mushrooms ostrom's standing
Cut and cleaned White Button mushrooms wait for shipping in 2007 at Ostrom’s in Lacey. (Tony Overman/The Olympian)
 

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- A westside mushroom grower is getting help from the state to relocate.

Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, said the state’s supplemental capital budget includes $1 million for the Port of Sunnyside to offset the construction of Ostrom’s Mushroom Farms growing facility in the Lower Valley economic development district.

Chandler and Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, had sponsored bills seeking to waive sales tax on equipment, materials and labor in constructing the $25 million plant.

Instead, the state is putting $1 million toward infrastructure at the port, which Chandler said will help offset some of Ostrom’s costs in relocating there.

“The total number is a little less, but it should be enough for the Port of Sunnyside and Ostrom’s,” Chandler said.

David Knudsen, president and CEO of the Olympia-based company, said the state’s contribution will aid the company’s efforts to expand into Sunnyside.

“We’re that much closer to bringing it in,” Knudsen said of plans to purchase land at the port and build the facility.

He said the company is still in the process of lining up financing for the effort.

Ostrom’s is planning to replace an older facility in Everson, 5 miles south of the Canadian border, with the Sunnyside facility. Its farm in Lacey is hemmed in by homes and stores, making it difficult to expand, Knudsen said.

During committee hearings, Ostrom’s officials said currency rates were driving up the cost of equipment from Europe, and state assistance would allow the company to stay in business.

Chandler said the plant would be a boon to the Lower Valley, as it would provide at least 200 full-time, year-round agricultural jobs in an area where many people work seasonally.