The Klickitat County Board of Commissioners has accepted a bid of $460,000 to develop infrastructure on five lots at the Dallesport Industrial Park.
Crestline, a company based in The Dalles, outbid four other companies. Bids ranged from Crestline's $460,000 to as high as $671,000.
According to County Commissioner Don Struck, Crestline will install underground utilities, prepare the sites with grading, and enhance the entrance to the industrial park with landscaping and irrigation.
Money from the Rabanco Regional Landfill in Roosevelt will be used to cover the costs of the project. The land belongs to the Port of Klickitat, but the commissioners don't see any problem investing public money into land that will eventually be occupied by private business.
"It's all about creating jobs, and the best way to do it is to create infrastructure for the people looking to relocate a business," Struck explained. "I think we'll find that it was money well spent."
Dana Peck, director of the county's Economy Development Department, said the local government must develop the infrastructure in order to attract industry.
"You have to have the land ready, so if someone shows up and says `I would like to relocate,' they can come in tomorrow," Peck said.
Peck noted that any area reasonably near a metropolitan area -- such as Portland -- that develops infrastructure for industry eventually is successful in drawing business. However, he added that no one ever knows when "eventually" is.
According to Peck, "eventually" may not be too far off. He said at least one business has its eyes on the Dallesport Industrial Park.
"There is one and maybe more businesses that are interested in moving there sooner than later," Peck said.
Peck agreed with the commissioners about investing landfill dollars in projects that some day will have the ability to make returns. People like to see money spent on services, but it takes spending money to develop private sector industry to create a sustainable economy, Peck said.
"Either invest it [landfill dollars] in something that's going to put an economy back under us or it's gone," Peck said.