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Thursday, February 01, 2007

The cheese never stands alone, at least not when it’s from the Tillamook County Creamery Association. Tillamook’s subsidiary plant, Columbia River Processing, completed a $50 million expansion totaling 65,000 square feet. The plant employs 78 people but plans to add about 50 employees to turn 1.5 million pounds of milk into cheese and whey each day, according to Mark Wusenberg, vice president of member relations and public administration.

Plans for an international speedway five miles west of Boardman on Interstate 84 have shifted gears. The Port of Morrow Commission, which owns the speedway land, has revised its agreement with Oregon International Speedway (OIS) to allow construction of smaller projects to begin before the building of a banked speedway and an 80,000-seat grandstand. Steve Brucker, with OIS, says the revised plan calls for beginning the construction of a 3½-mile road course by mid-year, with completion targeted in 12 months. “What works in Boardman is a combination of racing activities,” Brucker says, adding that the benefit to the revised rollout is that it will start generating revenue earlier. Gary Neal, general manager of the port, says,  “The developer was getting strong signals to start the construction of something.” OIS has invested $100 million in the venture, and last year voters approved an 8% excise tax for the speedway district. Also planned are a kart-racing course, a drag strip, a 3/8-mile oval, a 5/8-mile oval and an off-road course. The road course is the only project with an announced timeline, according to Brucker.


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