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Still no interest in NewWood

ELMA — The deadline came and went on Friday with aboslutely no one expressing an interest in taking over the Port-owned NewWood production line at the Satsop Business Park — or even the building, for that matter.

Without a real buyer for the NewWood facility, equipment and patents, the Port of Grays Harbor decided to issue a request for proposal to see if the facility could be used for anything else. After a month of pitching the idea to various interests, the Port set a deadline of May 30 and waited for the proposals to arrive. But a public records request made by The Vidette on Monday found that no requests had been submitted.

Satsop Business Park Manager Alissa Shay admits that the silence was rather deafening after a whole lot of people had expressed an interest in the leftover NewWood product that Port officials discovered in warehouses.

That means, essentially, that there’s a demand for the product — but no one willing to actually step up and make it. The Port of Grays Harbor purchased the facility in December of last year, hoping to save the equipment from demolition.

The Port is the fourth owner of NewWood in less than a decade — none of which has been able to successfully find a niche market and be successful. The Port already owned the building at the Satsop Building Park and purchased the equipment and two patents for $1.3 million, less than half of the appraised value. The Port took a loan out to buy it.

The company turned wood waste and recycled plastic into a composite wood. Shay was hopeful because the Port had sold a few thousand sheets of the old NewWood product to an assortment of buyers.

There had been a six-month period where the Port wasn’t paying anything on the loan taken from Craft 3, the original holder of NewWood’s note. But, now, the payments are costing $25,700 each month.

At this point, after seven months of pitching the facility, the Port commissioners need to decide whether to continue to pursue someone to run the facility in a lease arrangement or to tear it down and see what they can get for scrap.

“Right now, we’re still discussing our options,” Shay said.

Meantime, Shay said some plastic sheeting at the NewWood facility recently caught fire. There had been some cardboard decomposing, which caused the plastic to heat up and combusted it all until a fire started. The warehouse space was fine and the fire was caught in time. Shay said the Port recently sold off the plastic to avoid future fires.