Wilsonville Concrete Products to base marine fleet in St. Helens
The Columbia River has always brought life — and business — to St. Helens, and that trend continues.
At its July 15 meeting, the city of St. Helens announced a new private partnership with Wilsonville Concrete Products to lease moorage space at the St. Helens Industrial Business Park docks. WCP is expected to move its full marine fleet to the St. Helens site, including five tugboats, six barges and three crane barges.
WCP is a fifth-generation family-owned and operated business. It began tow boat operations in the 1880s on the Columbia River system. Wilsonville Concrete Products' current capabilities include marine transportation, barge unloading, dredging and marine construction. WCP operates from sites in Wilsonville, Carver, Beaverton and Salem, as well as aggregate mines in both Salem and Yamhill County.
"Having WCP as a neighbor at the Industrial Park will be a game changer for our city and everyone on the lower Columbia," said St. Helens Mayor Rick Scholl. "Our city was built on our working river and now we have a chance to actively reconnect with this part of our history."
According to Wilsonville Concrete Products Vice President Michael Bernert, the business will reportedly create somewhere between $2 million and $5 million of revenue for activities based in St. Helens. Bernert said that WCP has approximately 100 employees and expects to bring about 25 of those workers to the St. Helens location.
"It has been great to work with the city of St. Helens through this process," Bernert said. "We are excited to have part of our fleet stationed at the Industrial Park and look forward to growing our business at the St. Helens location."
According to a press release from the city of St. Helens, the deal with Wilsonville Concrete Products aligns with the city's Strategic Workplan and should — through activation of the St. Helens industrial riverfront — promote regional economic development. St. Helens is currently going through a master planning process for the riverfront that will guide industrial and infrastructure development on one of the largest underutilized properties in the region zoned for heavy industrial use.
St. Helens Industrial Business Park is located on an approximately 225-acre brownfield. The city purchased the property in 2015 and is working to redevelop the site.
"The intent is to attract employers to the region, boost the recovering local economy, restore the connection between downtown St. Helens and the Columbia River, provide public access to the waterfront, and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of St. Helens," the press release added.
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