Columbia Pulp to Break Ground in Spring

Monday, Feb 02, 2015

Columbia Pulp plans to break ground at its building site on Highway 261 near Lyons Ferry this March or April, according to Company President John Begley.

“And it will be about a year until we’re up and running,” he told The Times last week.

Melissa Shumake with the Columbia County Planning Department told county commissioners in their board meeting last week that Columbia Pulp plans to “bring in a check” for its building permits on the first day of February.

County Planning Director Kim Lyonnais is encouraged by the progress that has been made so far. “They’ve been pretty active,” he said. “They’ve cleared some major, major hurdles.”

The company was hopeful back in May that construction would begin in the fall on the facility that will sit on 40 acres along the highway just south of Lyons Ferry Marina. The plant, which plans to produce more than 400 tons of pulp daily, was hoping to begin buying and processing straw by the end of harvest 2015.

“They’ve been working hard to satisfy the requirements of numerous state agencies and concerns from the tribes, Fish & Wildlife, environmental reviews,” Lyonnais told The Times on Friday. “In all of that process, it looks like they’re very, very close to beginning the project on the ground. They’ll start moving dirt here shortly.”

The LLC has now received its Department of Transportation approval for access to the highway, entered its construction notice to the state, and put in for its air quality permit, Lyonnais said.

“We’ve looked at their plans already but we’re expecting more information on the types of buildings and building methods,” he said. “We’ve already met with the superintendent of the construction crew. We’re quite a ways along.”

Columbia Pulp plans to purchase approximately 220,000 tons of wheat and alfalfa straw per year from farmers in southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon.

The business opened an office in downtown Dayton at the end of last year and has begun recruiting for the 100 or more hourly operations positions. Begley told county commissioners last year that the firm anticipates employing 135 workers at its new facility. That translates to an annual payroll of over $10 million.


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