Port of Columbia Awarded Funds for a Craft Malt Facility

The Port of Columbia has been awarded a $5 million grant and loan package from the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) for construction of a craft malt facility at Blue Mountain Station. The package consists of a $3,750,000 loan and $1,250,000 grant. The committed private partner, Mainstem Malt, will be investing an amount equal or greater than $5 million for this project. This funding will connect to and extend existing infrastructure and construct a 12,000 square foot building that will house a class malt facility to help Mainstem Malt operate long term. The Port will build and own the building which will be leased to Mainstem Malt.

Mainstem Malt is the committed private partner for this project. This company focuses on craft malt which is the practice of malting barley on a small-scale for craft beer and distillers.  Currently Mainstem has been partnering with a few craft malt facilities in the PNW, but with this new facility they will be able to malt their own barley and expand their capacity. They partner with growers that use regenerative and sustainable growing practices.

Grains, most common being barley, are malted so the grain can be transformed into a simpler sugar. Then in the fermentation process for distillers and brewers, the yeast has an easier time digesting this simpler form of sugar.  The process is roughly a week for barley malting, which is the most common form of malting. First step is steeping or soaking the grain. Next is germination. The grain is left to sprout into a seedling. Final step is kilning, heating the grain to produce its final color and flavor. Malt can be used for brewing, distilling and food production. Jacob Weinhard had a malt house in Dayton, WA back in the 1880s. This malt facility connects us back to our roots!

This project is supporting business expansion and positive economic growth in Columbia County. By leasing a building, the costs of a malting facility are greatly reduced which supports Mainstem Malt’s growth. This project is estimated to create and retain 7 direct jobs, as well as an estimated 8 indirect jobs during construction.  It will also generate considerable tax revenues for the county. The malt facility will continue to contribute value to locally produced barely and opens new markets for farmers in the local region to contract with Mainstem Malt and grow barley that meets their standards.

Phil Neumann CEO & Co-Founder of Mainstem Malt has this to say about the project, “Mainstem came to market in 2016 with the goal of connecting our region’s family farms to craft brewers and distillers, all through a key ingredient in beer and spirits: malted grain. By working with established malting facilities to process our farmers’ grain, we’ve grown into one of just a handful of “craft malt” brands serving the West Coast and feel strongly about our long-term place in this market, but our company’s future became too uncertain without a facility of its own. My outreach to Jennie in 2023 spurred a 12-month planning effort to explore a proper solution with the Port, ideally not just for Mainstem, but for other rural grains businesses facing similar challenges. We all feel like we ended up with something very special that could serve as a model for public-private partnerships in other agricultural regions around the world. We all feel like we ended up with something very special that could serve as a model for similar public-private partnerships in agricultural regions around the world. And the vote of confidence we just received from CERB comes as a tremendous boost to all parties involved as we continue to bring this project to shovel-ready status.”

Craft Malt Funding

The Port of Columbia is considering applying to the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) for funds to connect to existing infrastructure and construct a craft malt processing building at the Blue Mountain Station Food Park. The Port would apply for a $5 million grant/loan package for this project. The private sector partner, Mainstem Malt, would invest an amount equal to or greater than $5 million for the project.

The Port of Columbia Commissioners will hear a presentation on the project and consider approving a resolution authorizing Port staff to apply for these funds at their regular commission meeting Wednesday, March 13 at 5 pm at the Port office or via Zoom.

An agenda and Zoom link can be found on the homepage of the Port’s website at www.portofcolumbia.org.

Port Sets Budget Hearing

The Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the 2024 preliminary budget during their regular meeting Wednesday, November 8 at the Port main office at 1 Port Way, Dayton, WA 99328 and via Zoom. The hearing starts at 5:10 pm.  A paper copy of the budget can be picked up at the Port office during regular business hours, or an electronic version can be viewed here.

Notice of Public Hearing on Sale of Port Property for Business Expansion

Notice is hereby given that the Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on January 11, 2023 at 5:15 pm in the Port Conference Room at 1 Port Way, Dayton, WA to consider authorizing the sale of vacant lots U & V in the Rock Hill Industrial Tracts 2 located on Cameron Street in Dayton, WA.

Table Rock Meat Co has made a request to purchase the two lots, comprised of 2.6 acres, for the proposed construction of a USDA certified meat processing facility. A full packet of information including, but not limited to, a map of the property, the appraisals used to determine sale price, and the prospective business development plan can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Revised Resolution #2023-01 

Any citizen wishing to comment on this potential land sale may do so during the public hearing. The Port Commission must decide whether to proceed with the sale within 3 days of the public hearing, followed by a 20-day appeal period prior to the completion of sale.

Notice of Preliminary Budget and Public Hearing

Notice is hereby given that the Preliminary Budget for the Port of Columbia for 2022 has been prepared and is on file at the Port Main Office at 1 Port Way, Dayton, WA.  The budget can also be viewed on the Port’s website at www.portofcolumbia.org/port-info/policies-plans-budget/.  Any taxpayer may obtain a hard copy of said budget at the Port office during regular business hours.  A public hearing on the budget will be held November 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm during the Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners regular meeting via Zoom. The Zoom meeting link is http://bit.ly/PortZoom and can also be found on the homepage of our website at www.portofcolumbia.org.
Dated at Dayton, Columbia County, Washington, on the 27th day of October and the 3rd day of November, 2021.

Click here to download the budget hearing notice Oct 2021

Small Business Start-Up Grants

The Port of Columbia has opened a new grant opportunity for start-up businesses in Columbia County. Through funding provided by Innovia, a private foundation that serves eastern Washington and northern Idaho, the Port of Columbia is offering micro-grants to start-up businesses. Grants not to exceed $5,000 will be awarded to qualifying businesses upon review and recommendation by a local committee.

Qualifications for applying include, but are not limited to:

  • Business Plan
  • Business License
  • Ability to have a business location physically secured, in Columbia County, within 30 days of the grant award
  • Copies of estimates of planned expenditures or invoices of expenses incurred
  • Must be a business that has not yet started operating or has not been in operation more than 3 months
  • Has not received any previous grants from the Port of Columbia

The Port received a $15,000 award from Innovia for the program, and will be passing 100% of the funds through to start-up businesses.

In 2020, the Port offered a similar program with funds received from Innovia. That program assisted in the location of two new businesses in downtown Dayton – Main Street Marketplace and Table Rock Meat Co.

Grant information and an application form can be found on the Port’s website at https://www.portofcolumbia.org/economic-development/business-assistance/ . Applications are due September 30th.

Port of Columbia Awarded $2 Million Broadband Infrastructure Grant

DAYTON, WA – Port of Columbia staff, along with private partner Columbia iConnect, made a presentation to the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) on Thursday, July 14th in Olympia and left with a $2 million award.

Acceptance of the $2 million grant is contingent upon the community providing $500,000 in matching funds. The Port applied for and received $20,000 from the Sherwood Trust, $15,000 from the Warren Community Fund, and $13,500 from the Dayton Columbia County Fund to use as matching funds, and has pledged $20,000 from their 2021 budget for the project as well.

“This is a rare opportunity to bring hard-earned federal tax dollars back to our community for the benefit of our citizens,” stated Jennie Dickinson, Port of Columbia executive director. “A relatively small local contribution by the Port and our community partners can benefit thousands of residents.”

Requests will be made to Columbia County and the City of Dayton for the remainder of the funds required.

The Port has been working with community partners, including the City of Dayton, Columbia County, and private sector internet service providers since 2019 to address inadequate and unreliable internet service in our community. Even before the pandemic, Port staff heard concerns from many businesses and community members about how limiting our current internet service was. COVID-19 only exacerbated the issue. It became clear that in order for the community to remain attractive to residents and businesses, to meet current health care needs, and to provide adequate opportunities for education, improvements needed to be made.

 

In February 2020, the Port completed a feasibility study for a dark fiber network in the City of Dayton and some adjacent, more dense areas in the county. The study showed that it is financially feasible to operate a fiber optic network under the public/private partnership model in our community. The project would provide access to broadband for any of the 1,278 businesses and residents in the project area that are interested in fiber service.

The Port will not be providing internet service to customers. The system will be what’s called an open access network, meaning any interested internet service provider that is willing to invest in equipment can offer fiber internet service to the premises by leasing strands of the Port’s fiber infrastructure. Basically, the Port builds the “road,” and the private sector “drives” on it to deliver service to customers.

The Port provided information and an invitation to partner to all existing service providers prior to applying for funds, and have signed contingency agreements with 3 companies – Columbia iConnect, PocketiNet, and Emerge by Inland Cellular – to lease fiber from the Port and deliver internet service to their existing and to new customers.

The Port of Garfield recently completed the same type of fiber infrastructure in Pomeroy, and customers there are receiving 1 gigabyte of service for $70 per month through the private internet providers. 50% of the premises in their project area are using this new service.

More information on the project can be found on the Port’s website at https://www.portofcolumbia.org/economic-development/broadband/ .

Working Washington 4.0

The Washington State Department of Commerce sent out a press release today announcing the new Working Washington 4.0 small business grant program. The application portal will be open for 12 days starting Monday, March 29 and closing Friday, April 9th. Applications will be handled by the Department of Commerce through an online portal. MORE INFO HERE

Landscaping & Weed Control RFPs Sought

The Port of Columbia is seeking Requests for Proposals (RFP) for professional services from qualified firms for the purpose of landscaping, irrigation maintenance & weed/pest control services at the Rockhill Industrial Park, Blue Mountain Station and other Port owned properties in Dayton, WA. It is the Port’s intent to use the information to enter into contract(s) for services for 2021. Information submitted should include a list of qualifications, proof of WA State licensing, proof of insurance, hourly labor rate, and materials mark-up.  The Port of Columbia encourages women and minority-owned businesses to apply. MORE INFO HERE