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Central Oregon

Jefferson County offers incentives for more industrial space

Jefferson County has finalized a grant program that offers a cash incentive for the private development community to construct new industrial or light industrial space within the county’s borders.

For years, all existing heavy and light industrial space has been fully occupied in Madras, Metolius, Culver, Crooked River Ranch and Warm Springs, which the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners see as a barrier for business development.

This incentive would offer up to $125,000 for construction of a 60,000-square-foot building available for lease. The minimum size for eligibility is 20,000 square feet, which would yield a $75,000 cash grant. Sizes in between will be prorated.

Additionally, the grant recipient may also apply for up to $18,000 in “rent gap coverage” to
defray costs if the building remains vacant after completion. This grant is designed for maximum flexibility and does not require a specific property to be identified at the time of the application.

However, those applications with land control (lease or ownership) will be scored higher. Applicants also need not have a tenant in hand to apply. The deadline for applications for this incentive is Nov. 4 at 2:00pm.

“It is widely known that a shortage of built industrial space available for lease in a community is a barrier for both existing businesses to expand and companies outside our borders to relocate,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Kelly Simmelink. “We don’t want to lose opportunities due to a 12-18 month permitting and construction time frame,” he noted.

Commissioner Mae Huston emphasized that financial capital is also a constraint. “Many of the economic development tools to attract business to Jefferson County are geared to businesses that can be patient through a building project and have sufficient capital for ground-up development,” said Huston.

“The data tells us that most business owners would rather direct their capital and attention to the business rather than real estate,” continued Huston.

Wayne Fording, local business owner and longtime commissioner, sees the incentive as a way for the public sector to help mitigate private sector risk of investing in new speculative space. “The grant program’s goal is to get someone to add inventory, and we believe occupancy will follow quickly,” said Fording.

This grant program may be used in conjunction with the Oregon Enterprise Zone program,
which offers 3-15 year property tax exemptions for qualifying companies on buildings, equipment and certain types of personal property. Local jurisdictions including Jefferson County, City of Madras, City of Metolius, City of Culver and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs volunteer to temporarily give up some property tax revenue via the Enterprise Zone programs in order to attract new jobs and capital investment.

The source of funding used for the industrial construction incentive program is a portion of the net proceeds of a 1980s Oregon Community Development Grant that the County used to establish a business economic development loan program. The County originally received $400,000. Today, the program has grown with principal and interest repayments to a current value over $800,000.

Grant details are available at www.jeffco.net/RFPs and the deadline for sealed applications is Monday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. Commissioners will meet two days later to begin the selection process.

Contact: Kelly Simmelink, County Commissioner – 503.730.6573
Jeff Rasmussen, County Administrative Officer – 541.460.0889

About Jefferson County:
Established in 1914, Jefferson County comprises the northern portion of the Central Oregon region and includes Oregon’s largest Native American reservation. It is home to some of the largest manufacturers in the region, has among the state’s most diverse population and its farms produce the majority of the annual U.S. and global carrot seed supply.

KTVZ 2019

Government / Jefferson County / News / Top Stories

KTVZ News Team

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