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Gervais approves enterprise zone expansion

Gervais is hoping to join and take advantage of the benefits that come with being part of Woodburn’s enterprise zone, but Woodburn city councilors are worried the benefits will be one-sided.

Thursday night, Gervais City Council approved a resolution electing to cosponsor a boundary change of Woodburn’s enterprise zone to include Gervais.

Jim Hendryx, economic services director for the city of Woodburn, presented to city council Nov. 25 that Gervais wished to become part of Woodburn’s enterprise zone, which was established in 2010.

Woodburn city councilors cited potential for competition and were concerned that the move would increase city staff’s workload for a community other than Woodburn.

“It would be a minimal workload,” Hendryx explained to the council.

“It costs my time to administer it, but again, it’s minimal because there are only one or two businesses looking to expand.”

Gervais City Manager Sam Sasaki cited a couple businesses in town that could potentially take advantage of the program.

“The city is interested in economic development in order to be competitive with other cities in the region,” he said.

Woodburn’s zone waives taxes associated with capital improvements for three to five years based on a 10 percent increase in employment and minimum investment of $50,000. Businesses that pay wages and benefits exceeding 150 percent of the county’s average can extend their zone designation from three years to five years, according to Hendryx.

Both jurisdictions must agree to the expansion, with Jan. 13 being the scheduled date for approval by Woodburn City Council.

Since 2010, only one Woodburn company, Wilson Industries, has taken advantage of the enterprise zone, Hendryx said.

“I think it would be a benefit for our residents,” Hendryx said, citing that 80 percent of area residents commute outside the Woodburn area for work.

“I would hate to lose that business to another area.”




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