Writings and observations

Prineville from tires to tech

data center

Facebook’s Prineville Data Center/Facebook architectural rendering

Prineville in central Oregon (a little northeast of Bend) would strike you on a visit as a classic small town from another era – streetscapes that look not so far removed from the 60s or 70s, a calm sensibility. A good deal of traffic passing through owing to the confluence of highways; but this is a town, of about 10,000, out on the edge of national forest and public lands, well away from population centers. Its key business for many years has been Les Schwab Tires, though in 2006 it announced plans to move its corporate headquarters to Bend. A tire seller would be the kind of basic business you might expect to be central in Prineville.

Not the kind of place you’d expect to find a substantial data center for a cutting edge operation like Facebook.

And yet here we are. From a governor’s press release:

Governor Ted Kulongoski announced today that Facebook, the world’s
leading social networking service with more than 350 million users, will locate a multi-million dollar data center in Prineville. The facility, which will help store and route information posted by users, is expected to create more than 200 jobs during its 12-month construction phase. When finished, the data center will employ at least 35 full-time workers and dozens more part-time and contract employees. Additional construction phases may be possible in the future, depending on business needs.

“This is great news for Prineville and really the entire state. I am pleased to welcome this leading Internet technology company to Oregon,” said Governor Kulongoski. “The stable, family-wage jobs and economic stimulus they will provide to this area during construction are a bright spot as this nation and this state climb out of this recession.”

Governor Kulongoski said the state has been working with Facebook’s representatives for a number of months to help bring together the land, utilities and incentives to make the project a success.

This may not immediately change the small-town feel of Prineville. But it will certainly give an additional layer of experience.

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