WASHINGTON – The Hon. Rachel Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, hosted a ceremony at the Pentagon on March 20 with Lt. Gen. Kevin Vereen, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations (G-9), to celebrate the transfer of more than 9,500 acres of land associated with the former Umatilla Chemical Depot, Oregon, to the local community.
On March 3 the Army transferred the land to the Columbia Development Authority in Boardman, Oregon, executing the largest single transaction the Army’s Base Realignment and Closure Team has conducted in almost 20 years. The CDA is made up of five partners through an intergovernmental agreement, including the Port of Umatilla, Port of Morrow, Umatilla County, Morrow County and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Ms. Jacobson explained that the “conveyance will place part of the ~9,500 acres of property into productive re-use for the community. Another part will become an important cultural site for the beneficial use of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. A third part will contribute to the historical preservation of the Oregon Trail. The proceeds the Army receives from CDA will be re-invested into environmental cleanup activities across our remaining BRAC sites.”
“It’s truly a win-win-win outcome for all parties,” she said.
“The Umatilla transfer is a culmination of a 35-year effort that started with realigning the installation under BRAC 1988 and closure of the installation under the BRAC 2005 round,” Vereen said. “Umatilla has been a very complex conveyance requiring cooperation and coordination between many local, state and federal organizations and agencies. This milestone is a tribute to the many individuals, organizations and agencies that made this day possible.”
Now that the CDA is the new owner of the property, there is renewed interest in the development of the land, and well over 3,100 acres are already slated for industrial development.
“This is probably one of the best industrial sites in the state of Oregon,” said Greg Smith, executive director of the CDA.
A local celebration is being planned for July.