WATCH: Port commissioner Don Johnson discusses Tacoma methanol plant

Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Johnson talks about what Northwest Innovation Works will have to do to earn his vote for a requested extension of a lease term.
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Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Johnson talks about what Northwest Innovation Works will have to do to earn his vote for a requested extension of a lease term.
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Port of Tacoma

Methanol lease to be decided in Lakewood conference center

April 11, 2016 11:19 AM

When the Port of Tacoma commission decides whether to extend a lease provision for a controversial methanol plant, it will do so from a Lakewood conference center.

The meeting will be held at noon Monday, April 25, at the Clover Park Technical College’s McGavick Conference Center.

“It’s a combination of the availability, the capacity, the parking and the ability to accommodate live-streaming of the meeting that the community now expects of us,” said Lou Paulsen, Port of Tacoma director for strategic operations projects.

Paulsen said he expects the meeting to last two hours. The venue has room for 500 people.

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Port of Tacoma commissioners had hoped to hear from project backer Northwest Innovation Works prior to the April 25 meeting, but a port spokeswoman said calendars for both parties did not align.

Some commissioners took the lack of flexibility as a sign that the company had lost interest in its Tacoma project. Northwest Innovation Works is planning two more plants to convert natural gas into methanol for export to China: one in Kalama and another near Clatskanie, Oregon. Tacoma’s project, if built, would be the largest methanol plant in the world. Once in China, methanol will be used to make plastics.

Without an extension in the feasibility period, the China-backed company could pay hundreds of thousands more dollars per month than its current $8,000 monthly terms. It would also lose the ability to back out of the lease if the feasibility period expires.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

Port of Tacoma commission meeting

When: Noon, Monday, April 25.

Where: Clover Park Technical College McGavick Conference Center, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Building 23, Lakewood.

What: For the port commission to consider extending a lease provision for Northwest Innovation Works’ proposed methanol plant on the Tacoma Tideflats.