BOARDMAN - Two ethanol production plants proposed for the Port of Morrow could bring nearly 100 jobs to north Morrow County.

If all goes well, construction of the plants could begin next year, said Ron McKinnis, Port of Morrow engineer.

"There's no commitments yet, but two groups have been looking seriously," he said.

Both plants are similar in size, McKinnis said. A plant proposed by Oregon Ethanol represents a $55 million investment at the port. The second plant, which has been proposed by Pacific Chemical, would require an investment of $50 million.

Both plants would produce ethanol from grain, typically corn, for use in petroleum fuel mixes. Corn mash produced during the ethanol production process would be sold as cattle feed, McKinnis said.

Pacific Chemical also is behind another proposed project at the Port of Morrow: the urea fertilizer plant.

Plans for the facility are still on track, McKinnis said, and construction could begin as early as March 2003. According to company officials, construction of the urea production facility is expected to generate jobs for about 1,500 people. Once it's up and running, about 150 workers will be employed there at an average salary of about $40,000 a year.

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