October 14, 2010

Wyden Calls on BPA, PacifiCorp to Aid Facebook Expansion and Economic Development in Central Oregon

Portland, OR – Looking to create jobs and expand economic development in Central Oregon, Senator Ron Wyden today urged the Bonneville Power Administration and PacifiCorp to ensure that Facebook has the power it needs to expand its new facility in Prineville.

“Facebook’s decision to locate a server facility in Prineville is one of the bright spots in the Central Oregon economy and a harbinger of more construction and high-tech jobs to come,” Wyden said. “Now, Facebook’s effort to triple its commitment to the region is facing a lack of capacity at a local BPA substation.”

Wyden talked today with Stephen Wright, administrator of the BPA, which owns the Ponderosa Substation south of Prineville, and Pat Reiten, president of Pacific Power, which provides the power, about the need to upgrade the substation as soon as possible to coincide with Facebook’s expansion plans.

“I don’t want to see the need for a new substation or other infrastructure stand in the way of bringing jobs and economic development to Central Oregon,” Wyden said. “If successful, fast-growing companies like Facebook are going to locate here, then the region needs to keep pace or risk losing these high-paying, family-wage jobs to other parts of the country.”

Facebook's first server building in Prineville is currently under construction. The company has announced plans for expanding this initial building and has been evaluating additional buildings for 2012 and 2013. Each potential facility requires additional electricity, which is beyond the current capacity of the surrounding power infrastructure. While the BPA intends to upgrade this infrastructure in a way that will meet the needs of Facebook, it doesn¹t plan to do that until 2014.

The two additional buildings will keep the estimated 200 construction workers now at Facebook on the job significantly longer. Once all the buildings are completed and online, there will likely be an increase in permanent jobs from the 35 predicted for the first building.