Sen. Johnson and CRPUD Break Ground on New Substation

From left to right: PUD Board Member Debbie Reed, PUD Board Member Harry Price, State Sen. Betsy Johnson, PUD Board President Jake Carter, Columbia County Commissioner Margaret Magruder, PUD Board Member Craig Melton, PUD General Manager John Nguyen, and PUD Board Member Rob Mathers break ground on the new Betsy Johnson Substation in Scappoose on Oct. 20.

October 24, 2017 – Sen. Betsy Johnson broke ground on site of a new substation to be named in her honor.

Johnson and 20 others gathered along West Lane Road in Scappoose on Oct. 20 for a groundbreaking ceremony. Columbia River PUD’s ninth substation will neighbor the airport, and be called Betsy Johnson Substation.

“I am absolutely delighted, humbled, and honored,” Johnson told the crowd. “It didn’t hit me until I drove by yesterday and saw my name on the sign. I thought, ‘This is so cool!'”

Johnson spoke to those in attendance – business leaders in the community along with PUD staff and board members – about the area’s future. She highlighted recent commitments to partner with OMIC from two Japanese companies. OSG Tools and Mitsubishi Material and Tools both committed to join OMIC.

OMIC is a partnership between industry, higher education, and government to develop manufacturing technology. Other partners include The Boeing Company, Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland Community College, Oregon State University, Daimler Trucks, Blount International, and more.

“This is big. This is a lot of jobs in Columbia County,” Johnson said. “And this substation will make sure they have the power they need.”

The new substation will ensure reliable service to Scappoose customers. It is needed to accommodate load growth at the south end of the county.

That growth is driven by industrial customers like OMIC and Cascades Tissue. The area is also seeing residential growth. Four new subdivisions bring 170 more homes to Scappoose.

Johnson is a catalyst for the industrial growth. Her efforts have secured more than $21 million from the state legislature to support OMIC.

In addition, Johnson has been a long-time advocate of community-owned utilities like Columbia River PUD.

PUD Board President Jake Carter thanked Johnson for her tireless work.

“We are very proud and honored to be naming our ninth substation the Betsy Johnson Substation,” Carter said. “We can’t think of a more appropriate and deserving person to name this substation here at the airpark after than you, Senator Johnson. Thank you.”

The PUD is building the substation without taking on any long-term debt. By using cash, electric rates will remain stable and affordable.

The new substation is expected to be completed and energized by October of 2018.