The Hood River Planning Commission this week signed off on plans for the new location of Sheppard’s, the longtime Hood River supplier of orchard and vineyard equipment (John Deere etc.).
Based on conceptual drawings prepared by Surround Architecture of Portland, the site at the northwest corner of North Second Street and Riverside Drive will offer an outdoor showroom that showcases the valley’s agricultural heritage.
Once it’s complete, the new facility will include 20,000 square feet of space for an equipment showroom, service and repairs.
Sheppard said the family has no plans now for what to do with the site it will vacate.
He said the construction timeline will firm up in the next couple of weeks, but the company is tentatively looking at completion of the new facility and relocation in 2016.
Sheppard said the relocation became imperative because the company needs parking for large trucks making deliveries, and for its customers.
“The business has been expanding over the last several years, a result of the farm economy,” Sheppard said. “The farm economy has been good, and that affects us directly.”
Freeway access will let the company better serve its base of specialty crop growers in Hood River and Wasco counties.
“One reason for the move to the Port is that we do a lot of business east of here, in the cherry orchards and wine grapes,” Sheppard said.
The site, once planned for a Burger King, covers almost two acres. Michael McElwee, executive director of the Port of Hood River, says the Port entered into an agreement with the Sheppard family late last year. Under the agreement, they can buy the property if they meet a host of requirements.
At a meeting with the Port commission June 16, the Sheppards will detail progress on planning, toward lining up financing and permitting. Once all the pieces are in place, the property sale can close. McElwee said that would likely happen this fall.
“Everything we’ve seen looks good so far,” he said.