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C.O. Lawmakers Update Their Hopes for 2012 Session


Before the 2012 legislative session began, I asked our legislators to complete this sentence: “At the end of this session I want Central Oregonians to:” I was expecting answers such as have jobs, have better education, or better health care.

For Powell Butte Rep. Mike McLane there was something else on his mind.

“Enjoy 10 years of robust construction in Prineville because we’ve become the center for data storage in the Western United States,” McLane said.

As the session winds down and is close to ending, McLane says he’s happy with his pre-session statement—and he has reason.

Facebook is already working on Phase 2, and McLane believes Facebook will get to work on Phase 3 and 4.

Apple has already purchased land, and there’s a possibility for more centers.

“We’re going to have data centers come to Prineville, and maybe not just Prineville,” McLane said. “I hope that the enterprise zones and the other parts of Central Oregon will enjoy investment as well.”

For The Dalles Rep. John Huffman, he wants confidence restored in government.

“At the end of every session, my goal is to have built stronger faith and confidence in the Legislature and what we are doing,” Huffman said.

But Huffman now says there still was too much partisan bickering this session, which made for less attention on the big issues at hand.

“That was one of my fears in this brief session, that we get involved in conversations that were too big for this session,” Huffman said. “And the perception would be, ‘You guys just go down there, and you don’t get a lot done.'”

However, Huffman does add that some important things were done this session to put Oregon in the “slightly better off” category, including McLane’s bill fixing the confusion over tax laws facing tech companies wanting to build data centers.

Bend Sen. Chris Telfer’s response was for Central Oregonians to have more job availability. Her two two bills, which she says will help with creating more jobs, have passed this session, so she’s standing by her comment.

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