Port of Morrow Commission OKs Billion-Dollar Deal for Amazon

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The Port of Morrow Commission voted Wednesday, May 10, to approve tax breaks for Amazon worth more than $1 billion over 15 years to build five more data centers.

Port Commissioner Rick Stokoe said the vote was unanimous with two commissioners — Jerry Healy and Marv Padberg — recusing themselves from the vote.

Healy, Padberg along with Morrow County Commissioner Don Russell and former Port of Morrow General Manager Gary Neal, are owners of WindWave, a provider of fiber-optic services to Amazon data centers in Morrow County.

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission in December 2022 voted to conduct full investigations of the four because they may have used their positions to benefit themselves as owners of WindWave.

Amazon intends to build five new data centers in the county, adding to its existing four centers, as part of a $12 billion project. The project could create hundreds of jobs in the area.

Stokoe said he didn’t know how many jobs Amazon has created nor how many more people the new data centers will employ.

“But I do know they are very appreciative of the high-paying jobs Amazon provides,” said Stokoe following the port commission’s vote.

Amazon Web Services announced the opening of the U.S. West Cloud Region in 2011. The region consists of clusters of data centers in Morrow and Umatilla counties. In 2020, their property taxes and fees amounted to $35 million: $22 million in Morrow County and $13 million in Umatilla County.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Morrow County Comissioners do anything Amazon ask in the meanwhile all the people with contaminated wells suffer because the Port Commissioners would rather line their pockets instead of dealing with the contaminated wells

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