From staff reports
The Port of Hood River is negotiating with a growing California company for the purchase of the former Western Power building and property.
Officials believe that B.O.B. is a “great” fit for Hood River because the firm is environmentally friendly and will bring in needed family-wage jobs.
B.O.B., which produces and markets a line of bicycle trailers and baby strollers, has offered the port $1.83 million for the structure and Lot 7 on which it sits.
“This is a great little company that has an interest in coming to Hood River, and would build our region’s growing reputation as an adventure sports and outdoor recreation mecca for small, innovative companies,” said Dave Harlan, port director.
The 36,000 square foot facility sought by B.O.B. is currently occupied by Homeshield, Inc. However, that company plans to move its manufacturing processes for window and door frame components to larger quarters in The Dalles by early next year.
The port has not yet accepted or countered B.O.B.’s offer, but has asked for two more working weeks to review it further. Harlan said discussions with the company have taken place concerning retaining the existing height restriction on any new building, reserving a corridor for a waterfront trail, and the right to repurchase the building and property for its appraised value at a future date.
“They’ve been more than receptive to working within the height and public access requirements that have been part of the discussion regarding the waterfront over the last several years,” he said.
Harlan said that if negotiations move forward, the company would make use of an existing waterfront building that has substantial useful life remaining in it. He said that a sale would help Hood River retain some of the economic activity it will lose when Homeshield relocates.
In a related development, the port has declined an offer by the U.S. Post Office for leased space in the Wasco Street Business Park. Harlan said the port board felt that only a handful of jobs would be created on about 60,000 square feet of land for a mail distribution center.
“The port did not want to give up a chunk of valuable industrial land just for a return on investment when it would not create a lot of jobs per acre,” he said.
Instead, the port has decided to pursue negotiations with several local companies interested in expanding operations in the business park. Officials are also engaged in a discussion with the post office for several other available sites.