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

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.

0315 input01 620px

 

Reader comments:

"I feel private enterprises are capable of operating at a higher efficiency than state government."

"This has been used in Oregon since the mid-1800s. It is not a new financing method. This form of financing may help Oregon close its infrastructure deficit by leveraging funds."


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


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