Shepherds Flat project boosts rural employment

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010

WindmillMediumThe dozens of jobs being created to build the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm are economic manna for distressed Gilliam and Morrow counties.

“We basically have zero industry,” says Gilliam County Judge Pat Shaw. “This is a big boost to our economy.”

At least 100 jobs in construction and related industries are expected to be created over two years. Jack Ingram, who is co-owner with Gene Williamson of Arlington-based W.I. Construction, a concrete provider, was awarded a $23 million contract to provide road materials. “It’s an absolute saving grace,” he says. His sales in 2009 decreased 94% from the year before.

W.I. Construction started work on March 3. Ingram expects to provide 25 to 30 jobs and subcontract with three local businesses. His normal staffing level is seven.

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm will be the largest wind farm in the world when completed in 2012, with 338 wind turbines across 30 square miles in Gilliam and Morrow counties powering about 235,000 homes a year. It will have 35 full-time employees when operational.

Shepherds Flat will have impact beyond job creation. Shaw expects 20 years of population decline to end as people move there for work, and public school enrollment would in turn increase.

The county annually will receive between $4 million and $5 million in property taxes. A community service fee that wind farms pay each year could total up to $500,000. The money will be used for libraries, schools and infrastructure service improvements. “We look to the wind farms to sustain the county’s finances,” Shaw says.

Jessica Bates, Gilliam County’s economic developer, says Shepherds Flat only represents a third of the wind farms Gilliam County could have in the coming decades.

AMANDA WALDROUPE
 

More Articles

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS