A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

No more mystery: Council prepares big loan

Written October 5th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

The Stack HIP building under construction on Southeast Marion Street as it looked this afternoon.

A confidential deal tentatively approved by the Albany City Council in February now has become public: It’s a proposed city loan of $745,000 to the company that is building a high-pressure furnace for the special-metals industry.

The council discussed the deal an executive session closed to the public on Feb. 25. Then, without explanation of what it was talking about or wanted to do, it voted 6-0 “to direct staff to develop a proposal for Stack Metallurgical.” There had been no explanation since then either — until now.

The agenda for next Wednesday’s council meeting came out Friday. One item calls for the council to act on a seven-year, $745,000 loan to Stack Metallurgical. The annual interest rate is 2.5 percent with a balloon payment at year seven.

Stack Metallurgical is a Portland company that bought two parcels of industrial land on southeast Marion Street and hired Gerding Builders to construct a huge pit and a structure above it to house an HIP furnace. HIP stands for “hot isostatic pressing.” This is a method that uses argon gas to subject metal to pressures as high as 29,000 pounds per square inch at temperatures up to 2,280 degrees F, a process said to be important to the future of the Albany metals industry.

The proposed council resolution approving the loan says the “special metals industry is a critical job and wage sector for our community; … Stack HIP provides a key service to strengthen the special metals sector; and … Stack HIP requested help in financing a second structure to support a second HIP machine.”

John Pascone, president of the Albany-Millersburg Economic Development Corp., told the council earlier this year that Stack was investing nearly $30 million in the Albany installation, including $20 million to purchase an HIP machine from its manufacturer in Sweden.

Money for the loan comes out of the city’s economic development fund, which holds what’s left of Albany’s $18.5 million Gatorade/Pepsi settlement. Making this loan will bring the fund down to $1,312,048, according to economic development manager Seth Sherry.

But it’s a loan, so the money should come back over time, the same as other investments the city has made with some of the Pepsi cash. (hh)




15 responses to “No more mystery: Council prepares big loan”

  1. Delfina Hoxie says:

    Will it be eco-friendly as in no pollution?

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    So 20 of the $30 million investment can be hauled away at their whim?

  3. J. Jacobson says:

    The most reassuring thing about this article: we can rest comfortably knowing City Moms and Pops operate with a level of transparency not seen since Trump hid his illicit phone calls on the White House/Kremlin Secret Server.

    Do Albany’s Moms and Pops have a “secret server” as well?

  4. Leroy says:

    Lemme see 29,000 psi at 2,200 degrees. What could possibly go wrong? A little Natural gas leak at 7 psi at 54 dgrees can level a city block.
    Im out by LBCC waiting for shrapnel from that tank exploding. I hope the close neighbors have their life insurance premiums paid up. Their familys may need it if they can be scrapped together after the blast.

    • centrist says:

      Yes, the operating conditions are pretty extreme, but argon doesn’t burn.
      Nat gas leaks do serious damage because the combustion products have much greater volume and the blast front moves at high speed

    • Derek says:

      Except NG is explosive and argon isn’t.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Has the *ever* happened with one of these specific “high-pressure furnace[s]” from this company?

    • NancyM. says:

      Is there a recall and referendum for City Council members or impeachment proceedings
      or anything?

  5. Thom says:

    If I am understanding correctly the city is loaning little over 1 million to a company making a 30 million dollar investment. What do they need city money to do? Doesn’t seem to make sense.

  6. J. Jacobson says:

    Crony Capitalism perfected.
    Take from Pepsi. Give to Stack Metallurgical.

  7. NancyM. says:

    Someone please “clue me in”. Why did this have to be so confidential (secretive) with
    the Executive session of City Council in 2-19? Is there concern for the safety of such
    equipment, reduction of property values in southeast Albany, proximity of this furnace
    near the water supply (Albany Canal), air and noise pollution,etc. Always wondered
    what happened to the 17 million from PepsiCo.

  8. NancyM. says:

    Will Albany perchance ever become another Chernobyl if an accident occurs? What is
    purpose of this equipment to the “rare metals Industry”? Apparently harmful to titanium?
    Money is gone…what about purpose and safety? Very concerned citizens not made
    aware of important questions prior to granting permit.

  9. BillH says:

    So what happens when this big turd turns into Pepsi II? Any of our highly sophisticated financial managers with the City figured that out?

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      The Gatorade/Pepsi plant never broke ground before they bailed on their contract & very correctly deserved the consquences. This project is already under construction – huge difference IMO.


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