For the first time in 40 years Cascade Locks is rolling open the doors on a new light-industrial park.
A 10,000-square-foot aluminum framed building located off Herman Creek Lane will have its grand opening Dec. 9 and represent what the Port of Cascade Locks hopes will be an economic step forward for the beleaguered town.
The building sits on a view lot overlooking the Columbia. Right next door is a poured concrete pad ready for another similar building, which will be slightly smaller.
Across the lot is an older port building which is awaiting renovations.
Port of Cascade Locks General Manager Chuck Daughtry envisions the site as the perfect home for several small businesses.
"This is the first building of this type in Cascade Locks in over 40 years," Daughtry said.
Each building could potentially hold a single larger business, or they can be partitioned into small spaces to allow for smaller businesses to make use of part of the building.
"We can do a lot of things with it to meet a lot of customer needs," Daughtry said.
When the weather improves, a concrete sidewalk will be poured around the back of the building, allowing tenants to put in a mezzanine or potentially add windows to the back of the building to capture the view.
The front building features rolling garage-style bay doors, and there are two pads on the interior on which restrooms can be constructed.
"All of the sewer and drainage systems are already set up for the entire site," Port Council President Jess Groves said.
Those sewer and drainage systems include a large retention pond and an environmentally friendly water-oil separator in the sewer system.
The strategy is part of a plan to diversify the town's economy.
The port hopes that the site will be home to several small businesses, meaning that if one leaves, it will not economically devastate the town and that another can come in its place.
"Diversification is what we are looking for," Groves said.
Daughtry said that several companies have been "kicking the tires" of the building and that at least three are looking at using it as a potential home.
In the coming days, construction on the building will be wrapping up. Then the port hopes the building will be quickly leased out, so that they can move on to constructing the second building.
"We're really down to a punch list now,' Daughtry said.