MAY 11, 2017


Our Voice:  Harsh winter doesn’t cool excitement for Columbia Gardens

Herald Editorial Board, May 10, 2017, Tri-City Herald

It sure is nice to cruise down Columbia Drive and see progress.

The buildings for the Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village have quickly taken shape this spring despite a brutal winter that put the project behind schedule.

And this week the site that will soon be home to two wineries got a welcome influx of cash with an award of $2.2 million from Benton County. The money comes from the Rural Capital Fund, which is subsidized by the 0.09 sales tax rebate provided to local governments for economic development.

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Governor Inslee visits future habitat restoration and flood control site at Steigerwald Refuge

Dawn Feldhaus, May 11, 2017, Camas-Washougal Post-Record

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee participated in a driving tour Tuesday morning on the levee above the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge to learn about a $22 million habitat restoration and flood-control project expected to create more than 440 temporary jobs.

Some of the refuge is located inside the city limits of Washougal, and current plans call for a reconfiguration of the Port of Camas-Washougal’s existing levee system, by constructing two setback levees perpendicular to the Columbia River, north-south, at the same elevation as the current levee height — seven feet above the 500-year flood elevation.

According to information provided by the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, the reconfiguration would reduce flood risk, reconnect 912 acres of Columbia River floodplain and increase recreation opportunities at the refuge. The removal of 2.2 miles of the existing levee, constructed in 1965, would improve salmon habitat.

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Company proposes biofuel refinery in Cowlitz County

Marissa Luck, May 10, 2017, The Columbian

A Houston-based group of investors is again looking to develop a biofuel refinery in Cowlitz County, more than a year after their plans for oil, propane and biofuel projects were rejected by the Port of Longview. The refinery will focus on processing biofuel only, dropping earlier plans to process crude oil too. And the project won’t be built on Port of Longview property.

Riverside Renewables LLC would process 150 million gallons of virgin seed oil as a “drop-in” replacement fuel for diesel trucks, according to the company. The $500 million facility would process biofuel for domestic markets and would not use palm oil, said Lou Soumas, Riverside spokesman.

Riverside may also partner with a liquid petroleum gas provider to build a transfer terminal on its property, but there are no firm plans yet, Soumas said.

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Port of Friday Harbor selects candidate for executive director

May 10, 2017, San Juan Islander

Port of Friday Harbor Commissioners unanimously decided to make an offer to Todd Nicholson to become the new executive director of the Port. A West Point graduate, he is currently a civil design manager at Bonneville Power Administration.

Port Commission Chair Barbara Marrett said the citizen advisory group’s top choice was also Nicholson. If negotiations are successful, Commissioner Greg Hertel estimates Nicholson would start working for the Port mid to late summer.

The Port’s most recent Executive Director resigned after slightly over six months on the job. He started July 1, 2016 and resigned effective January 11, 2017. His tenure was marred by a controversial firing of an employee.

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