Port of Moses Lake approves honor park

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Courtesy graphic The design for the park to honor Clyde Owen and allow visitors to view airplanes and have picnics approved by the Port of Moses Lake on Monday.

MOSES LAKE — The Port of Moses Lake has approved the design for a small park to honor the Port’s first director, Clyde Owen, at a regular meeting on Monday morning.

“It’s now time for commissioners to decide which park we will build outside your window,” said Port Director Jeffrey Bishop.

The roughly 100-foot-square park, which will sit immediately east of the Port’s offices in the main terminal, will feature a circular walkway flanked by basalt columns which, over time, will feature the names and stories of individuals and businesses important to the Port’s history.

“The first plaque will be for Clyde Owen,” said David “Kent” Jones, commission president.

The proposed park will also have a memorial to the three Japan Air Lines crew members who were killed when their Convair 880 crashed on take-off in June 1969.

The park will also allow visitors to sit and view aircraft parked near the Grant County International Airport terminal, as well as hold picnics and gatherings.

Larry Godden, general manager at GCIA for Houston-based aircraft services firm Millionair, wondered if the Port would accept donations to help pay for the park.

“We would rather this be our project than a community project,” Jones said.

Commissioners also voted in favor of an agreement with the Port of Pasco and the City of Connell to lead a rail improvement project in Connell, applying for a grant to improve the Columbia Basin Railroad switching yard at Connell where the short-line railroad connects to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad’s nationwide network.

According to Bishop, both the Port of Pasco and the city of Connell decided against leading in the project because most of the benefits to the improvement would serve Adams and Grant counties.

There is no cost estimate to the Connell rail project, but Bishop said improving the switching facilities in Connell is essential to the effective expansion of rail into the Port of Moses Lake.

Finally, commissioners also approved an agreement that would allow the Port to pursue a wastewater pretreatment permit with the Washington Department of Ecology, allowing the port to more effectively manage wastewater produced by its industrial customers by allowing the Port to issue wastewater permits to customers.

Currently, each of the Port’s industrial customers obtains its own wastewater permits from Ecology, frequently allowing individual users to discharge more waste than Ecology has authorized the Port to handle.

“They give us more than we’re allowed to take, and it sets us up to fail,” Bishop said. “All Port customers have asked us, ‘please do this.’”

In particular, Bishop said Chemi-Con, the Moses Lake-based subsidiary of Nippon Chemi-Con, is looking for additional capacity to treat wastewater.

The agreement will pay Englewood, Colo.-based Jacobs CH2M Engineering $105,600 to pursue a pretreatment permit for the Port and eventually to manage the permit.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

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