Outside Ideas: Green Jobs for Salem, Oregon


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The fervor around green jobs as a potentially economy-saving investment continues to build around the United States. And according to this article in The Oregonian, a new plant in Salem, Oregon is about to add proof to the theory.

Sanyo North America Corp. is launching construction of an $80 million factory that will initially employ 200 people making ingots and wafers for solar cells. Sanyo's ceremony precedes the opening Friday of SolarWorld's $440 million plant in Hillsboro, which employs 250 so far.

Reporter Richard Read notes that the plant will be a keystone business in an 80-acre industrial park created specifically to attract other green companies. In the words of Rick Scott, Salem urban development director, "We look at Sanyo as our Nordstrom, as our anchor tenant."

And the background bodes well for green jobs and clean tech:

Linda Norris, Salem city manager, said competition to lure Sanyo was intense as the company considered other sites within Oregon and beyond. Negotiations intensified in February and extended into September.
Sanyo is likely eligible for state tax credits exceeding $200,000 per job, in addition to local-government carrots. Salem officials say that's worth it.
"If you're going to compete globally, you have to compete with other countries -- and in this case, other states -- that also are offering a variety of incentives," Scott said. "We believe that in the long-term, they will produce a lot more benefit than $200,000 per employee."

We congratulate Salem, and look forward to seeing where this optimistic and forward-thinking investment will lead.