Vancouver investor seeks to reopen West Linn paper mill

June 24, 2019

By: The Working Forest Staff

THE OREGONIAN — Efforts are underway to reopen the 130-year-old West Linn Papermill, nearly two years after it closed. According to a report in The Oregonian, the revival effort is being led by Clark County investor Ken Peterson, whose portfolio includes a pulp mill in Dayton, a Texas housing development, an augmented reality startup in Vancouver and telecom companies around the world.

“Their intention is to restart it,” said Dave Robertson, vice president for public policy at Portland General Electric, which owns the land and buildings on the site.

While Robertson said PGE is continuing to work with West Linn on long-range redevelopment plans for the property overlooking the Willamette River, he said the utility has a five-year deal to lease the site to a newly formed company associated with Columbia Ventures Corp., Peterson’s investment firm. Options could extend the lease for a decade beyond that.

Columbia Ventures is working with former West Linn Paper chief operating officer Brian Konen on the effort. Konen referred questions Friday to Peterson, who did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Clackamas County and Oregon economic development officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether efforts to restart the mill will receive any public incentives.

Peterson has done this kind of thing before. In 1987 he bought the shuttered aluminum smelter in Goldendale, Washington, and reopened it. Peterson sold that business in 1996 — four years before soaring electricity prices wiped out the Northwest’s aluminum industry.

On its website, Columbia Ventures says it invests in “a wide range of strategic, innovative or contrarian opportunities.”

 

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