Friday, January 10, 2014

Port of Portland Halts Terminal Development Plans

By Mark Edward Nero

A lengthy and complex process by the Port of Portland to annex West Hayden Island for a future marine terminal has come to an end. The port announced Jan. 8 that it is formally withdrawing its consent to annex the property into the City of Portland.

“The terms under which annexation has been proposed by the city would simply render a future development on the property impossible,” Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt explained. “We cannot justify the investment of more time and money into the process.”

The port owns more than 800 acres of property on the island, which is currently part of unincorporated Multnomah County and lacks the appropriate zoning and city services needed for marine terminal development.

In 2009, the port began a process at the request of then-City Commissioner Sam Adams to pursue annexation. Eventually, a proposal was formulated that would have preserved 500 acres as open space and 300 acres for future marine industrial development.

However, an annexation recommendation released by the city’s Planning and Sustainability Commission in July 2013 included new forms of mitigation that would have added an estimated $30 - $40 million in costs. The city indicated it was not willing to amend these terms, which led the port declaring that the annexation was impractical to proceed with.

“This is a disappointing and unfortunate outcome on several levels including lost economic opportunity for our region,” Wyatt said.

The port says it’s currently “reassessing short and long term future plans” for West Hayden Island, and that it has not counted out future annexation and development prospects for the island and its 300 developable acres.