CHELAN - The Port of Chelan County celebrated a milestone Wednesday for its efforts to clean up and redevelop the site of an old sawmill in the city of Cashmere, and the Washington State Department of Ecology is praising their efforts.
The location has a long and checkered history of activity within the small town, including lumber milling from the 1940s to the late 1970s and a variety of commercial and light industrial ventures in the 80s and 90s, all of which produced a large amount of contamination to its soil and groundwater.
In 2008, the Port purchased the 32.5-acre property with a goal of turning it into a thriving industrial hub that would attract businesses and create jobs in and around Cashmere.
The DOE aided the Port’s mission to revitalize the site by helping secure several grants totaling $5 million to fund the cleanup, as well as overseeing these processes through the department’s toxic waste removal program.
A total of 26,000 tons of wood waste and tainted soil was eventually removed from the location to make it ready for the construction of two 17,000-square-foot buildings which will greatly expand the local economy.
The two flex buildings are already generating some interest from a number of potential businesses and are planned for construction on the heels of the Louws Truss Company opening a new manufacturing facility in Cashmere earlier this summer. The Port also has the option of building two additional flex structures on the site which could support even more local commerce.
Port Commissioner JC Baldwin says the future of the site looks “very bright” and expressed excitement about the endeavor’s collaboration between DOE and Chelan County by adding, “This is what port districts do.”
Central region section manager for DOE’s Toxics Cleanup Program, Valerie Bound, also shared her enthusiasm about the project.
“We love to see this kind of positive impact for a community and we were happy to work with the staff from the Port to help make their vision a reality," she said.