The Bonneville Power Administration’s new regional maintenance headquarters at its Ross Complex in the Minnehaha neighborhood is taking shape and well on its way to completion.
The $20 million investment consolidates five service crews from four locations and their equipment into one location on the roughly 270-acre Ross Complex. BPA officials say the consolidation will enable crews to more quickly respond to power grid issues between Cascade Locks, Ore., and Astoria, Ore.
“We predict it’ll save about an hour with guys all being in one place,” said Brad Wright, BPA facility planning project manager.
It’ll also benefit the surrounding homeowners by taking maintenance trucks and personnel traffic off 10th Avenue by creating one entrance with a dedicated turn lane on Northeast Minnehaha Street that will lead into the facility.
Earlier this year, a berm between the complex and Minnehaha was removed along with several trees. By the time the project is complete, the edge of the property will be revegetated with about 25 trees along the street to shield the project.
Additionally, an existing entrance off Minnehaha Street near Northeast St. James Road will be improved for better security and vehicle access.
The maintenance headquarters will have two new facilities built on-site, one for personnel and the other for trucks and other equipment. The buildings will be equipped with solar panels that will create as much energy on site as they will consume. Behind them will be an area where transmission, substation and communications crews can stage equipment and materials they’ll need before heading out to a location.
Wright said earthquakes were a big concern in the previous maintenance headquarters since they were designed between the 1940s and ’70s and thus didn’t meet current seismic standards. But the new buildings are considered essential facilities by BPA so they were built beyond seismic standards.
“So that when the big shake happens, this building will be here and everything inside will stand pat,” he said. “Even if the power is out in the local area, we’ve got a generator we can hook up, get the building going and get out and take care of the surrounding area.”
Construction is expected to be finished in the summer and the site overall is expected fully operational in the early fall.
The maintenance facility consolidation in Vancouver is one of several happening around the region. The BPA is a federal agency that operates in parts of eight states.