NW Natural plans survey of community

There may be some obstacles to bringing natural gas to Estacada, but officials are optimistic due to a budding partnership with NW Natural.

“Estacada has recently been on [NW Natural’s] radar as they look toward expanding into smaller communities,” Estacada Main Street Manager Terra Wilcoxson wrote in an email. “[The City of Estacada, the Estacada Development Association and NW Natural representatives] decided to partner to assess the feasibility of bringing natural gas service to Estacada.”

Wilcoxson explained that accessing the natural gas pipeline in Carver is estimated to cost $12 million to $13 millinon, whereas a liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) station would cost approximately $8 million.

“The city can’t make it happen, we just don’t have the resources,” City Manager Bill Elliott said in a previous interview.

“There has been no discussion of the city contributing to the cost of extending natural gas service to Estacada,” Wilcoxson wrote.

However, a business could fund a private LNG or CNG station on their property.

This is a possibility for prospective businesses scoping the area.

Elliott and Wilcoxson said it is not economically feasible for any business currently in the area.

Elliott explained that there also is the possibility that NW Natural may choose to fund some sort of natural gas option itself, if it stood to make a sufficient profit.

The company plans to fund a survey.

“Estacada area businesses and facilities will receive a survey in the mail asking questions such as, ‘How many square feel do you heat during the winter,’ and, ‘What energy source do you currently use to power your business’s equipment?,’ “ Wilcoxson wrote. “It is incredibly important that everyone who receives this survey complete it as thoroughly as possible and return it by the specified date. A high response rate will facilitate an accurate understanding of the situation and provide the foundation for next steps.”

The dates of the survey have not yet been finalized.

“This relationship with NW Natural is one of several efforts the Estacada Development Association and the city have launched for the purpose of creating fundamental changes in our economic base,” Wilcoxson wrote. “These projects are designed to increase family wage jobs and vibrancy downtown. In response to your question, there is no ranking of the current economic development efforts, but this project is an established priority. City representatives have informed me they are committed to bringing natural gas service to Estacada.”

Editor’s note:

On Thursday, Jan. 30, the Estacada News ran an article under the headline “Unlikely natural gas will come soon” that contained incomplete information in regard to the city’s relationship with NW Natural.

The survey was not been mentioned in an interview with City Manager Bill Elliott and requests for comments from Main Street Manager Terra Wilcoxson were not returned by press time.

The Estacada News regrets the omission.

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