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Cascades considering new site in county

Paper products company possibly expanding operations into Scappoose

Cascades Tissue Group could be eying another site in Columbia County outside of their current operation at the former Boise Inc. mill in St. Helens.

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Cascades Tissue Group is considering Scappoose as a possible new location, among several other cities. The company has yet to choose a location, but tax breaks could provide extra incentive to the paper products manufacturer.The company is slated to apply to the state for an Oregon Investment Advantage tax break, possibly for a site in Scappoose.

Decisions on a new site location have yet to be announced by Cascades, a Canada-headquartered company.

A Cascades representative confirmed, however, that the tissue and paper products manufacturer is looking to expand its conversion facilities on the West Coast.

Documents presented to the Scappoose City Council Monday evening, May 2, indicate the city is being considered as the next site location.

“It's no secret that our company is seeking to double its conversion activities on the West Coast,” Hugo D'Amours, vice president of communications and information for Cascades, said Wednesday. "So far, we haven't made a decision where we want to do that.”

D'Amours said the company's site in St. Helens is primarily a production site. The new site would be focused on converting jumbo rolls of paper into other products.

Chuck Daughtry, executive director of the Columbia County Economic Team, said he's hopeful the county can entice Cascades to expand in Columbia County, rather than one of the other Pacific Northwest sites the company is considering.

If it does, Cascades could take advantage of an Oregon Investment Advantage through Business Oregon, which would give the company a break on income taxes it pays to the state.

The OIA isn't usually available in Columbia County, Daughtry said, but the county fell within the program's threshold for high unemployment and low per-capita income. Columbia is one of 20 counties with OIA eligibility until June 30.

“We just happen to fall below that threshold for a very short period of time,” Daughtry said.

In addition to a break on state income taxes, Cascades could also apply for enterprise zone benefits, which would exempt the company from county property taxes for a specified period, Daughtry noted.

“We've been talking for almost a couple years,” Daughtry said of Cascades. “We're real eager to get this out there because it's a big thing.”

To be eligible for OIA benefits, a company must create at least five new full-time, year-round jobs that pay at least minimum wage, and its operations must be the first of their kind in Oregon and not compete with existing local businesses.