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Ceremony breaks ground on sewer system

A ground breaking ceremony began the process of developing a sewer and wastewater treatment plant in Dallesport.

New businesses and jobs may come to Dallesport as the result of a sewer system and wastewater treatment plant, for which a groundbreaking ceremony occurred Tuesday at the Port of Klickitat.

"We hope that the port property, once it has a sewer system on it, will generate between 300 to 500 jobs," says Dana Peck, director of economic and resource development for Klickitat County.

"What we're targeting is light manufacturing, small machine shops, which is a fit with the unemployed workforce in the county. The bottom line is we're trying to recruit jobs for people who are already here."

The project -- which will serve 375 existing homes and include 20 miles of pipe, three lift stations and two generator buildings -- "will run parallel to a Port of Klickitat undertaking to develop an approximately 100-acre industrial park along [Highway] 197," Peck says. "In eight to 12 months that site will look pretty different."

The sewer system will also serve the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, where light industrial development is planned once the system is complete.

"We've never had infrastructure," says Bill Coles, airport manager for The Dalles. "The sewer system is quite big for us. We have 968 acres at the airport and a whole bunch is developable. It's probably one of the largest blocks of land between here and Portland and it has two railroads, a major freeway and the river. We're a sleeping giant. Once the sewer goes in nobody is stopping us."

According to Klickitat County documents, the project will cost almost $16 million, including a $10 million loan from the State Public Works Trust Fund, $2.2 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration, and the balance through various state loans and grants.

The overall sewer project is scheduled for completion by Jan. 30, 2003.


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