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Port Of Vancouver Cancels Bio Sciences Facility

<p>The Port of Vancouver canceled plans to convert the vacant Red Lion hotel into a bio-science facility.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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The Port of Vancouver canceled plans to convert the vacant Red Lion hotel into a bio-science facility.

The Port of Vancouver is scrapping plans to build a new life sciences facility at the site of a former hotel. At their meeting Tuesday, port commissioners voted to cancel their lease with AbSci, a Portland-based bio-tech company.

“We find ourselves now this summer looking at a space that no longer fits AbSci’s needs at this time," said Abbi Russel, a spokeswoman with the Port of Vancouver.

Last November, the Port of Vancouver announced plans to renovate the Red Lion hotel into laboratory space. At the time, AbSci announced it would move across the river.

Russel said the company has grown faster than anticipated and the lab space no longer works. So far, she said, the port has spent about $46,000 to renovate hotel rooms into lab space.

Russel said AbSci has agreed to pay back those costs.

Southwest Washington economic leaders say AbSci still plans to relocate to Vancouver. Those leaders say they will continue to work to attract other bio-tech companies to the area.

"We're encouraged by AbSci's strong growth and commitment to relocating to Vancouver, even if it's not at (the Port of Vancouver)," said Mike Bomar, president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council. "Given the nature of AbSci's technology and their ability to be an influential player in the biotech sector, we believe that they have the potential to serve as a catalyst in the efforts to attract additional biotech companies to Southwest Washington."

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.