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The Linn County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an extended property tax abatement for a Harrisburg-area enterprise zone that will benefit a $65 million development south of Junction City by Northern Gold Foods.

Northern Gold Foods is based in Vancouver, B.C. The complex will be on 11 acres of about 100 acres owned by Grain Millers, which has a mill and warehouse in Eugene. The company plans to produce granola bars at the new plant.

Grain Millers is an international company that produces about one-quarter of all the oats in North America.

Junction City City Planner Jordan Cogburn said Grain Millers is building the 300,000-square-foot facility and will lease it to Northern Gold Foods.

The property is not inside the Harrisburg enterprise zone, so the Harrisburg and Junction City city councils, and the Linn County Board of Commissioners, needed to approve the abatement, which will provide the company with tax advantages for up to five years. Junction City and Harrisburg councils have already agreed to the proposal.

In return, Northern Gold Foods will hire 50 to 75 employees and those jobs will pay at least 150 percent of Lane County’s average annual wage, a minimum of almost $64,000.

The company is accepting applications for production operators, quality assurance technicians and maintenance technicians.

Construction is nearly complete and production will begin soon.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved advertising for a bid to install a fish-friendly culvert at Little Rock Creek on Morrison Road. Roadmaster Darrin Lane said the culvert will replace a bridge and is expected to increase salmon and steelhead passage.

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• Approved the sale of a 0.14-acre property south of the railroad tracks and the Sweet Home mill site. Market value was $800. The property sold for $500 to the Ullrich family, which owns adjoining property.

• Learned about a 1.7-acre industrial site and a nearby 8.06 acres that crosses the Calapooia River in Brownsville. The larger piece could be added to county inventory to eventually be developed into a park, but the commissioners decided to give the property owner 45 days to purchase the property, which has a $37,000 tax lien on it.

• Was told by Linn County Expo Center director Randy Porter that income remains good and that country musician Joe Nichols has been added to the fair talent lineup on July 18.

• Noted that the annual budget hearings begin Monday morning and run through Thursday. All meetings are open to the public.

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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