PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKFORD CORP.
LAKEVIEW Laid-back Lakeview could be changing its look in a hurry this summer as the digging begins for a 675-mile natural gas pipeline to ship Wyoming gas to California. Jim Ruhwedel, project manager for the Hillsboro-based pipeline contractor Rockford Corp., plans to hire 1,300 people for the 125-mile section of the project he’s overseeing, with 600 of those jobs based in Lakeview (population 2,500, elevation 4,800 feet). Rockford is looking for union equipment operators, laborers, truckers and welders at wages ranging from $30 to $60 per hour. A few regulatory hurdles remain, but pipeline officials hope to get started in July. The project is expected to be quick and intense, lasting just six or seven months by Ruhwedel’s estimate. But even a short-term hiring spree could do economic wonders for sparsely populated Lake County, which had all of 2,050 non-farm jobs as of March 2010.