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Large propane terminal proposed for Portland

A Canadian company wants to build a major rail-based propane storage and export terminal in Portland that could receive approximately 37,000 barrels a year by 2018, the Port of Portland announced Tuesday.

"This is great news," Mayor Charlie Hales said in a prepared statement. "We welcome this investment and these jobs in Portland. The city is committed to growing our economy on the land we already have, and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards. This proposal meets these goals."

The project is still in the planning stage and will likely require a number of permits from regulatory agencies. If approved and constructed, most of the propane would be exported to Asian markets, where it is used for various residential and industrial purposes.

"We have been extremely discerning when considering recent energy sector cargo opportunities, and after saying 'no' to coal and 'not now' to crude by rail, we are confident that we are saying 'yes' to the right partner at the right time," Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said in the statement. "Propane has an excellent track record as a clean and safe alternative fuel, and I am impressed by the level of experience, expertise and commitment to safety that Pembina brings to the table."

According to the port, the Pembrian Pipeline Corporation is planning to construct and operate the facility on land adjacent to the east end of the Port's marine Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District. The company, which is based in Calgary, Alberta, is one of Canada's leading providers of transportation and logistics for the North American energy sector.

"Signing an agreement with the Port of Portland is a tremendous start to making this project real. It marks the beginning of consulting with government and stakeholders," Mick Dilger, Pembina's President and CEO, said in the statement. "Building trust with the communities where we operate is a top priority for Pembina. Over the last 60 years, we've developed a reputation for honesty, transparency and treating our stakeholders with respect."

The port says the company will invest over $500 million in the facility, making it one of the largest single private capital investments in the city's history. The project will create between 600 and 800 temporary construction jobs and approximately 35 to 40 new, permanent positions to operate the terminal. This employment is valued at approximately $7.2 million in wages and benefits annually.

In addition, an estimated $3.3 million in annual tax revenues would go to the City of Portland, as well as $2.4 million to Multnomah County and $3.1 million to Portland Public Schools annually.

"It is not an overstatement to say this would be transformative not only for the Port's bottom line, but for the significant influx of city, county and state tax revenue supporting our region," Wyatt said. "We already handle exports of potash and wheat from Canada, and we're excited to serve as the gateway for this new cargo type from our neighbors to the north."