St. Helens to sell part of former paper mill to pot grow op
Nearly a year after the city of St. Helens approved a lease with a developer hoping to establish a marijuana grow facility at the city-owned former Boise Inc. paper mill, the city is now selling the property to the business for more than $3 million.
The St. Helens City Council took several actions Wednesday, June 20, to move forward with the sale agreement, including holding a brief public forum and making a motion to have finalized documents signed next week.
A draft version of the sale agreement, obtained by the Spotlight through a public records request, outlines a $3.48 million sale price, although a deposit amount is not specified.
Sale documents state that ACSP LLC, which intends to establish a commercial cannabis cultivation agricultural park, will donate $2,000 a month for 60 months to the city or a charity of choice as a community benefit fee. The agreement also outlines a $1,000 monthly payment to be made to a "public safety, education and parks fund" based on the square footage of canopy-producing marijuana on the property.
ACSP is registered to Alex Reverman in Portland, according to state business filings, and lists as a member ASR Holdings LLC out of Sheridan, Wyoming, per its annual report filed in April. When the company first filed its articles of organization with the state in February 2017, it idenfied as organizers CKP Holdings Inc. out of Huntington Beach, California.
The City Council made a motion Wednesday night to instruct City Administrator John Walsh to sign the agreement after making minor edits to a draft document prepared earlier.
Keith Locke abstained from the vote.
In June 2017, the City Council approved a lease agreement with ACSP, a holding company for the marijuana grow facility, to lease 9.5 acres of city-owned property on the former Boise Inc. paper mill property.
The 50-year lease initially outlined several stipulations, including a 10-month rent-free period to allow the business to prepare the site, after which the company would lease the site for $10,000 a month. The lease also provided the business an opportunity to purchase the property after five years.
After a series of setbacks over the past year such as difficulty establishing access to electricity and internet at the site, as well as other utilities, the City Council extended the rent-free period from January to November, Locke and Finance Director Matt Brown explained Wednesday.
More notably, while going through the application process with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, it became evident that a marijuana grow facility could not be established on public land, according to Oregon administrative rules.
That sparked the conversation about converting the lease agreement into a sale agreement.
A series of email records requested and received by the Spotlight in February indicate that city staff, council members and legal counsel had been discussing the agreement as early as December.
Locke, who told the Spotlight last year that he had developed a friendship with Reverman, one of the business partners with ACSP, had traveled on a family trip to Mexico in December after the city had entered into the lease agreement.
Locke abstained from Wednesday night's vote, although he attended an executive session regarding real property transactions earlier in the day, where some discussion pertained to the property.
A spokesperson at the OLCC stated that a marijuana business application had been submitted for processing by the company, but was still pending.