Light industrial park planned near landfill

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Port of Walla Walla commissioners got a sneak peek of a vision for a business park near the Sudbury Road Landfill on Thursday.

During a morning meeting at the Port's office, a layout concept for a more than 350-acre business park using property around the landfill was presented.

The concept is in an exploratory phase at this point, but would be designed as a light-industrial park. Earlier this year, city and Port officials agreed to embark together on the concept, which if developed, could achieve several goals: Provide much-needed options for light-industrial land in the city, serve as a catalyst for new development and ultimately return the land back to the tax rolls.

With more than 1,000 acres in and around the landfill, the vision would provide plenty of property for the long-term needs of the landfill while also utilizing neighboring property for development.

Whether the business park would be developed by the city, which owns the land, or the Port is just one of numerous questions that will likely be discussed in 2012, Port officials said Thursday.

The creation of a layout concept is just one of the steps in a long process. Port commissioners authorized that piece last April. The preliminary layout was created by MacKay & Sposito Inc.

"What I'd really like to see are big sites for a Key (Technology-type business)," said Commission President Mike Fredrickson. Details such as that will see more refinement as the process continues.

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Former Union-Bulletin agriculture and business reporter Kate Riley has been promoted to editorial page editor for The Seattle Times, the company announced.

Riley succeeds Ryan Blethen, who will fill the company's newly created role of director, new product strategies. The changes were announced Thursday.

Longtime U-B readers may remember Riley's byline as Kathleen Knutson. She started her daily newspaper career in Walla Walla in 1985. Three years later she moved to the Tri-City Herald, where she eventually served as editorial page editor. Through her work in both communities she developed an in-depth understanding of nuclear and agricultural issues.

She joined The Times in 2002 as an editorial writer and columnist with a focus on energy issues and urban-rural tensions. She was promoted to associate editorial page editor in 2008 and is credited with advancing the presence of Times editorials and opinions online.

Riley, a 1985 University of Washington graduate, is a former board member for the National Conference of Editorial Writers. She previously served as editor of the Masthead, the organization's quarterly journal, and chaired the organization's ethics, innovations and nominating committees.

As editorial page editor, she will oversee the opinion voice of The Times and the editorial staff. She will report to Publisher Frank Blethen, and will serve on The Seattle Times Operating Council, an inter-departmental senior leadership group overseeing the company's operations.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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