"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

A more strategic fit?

No one in Eugene (well, at least, hardly anyone) wanted the Hynix computer semiconductor plant in that city to shut down – as it did last year – and thereby wipe out about 1,300 jobs. There’s not any way to spin that as good news for the city.

But . . . the news this week that Uni-Chem of South Korea and Spire Corporation of Massachusetts (in a joint deal) might buy the plant to build solar cells and modules, and thereby restore about 1,000 jobs, might be something a little more than just a recovery story.

Welcome enough on that basis, of course. But the semiconductor business (while certainly valuable on its own merits) had relatively little synergy, brought not a tremendous number of spinoffs to Eugene. The combination of other and related solar and electric vehicle developments in Oregon are a different matter. If this new plant develops the way it sounds it might, this could be a critical link in making the Willamette Valley a keystone in that new and rapidly developing industry. We may wind some some time off looking back on this as a development larger even than the (again, important on its merits) restoration of 1,000 or so jobs.

Share on Facebook