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Developer, city leaders hope to attract big business

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Michael Park stands before a wheat field he hopes will soon be developed by a larger manufacturer. Once a road is completed, he hopes a large industrial business will buy up plots in the Estacadas Industrial Park area.Michael Park, president of Park Development, gestured toward the large wheat field and said, “A 50 acre parcel is a big area. It could change this town. … If I land somebody here it will be a huge success.”

He is hoping to land a large industrial business that deals in metals manufacturing, anodizing, or the like. And that employs people by the thousands.

It’s a possibility that he could attract such as a business.

Why?

After jumping over several hurdles and climbing through “a lot of red tape” the land has at long last been approved for the construction of a half-mile long road and the infrastructure to support it.

The 50-acre plot is part of the Estacada industrial campus and lies adjacent to the Industrial Park.

Park pointed out that the development of Industrial Park, which also was his land, created more than 200 jobs in Estacada.

“What I provide for is the place to do it,” he said. “Principally what I do is provide the space.”

He wants to do something similar with the 50-acres now covered only with wheat.

Park, the former owner of the Safari Club, bought the land in 1988.

For a while he had a nursery, then grew Christmas trees.

But the idea to develop the land for industry has been a long time in the making.

“Twelve years I’ve been working on this,” Park said.

City Manager Bill Elliott explained some of the hurdles that had to be cleared for the road to be possible.

The first major challenge was to get the land within Estacada’s Urban Growth Boundary, which took some doing.

When Elliott became city manager four years ago, the project was still in process. And he’s “spent the whole four years working on it.”

Then the property had to be annexed by the city. That happened last year.

Once it came into the city, the land was re-zoned for industrial development.

This is exciting to Park and city leaders because it is one of the largest plots of land zoned for industrial use in Clackamas County.

“We would like to see it really succeed because it’s going to be one of the only large lots designated for industrial use in the metro area,” Elliott said.

A Local Improvement District, or money loaned by the city for infrastructure to attract businesses, was recently approved.

The city of Estacada will open bids to put in infrastructure such as water, sewer and power and to construct the road on June 26.

Elliott anticipates the City Council will likely award bids at its meeting on Monday, July 8.

“That’s assuming we get good bids that are within the budget. I think we will,” Elliott said.

“It’s a city project because the funding is through the state of Oregon and it’s a public job,” Park said and noted that when the job is done, “the road and all the improvements” will belong to the city.

Elliott estimates the whole project could be completed by the end of the summer.

“It’s going to go pretty quick once we get a contractor on board,” he said.

Once the infrastructure and road are put in, it’s up to Park to attract businesses to the surrounding property.

Park hopes that businesses will buy lots from him and develop them and build their own buildings, though he could be persuaded to put in a building or two.

“It’s a gamble whether this will work, but I think it will,” he said.

He explained that if, for example, a big steel company decided to develop on the property all the lots around it would sell quickly because businesses would want to be near the steel company.

Elliott pointed out that there are two challenges to attracting such a business: There’s no natural gas in the area and the land is not adjacent to a freeway, creating issues with the ease of transportation.

“Other than that it’s absolutely perfect,” Elliott said.

Mayor Brent Dodrill is excited about the project.

“I think it could be a great boom for Estacada,” he said. “I think it could bring a lot of jobs.”

Park is writing letters to promote development of the land.

“When you start building a road, it gets exciting. It really does,” he said.




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