Unity brings strength to a community, according to Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe. “The entire community works together to face issues. Our businesses work closely with the City and county governments, we strive to be proactive, rather than reactive.”
A prime example of pro-activity is the courting of Facebook and Apple into their community. Facebook is providing at least 60 permanent jobs, after the initial building projects that have provided over 2,700 construction jobs.
City Manager Steve Forester says there are always challenges that arise when a community’s business climate changes, but Prineville is ready to meet those challenges head on. “Prineville is resilient,” said Forester. “There is a cultural shift taking place. The traditional pillars of the community are handing the reins to the next generation.”
To live and work in Prineville will soon become easier for those in the healthcare industry and needing medical services. St. Charles recently broke ground on a new nearly 60,000-square-foot hospital and clinic at the former site of Ochoco Lumber sawmill to be completed in 2015.
The east side of the City will also have a new elementary school open for classes in September 2015. Voters approved a $33 million bond measure in 2013 that will fund the construction of a new school costing $18 million, allocating the remaining $15 million to other district-wide building renovations.
These two commercial projects, in addition to the two data centers (Facebook and Apple) on the “rim” above the City are stimulating interest in commercial projects within Crook County.
Josh Smith, senior planner with the City of Prineville, is optimistic that these projects will “prime the pump” of additional development. “Although the amount (of commercially zoned land) has not changed much the improvements the (new) hospital is doing on the Ochoco Mill site will vastly increase the likelihood of new development on that property.”
Russ Deboodt, Prineville/Crook County EDCO manager, says, “We have a strong and diverse list of prospect companies we are working with in Prineville, which shows the economic climate is improving.”