Contractor finishing military firing range

The Oregon Military Department is to receive the area (large left area) for a training center, states the land-use plan the Umatilla Chemical Depot Reuse Authority developed last year. The state agency is building a small arms firing range on the west-central area of the depot.

The Oregon National Guard should have its new firing range ready to use by April 1.

Colton Construction of Oregon City is building the small arms and rifle range on the west side of the Umatilla Chemical Depot. The work started in late February, said Sgt. Patricia Marin of the Oregon Military Department.

Colton’s base bid was $132,679, far below the $450,000 the agency estimated. The eight bids received ranged up to $457,100.

Marin said although construction is to be completed April 1, she isn’t sure when the National Guard will begin using the range.

The standard firing line is 25 meters (27.34 yards) long, with 36 four-meter-wide lanes, she said. The contractor also is building two ammunition-issue buildings, about 14 by 12 feet, and a three-sided briefing-holding area building about 80 by 50 feet to accommodate up to 150 soldiers.

“The training intent at Umatilla Chemical Depot for the … range is to meet the Army’s requirement that every soldier assigned an M16 or M4 rifle conduct qualification with their rifle,” Marin said.

The Umatilla Chemical Depot Reuse Authority granted the Oregon Military Department 7,421 acres, more than a third of the 19,728-acre depot. The agency asked for 8,196 acres (41.5 percent), including buildings in the cantonment area and a munitions and range control area to support the Oregon National Guard.

The Guard plans a full military training facility to support individual and collective training and to make soldiers proficient in weapons and company maneuvers.

Stan Hutchison, chief of planning and programming for the Oregon Military Department, said in January the small arms range would be adjacent to an existing range on the west-central area of the depot in northeastern Morrow County.

“We intend to have this thing all done before the infantry school in April,” Hutchison said.

This is the first activity planned on the depot by one of the six entities that will receive land from the Local Reuse Authority. The land remains in federal ownership until the LRA can transition from planning to implementation mode. That is being held up by a lack of federal funding.

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