Clatskanie ethanol plant to be union built

Hundreds of local construction trades workers will have an opportunity to put their skills to work on the development of an ethanol plant being built in Clatskanie, Oregon — the result of a project labor agreement reached between the Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council and general contractor JH Kelly.

Cascade Grain Products at Port Westward on the Columbia River will be the largest ethanol plant on the West Coast, producing 113.4 million gallons of corn-based dry mill fuel-grade ethanol per year. It will serve markets in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.

Approximately 70 full-time jobs will be created when the plant opens in early 2008.

Ethanol is an alternative fuel that is considered a sustainable resource, and its production warrants special tax incentives granted through a bill passed in 2005 by the Oregon Legislature.

Berggruen Holdings Inc. of New York owns the facility. Cascade Grain is the first facility in the corporation’s strategy to construct a series of strategically located ethanol plants.

JH Kelly LLC Ethanol will self-perform the site preparation; concrete; structural steel erection; multiple structure erection; tank, vessel and equipment installation; pipe fabrication; and piping installation.

“This project represents more than 400,000 hours and all the work will be performed by local building trades employees,” said John Mohlis, executive secretary-treasurer of the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council. “Construction will inject more than $100 million into the local economy, and those wages will stay right here in Oregon and Southwest Washington.”

The project labor agreement ensures that all workers involved in the project will receive health insurance benefits, an employer-paid pension and have appropriate training to ensure safe working conditions on the job, in addition to the wages they are paid.

“We are glad to be working closely with the community on this project and appreciate the opportunity to employ local craftspeople to build this plant,” stated Chuck Carlson, president of Cascade Grain Products. “We plan to be a part of this area for many years to come, and supporting working families is important to Cascade Grain.”

Construction work is set to begin in August.