PRINEVILLE, OR -- A number of businesses are rumored to be looking to relocate in Prineville. Mayor Betty Roppe was told by Economic Development for Central Oregon that the 10 prospects could bring up to 500 new jobs. "One of the things we believe strongly is that our community needs living wage jobs. And, we don’t want to make them all in one area, we want to have a diversity of jobs," Roppe tells KBND News. "In the past, we mainly had timber products and tire products. That’s fine, but if something goes wrong and you have all of your eggs in one basket then you lose them all. And, that’s what happened with the timber industry."
The types of businesses looking at Prineville are a closely guarded secret. "I even said to my city manager, ‘Steve [Forrester], do we have any idea what kind of jobs these are?’ and he said, ‘No, I just know that there’s about 10 different companies that are looking at our place right now.’ So, we have no clue. We just keep dealing with them and eventually get closer to them saying ‘yes, we want to purchase some land,’ or ‘yes, we want to come.’"
Mayor Roppe says she’s working to get answers to questions these mystery businesses may ask during negotiations, including how much electricity is available. Facebook and Apple data centers already pull a lot of power, but she’s hopeful those concerns won’t be a barrier. "We need to know what we have available and we need to have that answer in our pocket. It was interesting to me that when we met in 2012, Bonneville Power said at that time we had approximately 400 megawatts. And, I assumed that was there waiting for us. And, when we checked with them about 6 months ago, we didn’t have that much. And they said, ‘no, it fluctuates all the time.’": She says she’s working with Bonneville Power, P-G-E, Central Electric Co-Op and others to secure a steady stream of electricity.