Apple buys more land in Prineville

Tech giant purchases nearly 200 acres from Crook County

By Joseph Ditzler, The Bulletin , @josefditzler

Apple Inc. closed on the sale of just under 200 acres in Prineville on Friday for $3.6 million, said Crook County Judge Michael McCabe.

McCabe — chairman of the county commission, which in Crook County is called the County Court — said the property is adjacent to the tech giant’s existing Prineville facility, which is south of state Highway 126 and east of Baldwin Road. Crook County sold the tract to Apple, he said.

He said Apple has given officials few details of its plans for the site.

“They haven’t shared that with us,” McCabe said.

In April, the company filed an application to expand its data center operations. The application, which McCabe said is still pending, called for two pods, the large structures that house server farms that Apple uses for its cloud computing services, according to The Bulletin archives.

The permit application filed in April listed new construction with an estimated value of $5.88 million. Another permit application filed concurrently for the same project listed $638,000 in interior work.

Apple bought 159 acres and started its Prineville campus in 2012.

McCabe said he expects Apple to apply for the same Oregon enterprise zone tax abatements it already enjoys on its existing facility. The 15-year agreements, created by the state to encourage development in counties with high unemployment rates, save companies millions of dollars in taxes on equipment and site improvements. In return, they must create a specific number of jobs that pay well above the county median wage.

McCabe said Apple previously agreed to create 35 jobs at that rate. “They’re really family-wage jobs,” he said.

Although building the data centers creates scores of temporary construction jobs, their actual operation depends on only a relative handful of employees.

McCabe said Apple as well as Facebook, which operates a similar facility in Prineville, have held to “handshake agreements” to put some locals to work inside the facilities. Facebook announced plans earlier this month to construct a third data center building, which it expects to be even larger than the two existing 334,000-square-foot centers.

Apple’s investment infuses “economic vitality” into the county, he said. He said Crook County enjoys “a great relationship” with the Cupertino, California-based firm. The multiplier effect alone is a boon to the county, McCabe said.

“I don’t know how many (Apple) employs” in total, he said. “But one job in Crook County is equal to 50 in Multnomah County.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,

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