Ag cooperative expected to purchase port land

By ELAINE WILLIAMS of the Tribune

The transaction moved forward at a Lewiston Port Commission meeting earlier this week and will likely be finalized in another seven days, Lyons said.

The commissioners also discussed the possibility of the port getting involved in telecommunications during their meeting this week.

The port plans to seek changes in Idaho law in the coming legislative session so that telecommunications would become a part of what ports could do, said Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld.

State code isn’t clear on the issue right now, he said.

The port is putting together a question-and-answer sheet that will be ready by Nov. 12, when lawmakers from all parts of the state visit north central Idaho as part of a legislative tour, Doeringsfeld said.

The effort is a response to growing needs for high-speed Internet connections for port tenants and others within Nez Perce County, Doeringsfeld said.

Lewis-Clark Terminal is poised to purchase three acres from the Port of Lewiston that are immediately north of its grain storage and river barge loading facility on Third Avenue North.

The agricultural cooperative expects to pay $331,360 for the North Lewiston land that it has no specific projects for at this time, said Arvid Lyons, manager of the terminal.

It comes at a time when numerous efforts are under way in neighboring eastern Washington by the Port of Clarkston, the Port of Whitman County and NoaNet to upgrade the telecommunications infrastructure.

NoaNet is a not-for-profit company in Washington that received $140 million in grants from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to bring high-speed Internet to rural Washington schools, hospitals, emergency response agencies and libraries.

The Port of Lewiston is a long way from making decisions about any details of what its plan could look like, including how much it would cost and if it would link into eastern Washington’s network, Doeringsfeld said.

A telecommunications feasibility study for the port is due out later this month.

Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.