The Port of Columbia County is taking steps toward wetland mitigation, in the hopes that their 837-acre rezone in the works from agricultural to industrial comes to pass.
This past week, the port bid for a 194-acre parcel to be used as wetland banking, according to Doug Hayes, Executive Director for the port. Located next to Clatskanie, the parcel is bordered by the Clatskanie River to the west, Beaver Slough to the north, and Stimson Lumber Mill to the south.
The parcel is one of 12 other parcels that were up for bid from Greenwood Resources Capital Management, according to a brochure on Realty Marketing/ Northwest’s website.
The 12 parcels, comprising 3,000 acres in total, are part of what was once a 31,000-acre poplar farm in Oregon and Washington, the same brochure states.
Jon Rosenfeld, president and broker with Realty Marketing/Northwest said that Greenwood Resources had managed the
investment fund for a while, and the fund was at the end of its investment time.
“The market for hardwood chips isn’t what it used to be. So its use today isn’t for a poplar farm, but for agriculture, as well as water use. We were hired to offer the entire portfolio, and we offered it in 12 individual parcels, because we thought we’d have more interest in parts than as a whole,” Rosenfeld said.
The bids were due Nov. 13. According to Scott Jensen, Planner for the port, the port will hear whether or not their bid was successful by Nov. 20.
The land will be used as mitigation for industries that will potentially be located in the land the port is attempting to rezone from agricultural to industrial.
“The property at Port Westward including the future rezoned property contains large quantities of potential wetlands where any impacts must be mitigated for development” a port staff report states.
The same staff report then describes the effort as wetland banking, something the report describes as something that can be more efficiently managed than many other smaller mitigation efforts.
There are no wetland mitigation banks in Columbia County, according to the staff report.
Doug Hayes, Executive Director for the port, said port staff had known for several months that Greenwood Resources was looking to sell property. However, Hayes said they did not find out about their decision to do an auction instead until about two weeks ago. When they received that decision, Hayes said port staff began doing their due diligence on the different parcels to find out what would be best for a mitigation bank.
Hayes said the port hired a consultant to test the soil on the property, finding out on Tuesday, Nov. 12, the day before bids were due, that the parcel would be suitable for mitigation.
Port staff said they cannot release the amount of the bid until results of the auction have been finalized.
Whether the port successfully attains the property or not could impact the outcome of the port’s rezone efforts.