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Biogas Company Ceases Seeking Public Funds

The company behind a proposed biogas plant in northeast Portland sent city leaders a letter Friday, saying it’s no longer pursuing public money for its project.

If built as conceived, the Columbia Biogas facility would turn organic garbage into natural gas. Backers say it’s a green energy project with environmental and economic benefits.

Company officials had been talking to Portland leaders for months, in hopes of finding ways to get public investment for the facility. But recent press coverage indicated some city leaders were skeptical.

Columbia Biogas President John McKinney says timing, politics and a tough budget environment all played into the decision to stop seeking city funds. But McKinney says he’s also been able to shore up private investment, in part thanks to the press coverage.

“We believe that a public-private partnership would have been a really good fit, but we’re quite capable of financing it privately now, we believe,” McKinney says.

In a letter to Mayor Sam Adams, McKinney says his company decided on Wednesday to stop pursuing public money. McKinney says the company expects to finalize financing in the next four months, with construction expected to begin by late summer. 

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