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Intel's economic report sparks debate


Company contributes more than $27 billion to economy

A top Intel official has agreed to discuss conducting a cost/benefit analysis of the company’s Hillsboro operations with one of its most vocal critics.

Jill Eiland, Intel’s corproate affairs director the Northwest, agreed to meet with Forest Grove resident Dale Feik to discuss the idea during last week’s meeting of the Westside Economic Alliance. Eiland was there to present a report on Intel’s economic impact in Oregon. Feik, chairman of the Clean Air Committee of the Washington County Citizen Action Network, was in the audience.by: COURTESTY PHOTO: CHELSEA HOSSAINI, INTEL - From left to right at the Westside Economic Alliance breakfast is Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey, ECONorthwest President John Tapogna, Intel Coporate Affairs Director Jill Eiland and Washington County Chairman Andy Duyck.

During the question and answer period after the presentation, Feik asked if Intel would do a cost/benefit analysis to determine the impact of the projected level of greenhouse gas emissions from its new manufacturing plants. Eiland replied that she did not understand how such an analysis would be framed, but agreed to meet with Feik to discuss it.

No timetable for the meeting has been disclosed.

According to Intel’s filings with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the company expects to release more than 800,000 total tons of carbon dioxide a year after it’s D1X Mod 2 facility is completed. While that may sound like a lot, over 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide were released worldwide last year, according to the United Nations. It is unclear how the effect of Intel’s emissions could be accurately measured.

Intel’s economic impact on Hillsboro, the region and the state is easier to determine. It was detailed in a report prepared by ECONorthwest, a Portland-based economic consulting firm.

Among other things, it found Intel has more than 17,000 employees in the region who earn an average of $168,000 a year, more than three times the statewide average. That total accounts for 16.7 percent of jobs and 25.2 percent of personal income in Washington County, the report noted.

The annual payroll is more than $2.8 billion, while the annual economic output is nearly $27 billion — nearly 9 percent of the economic output of the entire state.

Many in the audience praised Intel’s contribution to the economy. They included state Rep. Joe Gallegos, Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden and WEA Director Pamela Treece.

Intel is currently negotiating with the DEQ for a new emission permit for the manufacturing facility under construction, D1X Mod 2. The process has been complicated by Intel’s recent admission that it inadvertently failed to disclose its fluoride emission report, claiming it was overlooked.