After government, Kropf plans future with family, fuels

State Rep. Jeff Kropf says he plans to retire from Oregon government after, he hopes, serving one more term.

Kropf, 47, who farms north of Sublimity, is planning for a career change in which he plans to work in biofuels — fuels made from grains, wood fiber and other vegetable products.

“Ten years is long enough,” he said of his legislative career. “I need to spend more time with my family.”

His plans include “lots of traveling” with his wife of 11 years, Peggy Sue.

“I’m going to try to repair years of neglect,” he said. “I value my marriage more than public service.”

Kropf said he still has to make a living, so he intends to join a new company, now called Project Fuels, that plans to build 10 biofuels plants in Oregon or Washington.

He said the plants will be the nation’s largest. The first plants are planned for Vancouver and Umatilla.

The Vancouver plant would produce biodiesel, which could be shipped out of the area’s deep-water port. The Umatilla plant would produce ethanol.

Kropf said he believes biofuels could benefit communities such as Sweet Home.

“The reason why this is good for Sweet Home is because so much of the wood waste could be converted cheaply into ethanol with the new cellulose breakdown technology that’s being developed.”

He said that Oregon State University is working on nanoscience conversion to create biofuels from any substance containing carbon — animal waste, straw (such as the grass stubble that’s currently burned in the valley) and fat from slaughterhouses.

Also, he noted, Lebanon businessman Rick Franklin is working on gasification technology with the University of North Dakota.

Gasification is the process of turning coal or carbon-based waste materials into gas for use as a fuel, a process first used by the Germans during World War II.

“This is going to happen very soon,” Kropf said.

“Technology is going to create efficiencies so many natural products can be converted to biofuels. I want to be part of that.”