Google has invested $1.8 billion in its three buildings in The Dalles and, since 2008, has given more than $2 million to Wasco County schools and local non-profits over $450,000 for the wi-fi network in The Dalles.
That information came from a report Google recently released on its economic impact and community benefits in the six towns where it has facilities.
An accompanying statement said more than 90 percent of Google employees at The Dalles facilities live in the gorge and the company wants to be a part of the where its employees live, work and play.
The company’s local grants are focused on areas that Google is most passionate about, including education and technology infrastructure, and it prioritizes projects that have a measurable impact on the local community.
Google directly employs 200 people in The Dalles, and 1,900 at its six data centers. With indirect jobs included, it brings an estimated 696 jobs to The Dalles area.
Nationwide, the data centers supported 11,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in economic activity.
The data center in The Dalles is responsible for $67 million in GDP, according to the report.
The report described the economic benefits of employee wages, the supply chain for the data centers, and local spending by employees.
Nearly 30 local grants from Google in the last three years have found their way into the community, with major recipients including local schools, for technology upgrades, and The Dalles-Wasco County Library, for Wifi hotspots for its lending program and other technology. Grants have also funded robotics programs, economic programs, and 4-H endeavors.
Grants are particularly focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, especially outreach for underrepresented groups, including girls, in science and math professions.
Google is proud to be one of the county’s largest fee payers and one of the county’s larger employers, a statement said.
The grants awarded by Google are separate from payments in lieu of taxes made by the company to two local governments in exchange for a property tax exemption it receives through a mechanism called an enterprise zone.
Such zones are available to economically stressed areas and provide tax breaks in order to draw jobs. The sponsors of this particular zone, the city of The Dalles and Wasco County, receive the payments in lieu of taxes, and then distribute some of the payments on to other local government entities, like local schools and the fire district.
With each of Google’s three projects in The Dalles, the city and county have negotiated increasingly larger payments in lieu of taxes.
The first agreement called for an initial payment of $250,000 and annual payments of the same amount for the length of the 15-year agreement, which ends in 2022.
The second 15-year agreement, finalized in 2013, will see 15 annual payments of $800,000. The initial fee was $1.2 million.
The latest agreement carries a $1.45 million initial payment followed by annual payments for 15 years of at least $1.1 million per year, beginning this year.
Wasco County has estimated that tax breaks to Google since 2006 are worth just short of $140 million, according to the Oregonian/Oregonlive.
The sponsors of the enterprise zone are required to report that information yearly to the state.
In the 2016-17 tax year, according to Wasco County’s report found on the Oregon.gov webpage, Google had almost $598 million in real market value, and of that amount, $593 million was exempt from taxation.
It was taxed on $4.4 million of value, paying $70,000. No dollar figure was listed for how much tax was abated.
The year before, it had $676 million in real market value, of which $671 million was exempt. It paid $88,437 on about $5.5 million in value.
That year, the report shows $10.7 million of abated taxes.
No other years are listed on the state website containing those reports.