ConAgra Foods plans $200M Boardman addition

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Food industry giant ConAgra Foods Inc. is planning a $200 million upgrade to its Lamb Weston frozen potato operations in Boardman.

ConAgra (NYSE: CAG), based in Omaha, Neb., said it plans to add a new line to the plant that will boost capacity for making french fries and which will generate about 100 jobs.

Construction of the 192,000 square foot addition is slated to begin in early 2013, with completion in 2014.

ConAgra said in a press release that growing demand for frozen potato products domestically and, in particular, internationally warrants the added capacity.

"This expansion also reflects our confidence in the region's growers to deliver high-quality potatoes while working with state and local government to ensure long-term, sustainable growing practices, said Rick Martin, vice president for global operations at ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston.

ConAgra indicated it has been working with Columbia River Enterprise Zone, Port of Morrow, city of Boardman, Morrow County and the state of Oregon to lay the groundwork for the addition.

With government offices closed Monday, no information was immediately available on any tax breaks or other public subsidies the project might receive. However, Oregon's enterprise zones primarily exempt businesses from local property taxes on new investments, often for up to 15 years in rural areas.

Also, the press release quoted Tim McCabe, director of state economic development agency Business Oregon, as saying the agency looks forward to working with the Port of Morrow, the city of Boardman and Morrow County "as a partner to assist Lamb Weston's growth and ensure they remain a major employer in the area for years to come."

The Portland Business Journal is a KATU News partner.