes the industrial park could be offered to an array of business besides the onion industry.
“We are hoping other businesses and commodities can be shipped out of that,” he said.
He also said he’d heard Americold, the company contracted to operate the reload center, may be interested in managing the industrial park.
“I have not had any discussions with Americold,” said Jacobs.
Neither Hodge nor Jacobs said when the court would decide on a deal with Mackenzie.

The Arcadia Industrial Park remains a lingering piece of unfinished business in the larger Treasure Valley Reload Center saga.
The beleaguered rail project is years behind schedule and over budget but at least initially the industrial park was seen as a key development for the overall project.
Development of the industrial park was a key responsibility of Greg Smith in his time as the county’ economic development director. Smith, who is also a state representative from Heppner, was paid by the county to create a viable future plan for the industrial park.
That future meant obtaining $15 million through U.S. Transportation Department grant.
Yet in 2020 Smith and his team botched the application, providing virtually none of the information required to determine whether the county qualified for the federal cash. The agency deemed the proposal submitted by Smith to be “unacceptable.”
That meant after investing two years and thousands of taxpayer dollars the county lost out on the grant.
Smith resigned from his position as county economic development director in June.
News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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