Friday, August 14, 2020
Aug. 14, 2020

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Facebook plans third, smaller Oregon data center

The Columbian

PRINEVILLE, Ore. — Facebook Inc. has filed plans for a third data center in the central Oregon city Prineville, but it won’t bring additional jobs.

The social network company has a 334,000-square-foot facility up and running in Prineville and a twin under construction next door. The third facility would be smaller, about 62,000 square feet.

The proposed data center wouldn’t create full-time jobs, The Bulletin of Bend reported Tuesday. It would be handled by employees at one of the larger facilities.

A company spokesman said a construction timetable will depend on business.

The application gives city and county officials a chance to review the plans, said company spokesman Lee Weinstein.

“Facebook decides when and if to build additional structures as business needs dictate,” Weinstein said. “This building has always been on the drawing board.”

Facebook and other tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dell and Yahoo have been part of a data center boom in central Oregon and along the Columbia River, where electricity is relatively cheap. A moderate climate and tax breaks are also attractions.

In Prineville, in Crook County, local leaders expect more developments.

Facebook has discussed another large building, said Joshua Smith, the city’s senior planner.

“They haven’t applied for it yet, but we assume they will,” Smith said. “You never know what their plans are.”

Just across Highway 126 from Facebook, Apple is building a 10,000-square-foot data center on 160 acres the company bought from Prineville in February.

That small facility isn’t expected to have any full-time employees. Since the company has committed to providing 35 jobs in exchange for a property tax break, city officials expect the company to come forward with a bigger project. Apple hasn’t said anything about its long-term plan.

The Prineville developments have attracted Cupertino Electric Inc., of San Jose, Calif. The company specializes in solar installations and data centers and said it has opened a Prineville office “looking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by current and future clients who have decided to build projects in the area.”