There’s just one box left to check before the former Umatilla Chemical Depot can be transferred to local control.
At a Columbia Development Authority board meeting Tuesday morning, director Greg Smith told the board that all that was left was for the necessary parties to wrap up the Section 106 process, which relates to agreement between the Army, state and tribal officials and the local development authority concerning the best strategy to manage habitat, historical and cultural concerns while also allowing for economic development on the former Army depot.
Smith said if the CDA and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation could come to an agreement by the end of the month, other agencies should be ready to give their blessing and the land could be transferred by September.
“Which year?” is the running joke on the CDA board after years of delays on the transfer, but Smith said this time it really is close.
“Genuinely this is the last piece,” he said. “Everything else in terms of the checklist for transferring real estate is done.”
The tribes and the CDA board have been negotiating over protection of wildlife habitat, areas of cultural significance to the tribes and a portion of the Oregon Trail that runs through the depot but have not yet been able to come to an agreement.
Most of Tuesday’s meeting was in closed-door executive session “to conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions.”