UCEDC was founded by a group of civic leaders who recognized the need for the public and non-profit sector to facilitate the acquisition and improvement of lands for industrial and manufacturing businesses. The costs and timeline for bringing appropriately zoned and improved properties to the market for businesses development was out of the reach of the private sector. Land acquisition and improvement is an important function for UCEDC as it strives to improve the local economy through investment and job creation.
UCEDC began with the acquisition of the future Baum Industrial Park in 1989. The Baum Park comprises approximately 150 acres zoned heavy industrial by Union County and is locatedabout 1.5 miles east of the City of Island City on State Highway 82. The Baum Industrial Park has installed roads and utilities. Today, the Baum Industrial Park is home to companies such as Crisp Colors, Eagle Cap Steel & Supply, HNS. Boise Cascade Particleboard Plant and Eagle Carriage and Machine.
In 2002 the UCEDC acquired a parcel of land situated at the intersection of Gekeler Lane and Hwy 30 in La Grande. The intent of the purchase was to provide industrial and manufacturingproperty for development. In 2005 the land holdings was increased with the purchase of an adjacent parcel of land measuring 14+ acres. In 2005 the UCEDC property and an adjacent parcel of land owned by the City of La Grande Urban Renewal District were incorporated into the La Grande Business & Technology Park. The Business Park contains 62 acres, is zone Business Park by the City of La Grande and has access and utilities installed to the platted lots. The La Grande Business & Technology Park is certified “shovel ready.” UCEDC is the marketing agent for the Business Park.
In 2000, UCED negotiated with Boise Cascade a land swap, deeding a strip of land from the Baum Industrial Park to Boise Cascade in exchange for a similarly sized parcel of land in theCity of Elgin. The intent was to provide the City with land zoned for industrial use. Upon completion of the land exchcange, the Elgin Industrial Park was created. The Park was transferred to ownership of the City of Elgin in 2002. The Park is zoned industrial by the City of Elgin and has installed utilities and street access. Today the Boots Churchill Industrial Park is home to a number of new businesses in the community.
UCEDC entered into a partnership with Pendleton Grain Growers to facilitate improvements to the PGG Alicel grain storage and shipping facility located about eight miles east of La Grande on Highway 82. The improvements included acquisition of additional land, the installation of twoadditional grain silos to accommodate added grain storage in the amount of 755,000 bushels and extension of the rail siding by one-quarter mile to facilitate the storage of additional grain cars on site. The total price of the project was $3.5 million. The improved storage and the added access for rail grain cars greatly improves the speed and lowers the cost at which the grain can be moved. The added storage capacity and extension of the rail siding results in the elimination of an estimated 4,000 truck trips annually on the highways. The improved Alicel facility began operations in the fall of 2010. The Alicel project was funded in part by OregonConnect III grant.