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Yes to intermodal transload facility

The Brooks-Hopmere area is one of the proposed sites in the Willamette Valley for an Intermodal Transloading Facility. Millersburg on the north side of Albany is another site close to our area.

Transloading is the process of transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another—in this case, from truck to rail, to be shipping to ports in Portland and in Washington state.

The Oregon Shipping Group is assisting with the Oregon Port of Willamette’s proposal for the facility.  That group represents 50 business stakeholders and is led by Kevin Mannix. The proposal to the Oregon Department of Transportation included supporting letters from a variety of area business organizations as well as the agriculture industry.

The rationale for transloading facilities in the Willamette Valley is to more efficiently move products to foreign markets. Currently farm products are shipped via truck to ports for shipment overseas. The freeways in and around the Portland area are experiencing increased traffic counts which results in higher shipping costs for producers whose goods are stuck in traffic.

It is more efficient for producers to bypass clogged roadways in the metropolitan area by utilizing a transloading facility here in the mid-Willamette Valley. If Brooks-Hopmere wins the nod from the state, which will hand down its decision in late September, it will be a win for ag business here in the northern valley but certainly also a win for ag business in the southern Willamette Valley; shipping to Brooks would be cheaper than going all the way to ports in Portland or points north.

The Oregon Shipping Ground has laid the groundwork with adjourning commercial and residential neighbors. They have solicited comments and ideas, particularly when it comes to the Brooks-Interstate 5 interchange.  If Brooks-Hopmere is chosen as the site for the mid-Willamette Valley site there certainly would be improvements at that interchange. One should not expect improvement on the level of the recent Woodburn re-do.

The proposed facility at Brooks-Hopmere is not designed to add lots of jobs. As currently design the facility would feature a handful of positions. Though it is not heavy with jobs there are other benefits—increased global trade for western Oregon growers, fewer big rig trucks on Portland area freeways (this is important because most Keizerites travel to Portland occasionally) and, eventually an improved interchange that many north Keizer residents use.

The proposed sites—one next to May Trucking Company on the west side of the freeway, the other north of Brooklake Road next to the NORPAC plant—will not adversely affect those who live or have businesses in the area.

Agriculture is Oregon’s primary business and anything that can make it more competitive is a good thing. We support the Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Transloading Facility whether it is approved for the west or the east side of the freeway at Brooks-Hopmere. —LAZ