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Intel pledges $100 billion investment in Washington County

Oregon's largest for-profit employer negotiates new SIP deal with county, city of Hillsboro


Representatives of Intel Corp., Washington County and the city of Hillsboro said Monday that they have reached a proposed agreement for the microchip giant to invest $100 billion in its Portland-area plants and facilities during the next 30 years.

“That’s billion with a 'B,' ” said Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers. “It’s a staggering number.”

The agreement is considered a job-retention program and the $100 billion represents new money that Intel expects to invest in research, development and manufacturing on its Washington County campuses.

“There are 17,500 currently employed at Intel and three jobs created for every Intel job,” said Rogers, referring to a recent study by ECONorthwest, a private economic consulting firm.

The agreement was hammered out under Oregon’s Strategic Investment Program, a public-private partnership that has spurred billions of dollars in investment in Oregon in the past 20 years. In March 2014, Intel notified the county and the city that it wanted to begin formal negotiations to develop a new SIP agreement.

The state' SIP program was born in 1993 as an economic development tool approved by the Legislature. Intel’s first SIP agreement was signed with the county and the city in 1994. If enacted, the 2014 agreement would be the fifth agreement in 20 years.

Intel began manufacturing in Oregon in 1974, and it’s now the largest for-profit employer in the state. Oregon’s Intel sites are the largest the company operates.

“We’re very pleased and privileged to be here in Oregon,” said Jill Eiland, corporate affairs director for Intel Corp. in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Intel has been in Oregon since 1974. We came for reliable water, electricity and because the local government really wanted us to come here.”

Regardless, because of the ever-changing nature of the worldwide high-tech business, Eiland said “Intel would not have invested to this level in Oregon without these agreements.”

“The 2014 agreement is the same template as previous agreements, primarily for job retention,” said Rob Massar, assistant county administrator. “The primary difference is this is looking at a 30-year horizon, with mini-SIPs within that.”

Gov. John Kitzhaber praised the agreement, saying it is "proof positive that Oregon is fertile soil for business to grow and families to prosper."

"Intel not only brings the kind of jobs and economic impact that reach across the entire state, but the innovation and perseverance that embodies the Oregon spirit," Kitzhaber said.

A global leader

The proposed agreement is focused on investments in the company’s equipment replacement and on retaining employees. The multimillion-dollar machinery and equipment used in the company’s manufacturing process can become obsolete within a few years as technology evolves.

As with earlier SIP agreements, the proposed plan abates some property taxes. The proposed 2014 SIP requires Intel to make payments in two categories: those required by state law and those negotiated locally. The statutorily required payments would add up to approximately $122 million in property taxes and fees during the life of the agreement. Additional fees would total up to $228 million during the same time.

“Intel’s decision to increase its investment in Hillsboro strengthens our position as a global center for high-tech manufacturing jobs,” said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey.

“We’re thrilled that Oregon will be a global leader for the foreseeable future,” said Vince Porter, jobs and economy policy adviser for Gov. John Kitzhaber.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will be briefed on the proposed agreement at its 8:30 a.m. work session Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The board and the Hillsboro City Council plan to gather public comments at a joint meeting and hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, in the auditorium of the Cameron Public Services Building, 155 N. First Ave.

After an agreement is adopted by the county and Hillsboro, Intel will submit an application for the SIP to Business Oregon, the state agency and commission that must approve the pact, something that could happen in early September.

Business Oregon Director Sean Robbins said the proposed SIP "showcases the ability of the city, county, state and private sector in Oregon to collaborate and get things done."

"Intel is a global icon that could focus future investment anywhere in the world, and they are choosing Oregon," Robbins said. "A planned $100 billion investment represents an unprecedented commitment and it speaks volumes about where Oregon's economy is headed and our state's increasingly competitive role on the global stage."