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Data center could add $40 million to local economy

By Cindy Yingst, Thursday, March 7, 2019

The developer of a technology data center proposed for Warrenton estimates employees there could make a $40 million positive impact on the local economy each year.

In general, data centers employ those skilled in technologies and they make higher salaries than the average worker, explained Mark Cox, chief executive manager of Agile Design LLC, the development’s primary proponent.

Cox met at Warrenton City Hall with county and city leaders last week in a meeting arranged by the North Coast Regional Solutions Team of Business Oregon, a state agency.

The group discussed permits, land-use limitations, transportation and utilities and it gave both sides a chance to ask questions.

“This project will have a significant economic impact on this community, so it’s important we work together to resolve these issues quickly,” Cox said. “We need to have a reasonable certainty that if processes are followed, then permits will be granted in a reasonable time frame.”

Department of State Lands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers both have specific and extensive permit requirements, particularly since the area proposed for the data center is in the North Coast Business Park, which has some wetlands issues.

Cox said he gained clarity from representatives of both agencies, who attended the meeting.

“The developer has a very tall order in front of him to not only meet the county’s requirements, but the state,” said Kevin Cronin, Warrenton’s Community Development director.

The project will bring high-end jobs and other opportunities, but data centers also have high water-use needs.

“The city’s interest is certainly the jobs, but it’s also in providing adequate infrastructure,” Cronin said. “What I’m excited about is the entire campus.”

Agile Design plans to provide space and opportunities for Columbia Memorial Hospital, a workforce development hub and a cluster of new businesses.

“It will create a better, stronger, more diversified local economy,” Cronin said.

Others attending the meeting with Agile Designs included representatives of Business Oregon, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Land Conservation and Development, the nonprofit Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District, Oregon Department of Transportation and Clatsop Economic Development Resources.

Community support is essential, Cox said. While he currently lives in California, he was born and raised in Clatsop County and attended college in Oregon. Agile has set up a short online survey to take public comment.

** Get involved

Agile Design would like to get as much public input as possible. A two-minute survey for residents can be found at agiledesign.net/datacenter.

Mark Cox


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