Ports & Terminals

Port Of Morrow, Ore., Gets $19 Million Grant

The Port of Morrow, Ore., which sits on the Columbia River in the town of Boardman, was one of the 14 recipients of port-related grants from the Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, formerly known as TIGER grants. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), who represents the area, announced the $19,414,875 grant on his website December 7.

Walden said he worked with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to secure the grant, which will be used for the Port of Morrow’s Columbia River Barge Terminal Rail Access Project. The federal funds will be supplemented by a $6.5 million grant from the state for rail improvements.

Walden said the grant would “help expand the port’s rail network to enable rail-to-barge transloading at four marine terminals along the Columbia River.” Lisa Mittelsdorf, the port’s economic development director, told local media the construction would help the port attract new businesses. The port’s main cargoes now are solid waste, ethanol, wood chips and grain, but the new infrastructure could interest companies that move food and refrigerated containers.

One component of the rail enhancements will improve access to the Morrow County Grain Growers Terminal, which is already building five new 200,000-bushel storage bins, a new bottom-dump rail unloading facility, and conveyor systems. The state grant is paying for most of that work.

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“The enhancement to the port’s rail-to-barge system will enable the transloading of commodities directly between barges, ships and rail cars to create cost-effective shipping options for new and existing industries at the Port. This grant is vital for the completion of a project that will help reduce transportation costs, relieve rail congestion, create jobs, and facilitate the movement of U.S. exports. I am proud to have worked with Secretary Chao and the Port of Morrow team to secure this grant funding and look forward to the port’s successful completion of this project that will boost job growth and the local economy in our district and state.”

“This grant is a huge boost to the Port of Morrow and the economic development of the region,” said Port of Morrow General Manager Gary Neal. “Greg went above and beyond advocating for us at the Department of Transportation with letters of support and working closely with Secretary Chao. I’d like to thank Greg for his help, and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.”

The Port of Morrow is Oregon’s second largest port, and serves as the primary point for freight distribution, export, and value-added production of agriculture products in the region. The Snake-Columbia River system is a major export gateway for wheat and pulses.