PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — A farm supply and marketing cooperative has broken ground on a major expansion of its grain elevator and shipping terminal along the Columbia River in Boardman, Oregon.

The East Oregonian reported Wednesday that the co-op, Morrow County Grain Growers, plans to build a new rail unloading facility at the 35-year-old terminal. The rail would transfer grain onto river barges en route to Portland for export. The co-op would use a $2.5 million state grant for the project.

Kevin Gray, the co-op's general manager, says the project will help relieve rail congestion down the Columbia River Gorge.

Gray said the project will boost capacity at the elevator by 600,000 bushels and hire up to five new employees after construction is finished in February 2019.

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Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.com