Gene Warren, a Port of Columbia Commission chairman, cuts the ribbon to officially open the Blue Mountain Station for business.
DAYTON — Dayton residents were treated to granola samples, wine and an up-close look at a milk pasteurizer during the local opening of Blue Mountain Station.
Dozens of people gathered as Port of Columbia Commissioner Gene Warren cut a red ribbon stretched across a counter opening, signaling the official opening of the nearly-completed artisan food center.
Food processing tenants from Gypsy Girl Granola and Little Dipper Dairy were on hand to show visitors their rooms, and visitors congregated in the retail space and commercial kitchen to talk and enjoy food.
Port Manager Jennie Dickinson spoke to the crowd, thanking the City of Dayton, Columbia County, Dayton Chamber and Pacific Power for contributing matching funds to build the facility.
“We never could have come this far without community partners,” she said.
Three of the five processing spaces in the center are already leased; the third tenant is Mace Mead Works. Two spaces were slated to be occupied by Big Kahuna Hot Sauce and Roubideau Artisan Cheese, but those businesses backed out before signing leases.
Dickinson said she spoke with several interested businesses at the opening and believes the Port will have no trouble finding additional tenants.
“It’s very exciting. I think they’ll be full very soon,” she said.
For now, the center will only be used by processors, because additional equipment needs to be installed before the commercial kitchen is available for rent. Port commissioners anticipate setting rental rates for the kitchen at their Jan. 8 meeting.
The center’s retail space also will host a weekly Saturday market for local vendors, starting Jan. 11. Vendors may sell winter produce, arts and crafts, baked goods and more.
Interested vendors should contact Suzi Tasker, market manager and owner of Gypsy Girl Granola, at email@example.com or 509-628-2117.
Rachel Alexander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-526-8363.