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Big changes coming to Expo Center

Expo Center, one of Hood River's largest structures, is one major step closer to undergoing a major change.

Turtle Island foods will succeed Full Sail as the main tenant in the new building, according to Jamie Athos, Turtle Islands' operations manager. The repurposed Expo will be an adjunct to the company's newly-constructed facility adjacent to the west, which is tentatively set for full production by mid-2014.

"The close proximity is really beneficial to us. It's kind of fortuitous that this property (Expo Center) could come available," Athos said. Currently the Expo Center is used as a warehouse, with some offices, by Full Sail Brewery, which is completing its own move into expanded warehouse and packaging facility on Columbia Street.

On Monday the Port of Hood River commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a Disposition and Development Agreement with Key Development of Hood River. It essentially authorizes the port staff to execute the DDA in consultation with port legal counsel. Adoption of the DDA could lead to the sale of the building and property for $1.95 million. The entire deal is contingent on rezoning and replatting of the property, which would be divided into a total of seven parcels, including a 41,290 square-foot linearl parcel just south of the facility, across Anchor Way

"This is the just the first step but it creates a roadmap for the future of the property," said Michael McElwee, port executive director. The commission discussed two versions of a PDA in executive session during a special meeting, and voted on the one recommended by McElwee, which sets the price of the land at $714,000 and the building with light industrial zoning at $1.21 million. The deal depends on approval of zoning changes including the west parking lot, which would be divided into three parcels, including the southernmost to be retained by the port for potential future development. It would also require approval of a zoning transfer of the existing Commercial 2 property from the Expo Center parcels to Lot 1, just to the east.

Commissioners Fred Duckwall, Rich McBride, Brian Shortt and Hoby Streich voted for the PDA, with Jon Davies voting against. "I thought we could get a little more of a purchase price but I want to make sure people know that I think it is a great project and I'm happy with the composition of it, and the direction the waterfont is taking," Davies said.

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