Smith delivers reload update at Onion Growers meeting

Sarah Belner, right, and Jessica Lord staff the Nunhems (BASF) booth at the Idaho-Malheur County Onion Growers meeting at the Four Rivers Cultural Center on Tuesday. Greg Smith, project manager for the Treasure Valley Reload Center and officer to the development corporation board, delivered an update on Tuesday to attendees of the annual meeting. There were so many vendor booths this year, they stretched down toward the museum and into the Collins Room.

NYSSA — Developers of a planned reload center in Malheur County have been given the green light by Union Pacific Railroad officials to work toward 100% design on the rail portion of the facility.

Based on the 30% design of the rail layout facility submitted by RailPros (working on behalf of the Malheur County Development Corporation) and representation made to the railroad, UP officials said in a letter they plan to move forward with their tracks authorization process. This is subject to the corporation meeting certain requirements.

Greg Smith, reload facility project manager and officer to the development corporation board, gave an update of the reload center Tuesday during the annual Idaho-Malheur County Onion Growers meeting at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario.

Requirements include working with county road officials to address possible impact on potential increased road traffic on Gamble Island Road and Gem Avenue, as well as working with the railroad and road officials on addressing warning devices at the intersection, if needed.

The next steps include issuing a letter of agreement, and providing a deposit of $125,000 to the railroad in support of its engineering design review, design of the signal system and other UP engineering work.

Smith said that payment would be reimbursable from the project money being managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Another requirement is that the corporation must submit drawings of structures to be built as part of the reload center. Smith confirmed that work is being done by Anderson Perry & Associates. He said the firm has reached 30% design on its work, which is now being reviewed at ODOT.

In the meantime, the board will work with railroad market officials and sales representatives to prepare a service plan.

Seperately, a panel of growers and shippers is being formed to negotiate with the potential operator of the facility over terms of its operation and handling costs.

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