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Tacoma port identifies four locations for logistics rail center

Tacoma port identifies four locations for logistics rail center

Officials for the Washington state Port of Tacoma Monday released the locations of four sites identified as potential locations for a massive multimillion-dollar rail-based logistics center.

   The four parcels — in Maytown, Offutt, Tenino, and Chehalis — were identified in a $70,000 siting study commissioned by the port last year and previewed to port staff and commissioners Monday.

   The study merely identified parcels that could accommodate the proposed facility, based on criteria including:

   ' Located within Pierce, Thurston or Lewis counties.

   ' Located no more than 10 miles from Interstate 5.

   ' Situated on an active rail line.

   ' Larger than 600 acres.

   ' Able to accommodate at least 8,000 feet of continuous track.

   The study did not consider other factors such as current ownership or possible development problems. The port has not contacted any of the property owners or any of the possibly impacted communities.

   Of the four parcels, only the Maytown location is port-owned. Located about 30 miles southwest of the port, the 745-acre parcel was purchased in 2006 for $22 million and is adjacent to BNSF tracks.

   The 847-acre Offutt parcel, located about six miles east of the Maytown site, sits on the western edge of Offutt Lake and is close to BNSF and Tacoma Rail tracks. While the property is zoned for some industrial uses, the parcel is almost surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

   The 1,057-acre Tenino site is located in a sparsely developed area about eight miles southeast of the Maytown parcel and has BNSF track about a mile from the property.

   Situated in farmland about 20 miles south of the Maytown site, the 1,207 Chehalis parcel is the largest of the four. A rail line maintained for historic steam engine rides, but connected to nearby main lines, is a short distance away.

   All four sites, whittled down from a broad 'first glance' list of 17 potential locations, are within five to 10 miles of I-5, the main north-south highway through the state.

   Officials from the ports of Tacoma and nearby Olympia will meet Thursday evening to discuss the study and take public comment.

   Tacoma port officials hope to have a recommendation on choosing one of the sites to the port commission by March. ' Keith Higginbotham

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