Greg Smith, Malheur County economic development director, has led contract negotiations between Americold and the economic development corporation. (The Enterprise/FILE)

The Malheur County Development Corp., owner of the Treasure Valley Reload Center, is 19 months behind on closing a deal with Americold to operate the rail center in Nyssa, according to state documents.

As of Friday, July 30, the company still had not signed any such agreement.

Based on public records, here is how Malheur County Development Corp., administered by Greg Smith of the Malheur County Economic Development Department, reported to the state about progress on this crucial agreement:

Original due date: Dec. 16, 2019

Dec. 12, 2019 – MCDC requests delay for agreement until Feb. 15, 2020. “Discussions with the proposed operator are moving quickly.”

Feb. 15, 2020 – New due date for agreement comes and goes without completion; work is 70% done.

March 15, 2020 – New due date for agreement comes and goes without completion; work is 70% done.

May 2020 – “The potential terminal operator confirmed their participation with the TVRC.”

June 2020 – “Once the two proposed meetings - one meeting on July 7th and one meeting in mid-July - have transpired, the TVRC project will begin making substantial strides.” 

July 2020 – “Although the completion percentages essentially have not altered from June, the month of July noted advancements for the TVRC project.” Due date for agreement now: Oct. 30, 2020.

Aug. 5, 2020 – Work on agreement is 75% complete.

Sept. 2, 2020 – Work remains 75% complete.

Oct. 7, 2020 – Work remains 75% complete. 

Oct. 30, 2020 – New due date of for agreement comes and goes without completion. “On the topic of the potential operator, their legal counsel has begun to review our ODOT contract, which is going to be used as the basis for an operating agreement.”

Dec. 2, 2020 – Work on agreement is 80% complete.

Dec. 23, 2020 – State report to Oregon Transportation Commission about status of the Nyssa project: “The TV Team is very close to an operator agreement. However, Americold as the operator is still working thru the final terms and conditions with their legal team. One item that is being worked is the final ownership of the facility.”  

Jan. 6, 2021 – Work on agreement is 95% complete and will be done by Jan. 20, 2021.

Jan. 12, 2021 – State report to Oregon Transportation Commission said staff is “confident” that MCDC and Americold “will complete a formal operator agreement soon.”

Feb. 3, 2021 – Work remains listed as 95% complete. “The operator agreement is nearing completion.”

March 3, 2021 – Work still listed as 95% complete.

April 7, 2021 - Work still listed as 95% complete. “Our primary focus during April was towards finalizing the operator agreement.”

April 9, 2021 – State writes to Greg Smith about the missing operator agreement. “Your failure to submit these documents, as well as subsequent discussions, has led the department to question MCDC’s previous assertions and assurances.”

May 5 - Work still listed as 95% complete. “It is important to note that progress has been made with numerous conversations occurring over the course of the month.”

June 2 - Work still listed as 95% complete. “The lease/operator agreement has been finalized and agreed upon in principle. Malheur County Development Corporation has approved and signed the document, and Americold will sign no later than July 30, 2021.”

June 15 – MCDC submits draft lease to the state, but it remains unsigned by Americold.

July 7 – Work still listed as 95% complete, new final date set is July 31.

July 30 – Day ends with no signed lease from Americold.

RELATED COVERAGE:

WATCHDOG: Nyssa rail center, public money, and a most unusual deal

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State gives green light to rail reload center

Records law used to pry free Malheur County project documents

Malheur County scraps one land deal, as reload dates get extended

Malheur County Court approves commitment letter for rail reload center

Malheur County plans to ink deal with major logistics firm to operate rail center

Malheur County pursues major logistics company to operate rail center

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