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Enterprise zone goes to Medford

Area near airport gets tax incentives

Medford was awarded one of 11 enterprise zones authorized this year bythe Oregon Economic Development Department.

The zones, authorized by the Oregon Legislature 12 years ago, offer businessesat least three years of property tax exemptions for new development.

Medford was the state's only metropolitan area without an enterprisezone. Others exist in Portland, Salem and Springfield. Medford was the onlyapplicant for the single urban-area zone available this year.

West Eugene didn't reapply for its enterprise zone, saidArt Fish, enterprise zone coordinator for the OEDD. (Medford's) wasa fine application and it should be a very successful enterprise zone.

The designation is effective immediately.

Up to 37 zones can exist under state law.

The zone includes three sites near the Medford airport that had beenproposed for enterprise zones. One is on Biddle Road, one is behind Wal-Martand the third is north of Costco Wholesale and west of Crater Lake Highway.

The zone is limited to 12 square miles and no more than 12 road milesend to end.

When the Medford City Council voted in March to pursue an application,two companies were considering the city as a potential plant site, saidGordon Safley, executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic DevelopmentInc.

A large distribution center that could provide up to 400 jobs subsequentlypicked another city outside of Oregon. The other, a Midwest-based telephonecall center, remains in the running.

Grants Pass was granted an enterprise zone in June, a month ahead ofthe other successful applicants. That application included 1.2 square milesof land in about 500 tax lots across the city.

That city's application noted the zone would enable Shrock Cabinet Co.to retain its 120 workers and add another 100 to 150 after building a $2million plant. Bentwood Furniture Inc. announced plans to invest $1 millionand add 25 new jobs.

The state chooses zones by using a rating system that considers suchthings as:

Need ­ the misery index.

The size, configuration and marketability of the proposed zone. Whetherthe land is ready for industrial development.

How the zone fits into an area's economic development plan.

How much good the zone will do.