By Greg Smith
Malheur County Development Corporation
The project has come very far since 2017, when it was simply an idea to help bring a competitive edge to Treasure Valley agricultural products being shipped to various markets across the United States. The seven-member volunteer board has accomplished the following key milestones over the years:
- Located a piece of property with suitable rail access.
- The property was formerly exclusive farm use, and MCDC went through the process of rezoning it to industrial for outright use.
- Obtain an Industrial Track Agreement from Union Pacific.
- Negotiate with Americold Logistics to bring them in as the operator of the facility.
- Helped bring together 13 of the area’s prominent shippers to help negotiate with Americold.
All the while, MCDC has maintained financial records to account for all funds spent on the project, with a yearly audit that has come back clean every time. MCDC has tremendous local partners in this endeavor, including but not limited to-
- Malheur County
- Yturri Rose
- Lonny Hytrek CPA
- Wheatland Insurance
- Anderson Perry
And many more key partners that have helped the project progress.
Despite the trials and tribulations during the project’s lifespan including the COVID pandemic, historic inflation, labor shortages, and fuel price hikes – construction on the TVRC began in late 2021. The site now has extensive earthwork that has been completed, as well as approximately 19,000 feet of rail on the ground, with roughly 5,000 more to go! Also, supplies for the building itself have been purchased and delivered to the site.
The project is not without its struggles. With significant soft soils and hurdles aforementioned, the TVRC’s original budget of $25.6 million from a ConnectOregon grant is being exhausted. Additional funds to continue the project have already been located by MCDC and area partners, which includes $2 million from Malheur County, $3 million from the state’s emergency board, and $3 million that the City of Nyssa received to facilitate a water line to the property (which will also serve the surrounding industrial ground). It is not unusual for projects of this size and nature to face budgetary challenges during its development.
To completely finish out the project, and ensure that all contractors are made whole at the end of their efforts, the project is facing a $6.5 million deficit. Representative Mark Owens and Senator Lynn Findley are working in Salem to seek $5 million from the Oregon Legislature, and MCDC is also working with the Eastern Oregon Border Board on a potential $1.5 million allocation.
The MCDC board wants the public to know that the Treasure Valley Reload Center will be a tremendous asset to Malheur County, as well as the entire Treasure Valley. Local shippers will realize savings compared to traditional trucking shipments, the location itself will produce 12-15 family wage jobs, and the TVRC is the first of many industrial projects to be developed at the newly created industrial park. Because of the TVRC project, industrial power, water, roads, and rail are being brought to the site which will not only serve the shipping center, but future tenants that choose to locate their businesses at the park.