Clackamas County has earned state approval to offer sweeping incentives to entice large employers looking to relocate.
The Oregon Business Development Commission told county officials Monday it could create urban and rural “strategic investment zones” that offer 15-year tax abatements to large companies that choose to set up operations in one of seven Clackamas County cities.
Most Clackamas cities will use the incentive to help the county nationally market around 900 acres worth of eligible properties. Among other goals, strategic investment zones aim to lure companies that manufacture high-tech and energy-generation equipment.
To be eligible, businesses must invest either $100 million within the urban growth boundary or $25 million in the county’s rural areas to construct new facilities or purchase new equipment. Companies must also commit to hiring county residents first for new jobs created by the incentive.
Companies using the incentive would need to pay a community service fee equal to 25 percent of their tax savings per year. The figure is capped at either $2 million or $500,000, depending on whether or not the company locates inside the urban growth boundary.
None of Clackamas County’s traded-sector companies have an assessed tax value that exceeds $100 million.
“The Strategic Investment Zone is an important part of our portfolio of incentives and tools,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard, in a statement. “It’s a powerful 15-year incentive we hope will attract serious attention from large traded-sector firms once the economy rebounds.”
The incentive is an extension of Oregon’s state-administered strategic investment program. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corp., which reported $36 billion in 2009 revenue, used the strategic investment program to build $37.3 billion worth of facilities at its Hillsboro campus since 1999.