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Port Westward Rezone

Posted on 30th January 2014 at 17:10

As soon as the Columbia County Commissioners announced their vote to rezone 837 acres of farmland at Port Westward near Clatskanie, a local farmer and an environmental group announced their plans to challenge that action. Last night, the Commissioners voted unanimously to change the zoning on 837 acres of land adjacent to the current industrial park at Port Westward, looking to make that land available for development. Local mint farmer Mike Seely, who has just signed a $10 million contract with the Whole Foods Market chain, says that he plans to challenge the decision with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. Columbia Riverkeeper also announced plans to contest the decision; both Seely and Columbia Riverkeeper say that this move will bring more coal and oil trains to the area, increasing the danger to people and the environment. Pat Trapp with the Port of St. Helens says that this is just a first step, looking to make more land available for industry. The 837 acres is currently used as a tree farm. Trapp says that no projects are planned at this time, and any proposals would require permits that include multiple opportunities for public input.