Are Data Centers Taking Over Oregon’s Industrial Land?

This post was originally published on Data Center Knowledge

In 1985, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill offering tax breaks to companies looking to plant their roots in Oregon’s “enterprise zones,” generally situated in small, economically distressed towns across Oregon. The hope was that the tax breaks would encourage new job opportunities for locals, aid small businesses in expansion, and help to establish these Oregon towns as crucial sites of industry. There are currently 76 enterprise zones across Oregon; 58 are considered “rural” and 18 “urban,” all of which are managed by local government.  However, the enterprise zones were introduced before lawmakers could have foreseen the explosion of tech corporations like Amazon and Apple, which have monopolized much of zoned industrial land in Oregon.

Oregon is home to 35 colocation centers, seven of which are AWS data centers. Tech companies are drawn to Oregon because of its available industrial land, significant tax breaks, and access to water. The rapid construction doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. Just last year, Amazon announced they plan to spend another 11.8 billion to build five new data centers. This begs the question: what other industries might have flourished if industrial land had not been monopolized by data centers?  

Could Data Centers Encroach on

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