New Oregon Liquor Warehouse Advances, but Its Price Tag Got Drunk

The agency faces an existential threat this year.

Uptown Liquor in 2010. (Leah Nash)

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission announced March 8 it would move forward with a long-planned replacement of the Milwaukie warehouse that receives nearly all of the liquor shipped to Oregon.

The bad news? Inflation in land prices and construction costs have pushed the price tag from $62.6 million in 2019 to $145.8 million.

The commission last week approved the purchase of land in Canby for the new warehouse, which will serve 280 state-licensed liquor stores—unless grocers get their way to sell liquor on their shelves.

“If we’re going to continue to be able to offer the diversity of products, the amount of products, be able to get products to our customers and also make money for the state, this is going to be an investment that will truly pay off,” Commissioner Jennifer Currin said in a statement.

The agency faces an existential threat this year from the Northwest Grocery Association, which hopes to privatize liquor sales through a ballot measure. A dispute over the ballot measure title is currently before the Oregon Supreme Court.

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