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Scenes from Google's $600M Oregon investment

by Malia Spencer | Staff Reporter Portland Business Journal Saturday March 25, 2017    10:46 AM
Search giant Google started construction this week on its latest Oregon data center in The Dalles.

The new $600 million facility will be the company's fourth data center in The Dalles. This project brings the company's total investment in The Dalles to $1.8 billion since 2005.

Last summer, the city of The Dalles and Wasco County approved a 15-year tax abatement deal with the company. Under the deal, Google must invest at least $200 million and create 10 jobs. The company expects this project will create around 50 jobs.

"This represents our commitment to Wasco County and the state of Oregon, and we look forward to our continued close work with this community," said Dave Karlson, Google operations manager.

Google has three different agreements with the local governments for its data centers. In exchange for tax abatements on the data centers' equipment, the company pays annual fees. For the newest data center, the fee is $1.14 million a year while the agreement is in effect. Combined with the previous agreements the company will pay $2.19 million in fees.

Additionally, the company will pay at least $1.7 million up front, including $250,000 to the Port of The Dalles to develop additional industrial land.

In August, when the city and county approved the tax abatement agreement, Wasco County Commissioner Scott Hege noted the importance of these projects to the county. Though data centers are not huge job creators the jobs that are created are high paying.

"We are nearing 200 jobs at their complex now and anticipate another 50 perhaps," Hege said at the time. "Relative to our fairly small town, 150 to 200 jobs in this economy is pretty significant."

At this week's groundbreaking ceremony for the project, The Dalles-Wasco County Library also received support from Google. The library received a $100,000 grant from the company for equipment and programs for children's STEM education.

Hege and other local government officials noted that as Google has expanded in The Dalles it has supported the local community with grants totaling $1.2 million since 2008.

Malia covers technology, startups and entrepreneurs. Sign up for her free, twice-weekly newsletter, TechFlash.

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