NW Natural Gas Co., a local natural gas provider, is joining the migration of businesses and essential services to higher ground out of the tsunami inundation zone in Warrenton.
The utility, located along Marine Drive in Uniontown, recently closed with Warrenton Fiber on 5.3 acres along Dolphin Avenue just north of the regional Oregon State Police headquarters. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020.
The utility has been located in Astoria since the mid-1960s and has about 11,000 customers in the region. Daphne Mathew, a spokeswoman for NW Natural, said the move is about getting to higher ground and a more efficient space.
“We used to need more space because customers used to physically come in to pay their bills, and we used to have a gas appliance showroom area,” Mathew said. “So the newer space we’re moving to will be smaller and better accommodate our eight employees, vehicles and equipment.”
NW Natural’s move follows the state Department of Transportation, the Oregon State Police, the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, Medix Ambulance Service and Clatsop Care Health District’s memory care center to Dolphin Avenue.
Warrenton-Hammond School District will purchase a new master campus from Warrenton Fiber along the roadway if a $38.5 million property tax bond passes Tuesday.
Warrenton Fiber has sold most of its property along Dolphin Avenue but still has a 14-acre plot of industrial-zoned land nearby, said John M. Nygaard, a representative of Warrenton Fiber. The company is also planning a 74-unit subdivision in the area.
“We are looking to try and do a business park of sorts there,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of municipal services that are attracted to the area, which is great.”
Nygaard sees the area as a major site of future development at higher ground, especially if the school district is able to relocate.
“It’s certainly something that’s on our minds,” he said.” Getting out of the tsunami zone is really important.”