The City of Vernonia has been added to the South Columbia County Enterprise Zone.
Working with the Columbia County Economic Team (CCET) in the spring of 2014, the City of Vernonia successfully applied for the expansion of the zone to include Vernonia. Traditionally a community of commuters and blue collar workers, Vernonia is seeing a an increase in the manufacturing sector and is working to meet those demands through zoning and other changes.
The State of Oregon and local agencies within Columbia County, including CCET, offer a range of public incentives and financing options that strengthen the competitiveness of local firms by reducing the costs of doing business and providing access to capital. Most of these programs are geared towards manufacturing, logistics, processing, and other “trade sector businesses”.
The South Columbia Enterprise Zone currently offers three to five years of property tax exceptions for new investments in plants and equipment for eligible business firms.
Local business owner Brad Curtis has already seen an immediate benefit from the Enterprise Zone expansion. Curtis is the owner of Photo Solutions, a small manufacturing firm servicing the global high tech industries . Curtis recently expanded his business, purchasing $200,000 of new equipment. “I see a lot of possibilities for firms to do business out here, especially for businesses where location doesn’t matter.” says Curtis. “The enterprise zone expansion helps level the playing field.”
Curtis’s manufacturing plant was damaged in the 2007 flood and the incentives available may allow him to move his business to higher ground at the California Avenue industrial site currently under development in Vernonia. The high school recently was awarded a grant to help them expand their career and technical education curriculum, and is working on partnerships with Oregon businesses to equip students for careers in these technical fields. The Governor’s office has been making it a priority to create a workforce that is able to meet the needs of our growing economy, with particular emphasis on the creation and retention of living wage jobs.
For more information visit the South Columbia County Enterprise Zone.