The Port of Columbia, in Dayton, Wash., northeast of Walla Walla, has unveiled preliminary site plans for an envisioned organic food-processing complex, to be called Blue Mountain Station, that it intends to develop at the west end of that small farming community.
The port says it held a public presentation on the "site plans-in-progress" earlier this month to give interested businesses and residents a project update.
It announced in December that it had bought 28 acres of land for the complex, which it hopes to use as a catalyst to boost the economy in Columbia County by attracting eco-friendly artisans and tourists.
Tenants would process the natural and organic produce brought to Blue Mountain Station, named after the nearby Blue Mountains and an old railroad station there, but would be able to keep their own brand identity while participating in a joint marketing program. That program is to include focuses on culinary tourism, sales at an on-site deli and market, sales through the Blue Mountain Station Web site and catalog, and promotions at major food shows.
The port has been working on Blue Mountain Station since the project was recommended in a marketing plan presented in April 2008. A feasibility study completed last June confirmed the project is feasible and could provide needed economic vitality and job growth to the county.
A month later, the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board approved a $1 million loan-grant package to help pay for the land purchase and initial infrastructure development.
The Walla Walla office of Anchorage-based USKH Inc., which also has an office in Spokane, is designing Blue Mountain Station.
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