A local port authority in Oregon has canceled plans for a data center after pushback from local residents.
First announced in March 2023, a new company known as Roundhouse Digital Infrastructure was proposing a 10MW data center targeting "niche government and energy industry" clients.
Roundhouse was seeking a 25-year lease from the Cascade Locks Port Authority for a vacant industrial building and for 10 acres nearby. The company aimed to invest $40 million on the first building and a further $60 million in developing a second on the empty 10 acres.
However, that project has now been canceled after opposition from local residents and the town mayor.
“The Port of Cascade Locks and Roundhouse Inc, after careful consideration, jointly announce the decision to discontinue the data center project that was previously announced,” the Port of Cascade Locks announced last week. “Both parties acknowledge the community feedback and understand the complexity and challenges surrounding the situation.”
“While the project held promise, it became evident that the level of community support required for its successful implementation was not achieved,” the authority added.
The Port Authority said that while it and Roundhouse “remain open” to exploring alternative avenues for collaboration and economic development, there are “no plans” for future partnerships or data center projects between the two organizations.
Located in Hood River County, Cascade Locks is located on the Columbia River east of Portland. It is some 50 miles away from Oregon’s traditional data center hub of Hillsboro.
The port owes nearly $6 million in loan payments on the building Roundhouse was interested in, known as Flex Building Six.
Built in 2020 and located at 1400 NE Columbia Gorge Way, Flex Six totals around 44,000 sq ft (4,100 sqm). Fashion firm Renewal Workshop had been leasing the site but exited the site last year after the business was sold to Dutch fashion logistics firm Bleckmann. The exit left the port paying more than $50,000 in monthly loans against the site without a tenant.
Some local reports highlighted CEO Stephen King’s previous business dealings that have led to legal action, but the Port Authority emphasized the decision to kill the project was “not a reflection” on any party involved, but rather a “recognition of the project's incompatibility with the community's current sentiments”.
Cascade Locks Mayor Cathy Fallon had previously said: “The bottom line is anything that Stephen King says you can’t take it for the truth. Some of what he says could be true, but you don’t know because he lacks credibility.”
Columbia Insight reported the facility would result in higher utility rates due to the increased power requirements of the area. The City of Cascade Locks consumes an average of around 4.5MW of electricity, rising as high as 7MW in winter. The Roundhouse facility would have more than doubled the power draw in the area; requiring around 4MW for the first building and another 7MW for the second.
Minutes from a port authority commission meeting even suggested a third building was being considered in the long term, potentially taking the site to 25-30MW.