The Port of Vancouver USA and Clark Public Utilities have finalized an agreement to exchange property adjacent to the utility’s River Road Generating Plant and the port’s new Terminal 5 in order to accommodate rail construction.

The port commission unanimously adopted a resolution to exchange 0.77 acre of property currently included in Terminal 5, immediately west of the utility’s property in exchange for two small triangle parcels totaling 0.77 acre on the south side of the utility’s property.

“This is a very important agreement,” said Port Commission President Nancy Baker. “Terminal 5 is an opportunity for job creation and for sustaining jobs in our community. I’m very pleased that we were able to make this work, as both of these facilities are very important to this community.”

The property the port acquires in the exchange will allow for rail construction to begin west of Gateway Avenue and around the perimeter of Terminal 5 – formerly the Alcoa/Evergreen Aluminum property. That construction will begin in the fall of this year, with expected completion slated for spring of 2010.

The Terminal 5 rail loop will provide the port with unit train access, which creates the capacity for trains of 100-120 cars bound for port tenants and customers – both inbound and outbound – to be distributed across the port’s rail network internally instead of in the BNSF’s Vancouver Yard and across the north/south mainline. The reduction of usage of the BNSF Vancouver Yard and decreases in mainline interruptions by port trains is expected reduce congestion through the yard and on the mainline by up to 25 percent upon completion of the rail loop.

Carol Curtis, president of the utility’s board of commissioners, said, “I’m glad we were able to work together to meet the needs of the port for the Terminal 5 project. This land trade allows us to retain the same amount of land at the River Road Generating Plant while the port receives the land required for the rail project.”

The port will also pay Clark Public Utilities $30,644 at closing, the value of improvements on the property the port is receiving from the utility.