Home Opinion Editorials Connect Oregon projects make impact
Connect Oregon projects make impact
The Connect Oregon grant program for multi-modal transportation
programs has proven to be a shot in the arm for many Oregon
communities. Northeast Oregon residents need look no further than the
excursion cars purchased by the Wallowa Union Railroad, Community
Connection’s transit hub in La Grande and, most recently, the Alicel
grain handling facility, which has combined the resources of private
industry with grant money to benefit the region as a whole.
The new grain storage bins and rail car loading facility, with a total value of $3.5 million, is the result of a joint project of Pendleton Grain Growers and Union County Economic Development Corp., with assistance from Union County. They combined efforts on a project that will enhance our wheat growers’ ability to store and ship their product. The project had to wait until the second round of funding to win approval for grant monies. But in the Connect Oregon II round of funding, the project was rated 12th on the priority list.
The two new gigantic bins that were constructed at Alicel will allow PGG to move grain that was formerly stored outside on the ground under cover, to store the grain longer if needed to ship when markets are stronger, and to move more of it out in rail cars. A rail car holds 33,000 bushels compared to a truck’s 1,000 bushels.
The 755,000-bushel storage facility can load four rail cars an hour. The project also included expansion of the rail siding so that 25 cars can be situated on the Alicel property.
The project was in the concept stage for a long time — until last year when funding was approved. But this year the project has become a reality thanks to Connect Oregon, PGG, UCEDC and Union County. This is the kind of partnership that will make a difference in Union County’s future.
Government grant programs sometimes get a bad rap. But when grant programs are based on sound projects that combine the best of the private and public sectors, they can make sense.
The Alicel grain storage facility is a case in point. It’s money well spent.