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Nathan Buehler
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Email; 503-689-3559

June 9, 2016 Media Contact
Nathan Buehler 503-689-3559

Partnership Pulls Together Solution for Eastern Oregon Business

EP Minerals able to proceed with expansion with rebuilding of Juntura Road

(Salem, OR)—State and local officials in partnership with EP Minerals, LLC have come up with the funds to rebuild a critical road the company needs to transport its products, allowing EP Minerals to continue growth in rural Malheur County. EP Minerals employs about 150 in the region, and now expects to add another 20 jobs with increased production occurring when the road is repaired.

"Transportation improvements like the rebuilding of Juntura Road is a catalytic project for rural Oregon, creating jobs, growing businesses, and supporting communities," said Governor Kate Brown.

EP Minerals produces diatomaceous earth for use as a filtering agent, natural pesticide, and many other purposes. Officials from the county and state have been in talks with EP minerals since 2014 to come up with a plan to address the disrepair of Juntura Road. The company has been maintaining the road with an understanding that the county and state would pursue a long-term solution.

"The collaboration among federal and state agencies, local governments and private business to get this road rebuilt was something we don't often see. Having Juntura Road rebuilt will allow us to continue to increase production as the demand for diatomaceous earth continues to grow," said Jon Godla, VP of Operations of EP Minerals, LLC.

The road is located in neighboring Harney County, and services over 172,500 acres of federal land including two well-used hunting units, grazing land, cultural sites, and several recreation sites. The road was never intended to withstand the current level of use, and is past the point of repair, needing to be rebuilt.

"I want to thank the Governor and the state of Oregon for support of the Juntura Road project," said Oregon State Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario. "I understand how many requests are received from around the state for funding infrastructure projects, and I appreciate the Governor and all the partners supporting the need this community has for the jobs that will be protected as a result of the Governor's decision to provide this final funding."

Business Oregon is allocating $415,570 in lottery-sourced funds from its Strategic Reserve Fund, and $315,000 from its Special Public Works fund. Funding from Harney County, Malheur County, EP Minerals, ODOT, Federal FLAP program, and a specific allocation from the Oregon legislature make up the rest of the funding for the project. The project will cost $6.7 million in all, and the construction is expected to begin as early as this summer.

"We could not have asked for better partners than Business Oregon, ODOT, Regional Solutions and Governor Kate Brown. This $6.7 million project would not have been possible without their hard work and dedication," said Greg Smith, Malheur County Economic Development Director. "The positive economic impact from the replacement of Juntura Road will be felt in our region for years to come."

Also in the process of discussing the road, the team found an opportunity for the company to purchase wood pallets from an Oregon company, that it had previously been sourcing from an out-of-state firm. Malheur County's Economic Development office worked closely with the company to make this happen.

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, works to create, retain, expand and attract businesses that provide sustainable, living-wage jobs for Oregonians through public-private partnerships, leveraged funding, and support of economic opportunities for Oregon companies and entrepreneurs.