Google held an opening ceremony for its $600 million Taylor Lake data center in The Dalles, Oregon.

The new site is just the first phase of a larger project. Design plans from 2016 describe the building as a two-story, 164,000 square foot (15,200 sq m) facility.

The West Coast state is also home to Google’s first ever data center, opened in 2006.

Google groundbreaking
– Google

Happy days

“We are excited to be opening this new space and to further expand our presence in The Dalles,” Richard Stillwell, Google’s operations manager for the data center, said.

“As a part of this community, my colleagues and I are proud to call the Gorge and Oregon our home, and to work and live here for more than a decade.”

Governor Kate Brown added: “Oregon is a place where innovation thrives, and it’s wonderful that the world’s best tech companies continue to invest in our state. Google’s investments in our rural communities bring exciting new opportunities and good jobs for Oregonians.

“I’m focused on finding more ways to support economic growth throughout the state, and this new data center represents the types of investments and jobs that my Future Ready Oregon initiative seeks to expand.”

The project involved more than 1,000 construction workers, and is expected to create up to 50 jobs. The next phase is expected to employ 750 temporary construction workers.

“The positive impact on our economy has been terrific,” Lisa Farquaharson, president and CEO of business group The Dalles Chamber of Commerce, said.

“Local businesses have really felt the economic benefit of the thousand construction jobs over the last year. Even more than the jobs, the impact that Google has had on education here in The Dalles has been incredible. The impact on our students has been amazing to see - and none of this would happen without Google.”

Google has been on a charm offensive in Oregon, offering technology grants to the local schools and library.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, it announced a grant of nearly $100,000 to North Wasco County District 21 for technology upgrades. It also revealed that it had been funding a program by The Dalles Wasco County Library system to increase the number of Wi-Fi hotspots available for loan.

Google previously partnered with The Dalles Chamber of Commerce, a private organization, to train people to use Google services, such as Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, and Google Docs.

The new data center, and those that came before, were given generous tax breaks to entice the technology giant. In 2013, The Dalles city council and Wasco County commissioners approved a package of “enterprise zone” tax breaks exempting Google’s data centers from local property taxes for fifteen years.

Google is preparing for further expansion in the state. In 2016, the companyacquired a 74-acre plot of land belonging to Northwest Aluminum, used by the local Fort Dalles Rodeo Association since 1975.

“We don’t have plans to build on this piece of property in the immediate future, but we want to ensure that we have options to continue to invest in The Dalles in the future if our business demands it,” Darcy Nothnagle, Google’s Northwest head of external affairs, said at the time.