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04.11.2015
Data centers have become a huge industry in Oregon, where many of the world's biggest tech companies take advantage of the state's enterprise zone property tax breaks.
Facebook says the four-year buildout of its massive data center complex in Prineville created nearly 1,500 jobs during the construction project that began in 2009, the key finding in an economic impact report the company issued Wednesday.
While data centers employ relatively few people when they're up and running (billions of dollars worth of computers do all the work), they do create large numbers of construction jobs while they're going up. Facebook operates two, 330,000-square-foot data centers in Prineville and has space for a third.
Facebook's data centers employ 113 people, but ECONorthwest said secondary effects nearly double the employment impact. For 2013, ECONorthwest estimated the total value of economic activity from Facebook's Prineville operations at $45 million.
One element not in Facebook's report: The utility franchise fees generated by the company's power use. Previously, Facebook had disclosed that its Prineville data centers used 153 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2012, equivalent to the power use of roughly 13,000 homes. The company hasn't disclosed 2013 numbers yet, but the total is likely considerably higher because Facebook brought additional sections of its operation online last year. Neither city officials in Prineville nor Facebook are able to discuss negotiations publicly until an agreement has been reached. Facebook is expected to return documents this week which will be reviewed and considered at a September 2 Crook County Court meeting. Facebook’s possible expansion in Prineville was acknowledged by Weinstein PR President and Facebook Spokesperson Lee Weinstein.
According to analytics website Kissmetrics, Facebook has 500 million active users of whom 50 percent log in every day. Facebook was initially drawn to Prineville as a data center location due to access to affordable power and a climate that offers the ability to reduce energy consumption through use of outdoor air for cooling.
According to Weinsten, Facebook’s Long Term Enterprise Zone (LTEZ) program’s original commitment was to create 35 jobs that pay 150 percent of the median wage in Crook County. Prior to Facebook’s development, the subject property was vacant land and therefore only generating a few thousand dollars in property taxes annually.


An economic impact study of five years of construction and 2013 operations prepared for Facebook by Portland-based ECONorthwest released in 2014 found that the data center has brought $45 million in economic activity to the region in 2013, which has turned into new opportunities for residents and existing and new companies. According to the economic impact study Facebook has generated 651 jobs in Central Oregon and 3,592 in total in Oregon. Facebook has awarded over $1,065,000 to Crook County schools and qualified nonprofits through its Community Action Grants program, offers internship programs for local students and regularly donates to Crook County organizations. Cascade Business News, Central Oregon's business newspaper, is a local, family owned and operated by Pamela Hulse Andrews and Jeff Martin. The company also plans an unspecified green energy project in the area, according to Prineville's city manager. The secretive Silicon Valley company issued a brief statement on its plans after Crook County and Prineville voted last week to approve a tax break deal that will exempt most of the project from property taxes. Apple paid $5.6 million in February to buy 160 acres in Prineville and almost immediately began construction of a 10,000 square-foot, modular server farm on the bluffs above town.
It's impossible to value Apple's tax breaks at this point, because the size of the tax exemption will depend on how much the company invests in Prineville. But in Prineville -- population 9,300 -- and other small communities, even a few dozen jobs can make a big difference.
Prineville is also negotiating with representatives of a third project, known variously by the code names "Cloud" and "Jasper," according Forrester. While Forrester said he did not know the real name of the company behind the project, people familiar with Prineville's economic development efforts say they believe the company in question is Texas-based data hosting specialist Rackspace.
Rackspace has been discussing a similar project at the Port of Morrow near Boardman, where Amazon already has a large data center, according to documents obtained by The Oregonian through a public records request. Wednesday's report is the first time the Facebook has disclosed total construction employment. Including "indirect" and "induced" impacts, which are somewhat speculative, ECONorthwest estimated Facebook's total construction impact at $573.2 million.
Facebook notes that its operations helped prompt an expansion of a regional power substation, which could enable additional economic activity in the region. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Oregon Live LLC.


Commissioner Seth Crawford said that lawyers have advised not to discuss any information about a potential new Facebook data center in Prineville but that more information should be available in the coming weeks. However, information will not be available until after Crook County and Facebook makes their decision on whether plans are agreeable or not. With Facebook continuing to grow its user base and develop new apps and software an additional data center may be necessary. Upon completion of the second building Facebook acknowledged that there is room on the Facebook Prineville campus for a third data hall that would be constructed as business needs dictate.
Now, more than 147 people are employed by Facebook and its contractors work full-time at the data center.
Facebook has also invested in fiber and power infrastructure that will benefit the region for years to come. Educated at Oregon State University and New Mexico State University, he publishes prose, poetry and travel narratives in addition to operating a blog. The company has told Prineville officials it plans a green energy project in Crook County, too, but hasn't specified what it will build.Apple says its new Prineville data center will employ "dozens" when it opens, and bring hundreds of temporary construction jobs to Crook County in the interim. In addition to the hundreds of employees at our retail stores, we will be hiring dozens of people and bringing hundreds of construction jobs to the area."Custom data centers like the one Apple is building in Prineville are huge buildings stuffed with powerful computers called servers.
Facebook opened its first company-owned data center there last year near Apple's site, and is now building a matching facility next door. When it was exploring plans for Prineville last year, Apple described a 31-megawatt data center -- enough energy to power five cities of Prineville's size. But Apple has indicated it also plans a green energy project in Prineville, according to Forrester. It doesn't take many people to monitor those machines, so they create relatively few jobs and consume a great deal of energy powering the computers.




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