Centralia Coal Transition Economic & Community Development Board invests in economic growth at the Port of Chehalis

For immediate release

Centralia, (September 20, 2018) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board (“ECD Board”) is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to the Port of Chehalis to support economic growth. The board approved a grant in the amount of $650,000 to support the construction of an affordable, flexible space suitable for small businesses and startups in the industrial, manufacturing, and technology industries on port-owned land in the Chehalis Industrial Park. The proposed site has already been filled and graded, a road has been constructed and utilities are ready to serve the site.

“A project that supports job opportunities falls well within the mission of the ECD Board,” said Lori Schmitt, member of the ECD Board. “There will be job opportunities to build the facility and if all goes as planned, the building will have tenants within a year. The board is looking forward to the commencement of construction and hearing that leases are being signed.”

The ECD Board was formed as a result of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington to transition the Centralia plant away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December 2020 and the second unit in December 2025.

Port Commission President Mark Anders said “The Port of Chehalis is very appreciative and thankful for this additional support. These funds will allow us to build a much bigger facility than originally planned, which will accommodate more jobs and give a bigger boost to the local economy. Next year more people will be coming to work every day at their jobs in this new building in McBride Court at the Chehalis Industrial Park, all thanks to the additional support from the Centralia Coal Transition Grants”.

The Port of Chehalis was established in 1986 by a vote of the people and is one of 75 public port districts in Washington State. The mission of the Port of Chehalis is to grow and diversify the local economy, and to foster high quality job creation.

Overview of the Funding Boards

Annual payments for the funding boards began in 2012 with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

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