The Port of Vancouver USA announced plans to consider the surplus of up to 22 acres of industrial property in preparation for a potential sale to Farwest Steel Corporation, one of the leading distributors, processers and fabricators of specialty steel products in the Northwest. The potential $5,082,500 sale could bring 225 industrial jobs to Clark County.

 “This project demonstrates how the port can play a role in delivering family wage jobs and an economic comeback in Clark County,” said Larry Paulson, the port’s executive director. “The port’s investment in rail and ready-to-build industrial land was essential to attracting Farwest to Vancouver.”

Farwest operates several facilities in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, and Utah and hopes to consolidate some of their distribution, processing and fabrication operations in Vancouver. Approximately 100 jobs will be relocated to the port, with plans to add an additional 125. Farwest will generate sought-after family wage jobs, paying average annual wages of approximately $40,000, with benefits. The economic impact to the community will affect up to a total of 900 jobs benefiting from the consolidation.

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire congratulated the port commission on attracting a new significant employer in Southwest Washington. “The residents of Clark County have been looking for hopeful signs that the economy is improving,” Gregoire said. “Farwest brings family-wage jobs to Clark County, where the unemployment rate is highest in the state, and these jobs are needed most.”

Farwest plans to construct a $20-$30 million facility that will contain its distribution, processing, fabricating and office support.  The Port of Vancouver location will allow the company to grow their business and take advantage of access to the national rail system. The company projects receiving 200-300 rail cars annually. 

Farwest has been in operation for over 54 years as a steel distribution, processing and fabrication company, and has been seeking a location to consolidate a number of its operations. The Vancouver location will help Farwest increase efficiencies for servicing customers in the Northwest and other strategic markets.

“We have been looking long and hard throughout the region for a location that best suits our ability to grow and efficiently deliver quality products to our customers,” said Patrick Eagen, president and chief executive officer of Farwest Steel Corporation. “The port had industrial land ready to build, with the right river, road and rail connections – this is the best choice for us.”

Port industrial land must be designated as surplus by the board of commissioners and a public hearing must take place prior to sale of the property. The port commission is considering strict criteria for the sale, including a minimum job requirement at the new facility. The Farwest sale agreement includes a repurchase clause in the event of default on delivering projected jobs, or if the company decides to sell the land. These covenants will ensure the commission’s criteria for the sale is protected. The commission hearing date to surplus the land and for the sale agreement to Farwest will be Tuesday, June 8 at 9:30 a.m. The commission will consider the purchase and sale agreement separately.