(February 17 th, 2021) – The Klamath County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) and the City of Klamath Falls jointly announced today that both governing entities have reached a Long-Term Rural Enterprise Zone agreement with Wilsonart as it relates to the company’s new manufacturing facility currently under construction on the WESGO industrial site.
Klamath County is one of 39 areas within the State which qualify for the Long-Term Rural Enterprise Zone incentives. Counties that meet a defined level for longstanding annual unemployment rate or per capita income, or outside the federal metropolitan area qualify for the Long-Term Rural Enterprise. Upon KCEDA’s recruitment of Wilsonart to Klamath County, City and County leadership have been engaging in negotiations with Wilsonart to finalize the long-term enterprise zone agreement.
Commissioner Derrick DeGroot discussed the BOCC’s views on the matter and how the County feels about the agreement reached, saying, “It has been our mission as commissioners for the past few years to place major emphasis on economic development. We understand how important enhancing tradedsector industry, creating jobs, and building our tax revenue base is for positioning the community’s future. We, and other groups involved like KCEDA and Business Oregon, have led with this mentality every step of the way during Wilsonart’s recruitment process. When entering the Long-Term Enterprise Zone negotiations, our goal was to use this development as a signal to prospecting investors and companies that we are a ‘business friendly’ region who is willing to work through things to arrive at fair, efficient solutions. I wholeheartedly believe this agreement is proof that we achieved that goal.”
Klamath Falls City Manager, Nathan Cherpeski, added to Commissioner DeGroot’s comments on the agreement and the development’s community impact, saying, “It often gets missed in these discussions that the jobs and tax revenues generated from these developments don’t exist without the development itself. Through this project, there will be 50 family wage jobs directly created, nearly 40 more spin-off jobs created, and significant annual tax revenues once the Long-Term Enterprise Zone agreement has concluded. When you put that in perspective, Wilsonart’s arrival in Klamath Falls is a huge win for the area and paves the way for more great things to come in local development. The City is very pleased to have them here, and the work done by KCEDA and all the members of Team Klamath to help recruit them to our area.”
Speaking on behalf of Wilsonart regarding the news, Global Vice President of Product Management & Pricing, Ron Ubertini, stated, “I’m glad we could come to an agreement which mutually suits all stakeholders. Our Wilsonart leadership continues to see a promising future for Klamath County, with this operation, and potentially others in the long-term.” Ubertini then elaborated on the company’s philosophy on community engagement, adding, “In the communities where our facilities are located, Wilsonart has a proven record of philanthropic investment and collaboration with non-profits and service-based groups, including the United Way, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Keep America Beautiful, and several others. We are excited to build on that legacy here in Klamath Falls and to get this step of our development completed as we get ever closer to being fully operational”.
According to officials at Klamath County, Wilsonart’s construction continues to remain on track, with expectations for the facility to be fully operational by July 1 of this year.