“Three Douglas County properties get boost to attract developers”
Ryan Imondi, November 1, 2012, The News Review
Three vacant pieces of property in job-starvedDouglasCountyhave received a special designation by state economic development officials to make them more attractive to industrial developers.
The 32-acre Sutherlin Industrial Park, 130 acres along Del Rio Road at Winchester and 200 acres just northwest of Sutherlin on Stearns Lane have been collectively designated as a “regionally significant industrial area,” putting them in line for fast-tracked permits and infrastructure funding.
“It’s an additional marketing tool,” said Alex Campbell, executive director ofDouglasCounty’s economic development council, The Partnership, which proposed the designation.
“It could significantly contribute to the regional economic development,” he said.
Two state economic development agencies, Business Oregon and Economic Recovery Review Council, recently approved the designation, one of the first in the state.
The state plans to designate between five and 15 industrial areas in Oregon as regionally significant to highlight their availability and advantages for industrial development, Business Oregon’s industrial lands specialist, Mike Williams, said.
The Sutherlin Industrial Park, a former airport owned byDouglasCounty, has been listed at $1.6 million.
The asking price forStearns Lane, owned by the Alaska Sutherland Knolls Corp., is $8.7 million.
The property on Del Rio Road, owned by Douglas County Forest Products and marketed as the Back Nine Development, has not been listed.
Douglas County Forest Products partner John Blodgett said the company held off on listing the site, which was the site of a Roseburg Forest Products mill, until the designation came through.
He said the designation reaffirms benefits the company knew existed with the property.
“We’re certainly excited about how it has a great location and great access,” he said.
The land, just north ofRoseburg’s city limit, is close to a freight rail switchyard and benefited from the recent realignment of the Winchester I-5 interchange.
Mike Parker, president of MAP Engineering which oversees theStearns Laneproperty, said the designation may draw the attention of companies that may not normally look at the region.
“We’re fairly rural so people may not be aware that we have the resources available to handle operational facilities,” he said.
In making its pitch to the state, The Partnership notedDouglasCounty’s high unemployment rate and the closure or downsizing of large companies.
A staff analysis on the application noted that the designation could help the Back Nine property andSutherlinIndustrial Park, both near I-5, from being converted to other uses than industrial development.