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local | Economy

Facebook Helps An Underemployed Crook County Economy

It’s been about a year since Facebook announced it would build a new data center in Prineville.   As David Nogueras reports, the project has helped to keep the local economy online.

Once completed, the building will be about 300,000 square feet.  To visualize how large that is, if the building were a parking lot you could park 840 cars there.

City Manager Steve Forrester says scope of the project has had a direct impact on the businesses around town. He says the construction project has put about 250 people to work.

Steve Forrester: “We’re still hovering around 19 percent unemployment here in Prineville, Crook County and those folks come down here they fill up their vehicles with fuel and they eat at our local restaurants or they golf at the city golf course. It’s just had a real positive impact.”

Facebook didn’t respond to requests for comment on its progress and plans. But Forrester, who says he’s been in touch with Facebook managers, says the social media giant booted up some of those servers for the first time last week.

And he says Facebook has completed two out of four sections of the data center, one of which is up and running.

Facebook purchased 120 acres of land.  Forrester says while no decisions have been made yet, Facebook is considering additional expansions in the future.

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