Aaron Corvin (Columbian Staff)

Comment history

Public asked to opine on Farwest plant at port

Hi toomuch,

I'm glad you raised the issue of the purchase and sale agreement the port signed with Farwest. It's a very important component to the overall issue.

Indeed, I reported the major highlights of the agreement in the same Aug. 11 story that reported the Board of Commissioners' decision to sell the land to Farwest.

To recap: Under the purchase and sale agreement, Farwest must maintain a minimum of 100 employees at the site. These may include independent contractors and temporary laborers, although Farwest's CEO said during the August hearing that it was his preference to employ full-time positions at the site.

As I reported previously, the purchase and sale agreement also places other conditions on the deal. The port will have the right to buy back the 20 acres from Farwest if:

* Construction of the company’s planned complex doesn’t begin within 12 months.
* The minimum employment level isn’t maintained by the company.
* The company puts the property up for sale.
* The company doesn’t keep the property in industrial use.
* Operations on the property stop.

As to the issue of how much the jobs generated by Farwest will pay, port officials have said the jobs will pay annual average wages of roughly $40,000 with benefits.

It should also be noted - and we've reported this previously - that Farwest plans to relocate 100 existing jobs to its new site and to eventually add another 128 workers. So, in the short-term, there would be 128 new jobs. The company also has said the port site is part of its larger plans to grow and add more jobs in the years ahead.

December 29, 2010 at 10:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Public asked to opine on Farwest plant at port

Just to clarify, and in response to Hawkeye's questions:

The Port of Vancouver sold the land to Farwest for $5 million, with the port's three elected commissioners voting unanimously in favor of it. In doing so, the port did make an exception to its longtime policy of leasing, instead of selling, land to companies.

The port's decision to sell, rather than lease, was based in part on the fact that the parcel Farwest purchased wasn't going to be crucial as a tie-in to other port operations. Moreover, Farwest didn't want to lease, it wanted to own the land, and the port was willing to take the chance that the deal would create jobs in the long run.

As to the company's move to obtain a building permit, as the Columbian reported previously, Farwest officials did meet with Vancouver city officials to discuss the regulatory standards the company would have to meet in order to obtain a building permit. That meeting occurred in July, roughly a month before the port's Board of Commissioners took the vote in August to approve the land deal.

As to why Farwest's move to obtain a building permit is a public process: the state's Environmental Policy Act requires governments to consider the environmental impacts of their actions, including issuing building permits. As part of that consideration, the public may comment on the potential environmental impacts.

I hope this helps. Thanks, aaron.

December 28, 2010 at 12:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )