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Vancouver Wash. port regroups after development tax measure fails

Vancouver Wash. port regroups after development tax measure fails

Port of Vancouver officials, regrouping after voter rejection on Aug. 21 of a property tax to pay for a major port expansion project, said Thursday they will move forward and modify the development plan.

   Tuesday's ballot measure, which was defeated by a 71.5 percent-28.5 percent margin, would have increased port district property taxes to $78 million during the six-year life of the tax. The port intended to use funds raised to purchase and develop 218 acres adjacent to the port, including the extension of rail lines to that site.

   'We're disappointed,' said Larry Paulson, the Washington state port's executive director, in a release. 'But the community has let us know they’re not in support of the (property tax) levy, regardless of whether they agree with our development plans. We will take into account the community's message while we reconsider our plans for growth and development.'

   On Thursday, one of the two signed tenants for the project said it would wait for the port to modify the plan.

   'We'll stick by and continue to do the project in Vancouver,' Marc Rappaport of Rappaport Energy Consulting LLC in Olympia, told the Oregonian newspaper. 'We're staying with it.'

   In July, Rappaport and port officials signed a letter of intent to lease 30 acres to build a biofuel refinery on the development property. Later that month, port officials signed a letter of intent with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Americas LLC to develop an auto import and distribution facility on the proposed development property.

   Both deals were contingent on the port raising the money to first purchase the property and then develop it.

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