UMATILLA & MORROW COUNTIES – The U.S. Army has signed over the land once occupied by the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot to the Columbia Development Authority. A relatively small portion of that land will become an industrial park to benefit Umatilla County, Morrow County, the Port of Umatilla, and the Port of Morrow.
The turnover has taken years longer than anticipated, but the day finally came last month. Over the years, the entities planning the industrial park had to turn away prospective tenants until the land was under local control. That has now happened. The next question is what will the industrial park be named?
“Whenever you do a big project like this, that’s always the thing that people fight over the most – what to name it,” Umatilla County Commissioner John Shafer said. “We haven’t had those conversations yet, but they’re coming. That’s a very good question.”
A portion of the depot land is home to the Gen. Raymond F. Rees Training Center for the Oregon National Guard. A large piece will be a wildlife sanctuary operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Shafer said Army officials said the depot transfer was the fourth largest such transfer ever done in the history of the U.S. Army, and the largest done in the last 20 years.