ORPET breaks ground

The long-awaited ORPET bottle recycling facility officially broke ground during an Aug. 31 ceremony. The plant is expected to open in early 2012. From left: ORPET project manager Bruce Sone, ORPET General Manager Mark Samuel, Port of St. Helens Executive Director Patrick Trapp, Jay Ward from Sen. Jeff Merkley's office, ORPET developer Dennis Denton and Columbia County Economic Team.

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More than a year behind schedule, construction on the $10 million ORPET bottle recycle plant at the Port of St. Helens is at long last under way. To mark this milestone, city and county representative joined state officials gathered at the site on Aug. 31 for an official groundbreaking ceremony.

"This rehabs an old site that had been a mill and as our economy shifted away from a natural resource based, we're now dealing with clearly an environmental issue and that's getting rid of these plastic bottles," said state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose).

The 25,000 square foot facility will process millions of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a food-grade plastic commonly used in beverage bottles, each year. ORPET expects to be up and running by January 2012.

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