Both Apple and Facebook have built facilities in Prineville in recent years, drawing a lot of new attention to the city. Now several companies are bringing new employment opportunities to Crook County. EnviroTech Services, a maker of chemical de-icing fluid, recently opened a manufacturing plant. Hillsboro Aviation started a flight school at the airport. Woodgrain Millwork, a local wood product manufacturer, is expanding. St. Charles Health System is building the new St. Charles Prineville hospital.
There are several reasons why these companies are choosing to bring and expand their business to Prineville. The climate in Central Oregon offers several advantages, there is affordable commercial property available for purchase, and the availability of water and power is a huge plus.
The City of Prineville is retooling its education system to try to train future workers as more technology-based companies move to the area. The C.O.C.C. Crook County Open Campus offers new server-maintenance classes, and the local high school has a technology club that is supported by volunteers. Superintendent Duane Yecha says they hope to have a full-blown career technical education program to teach students skills in maintenance and similar fields in the near future.
According to a study by ECONorthwest, the construction of the Facebook data center supported around $142.7 million in local economic activity, including $51.4 million in personal income and 1,081 jobs. For every 10 jobs Facebook creates directly, it also spins off an additional 14 indirect jobs elsewhere in the state.
Trend lines are heading in the right direction. Having major companies open facilities in Prineville has given local leaders confidence, and it has also attracted several companies to follow suit and look into bringing even more business to the area, which is good for the local economy – and the community.