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Solar firm pursuing Malheur County’s biggest tax break

A potential tax break for solar farms in Malheur County is seen as one method to attract big-time employers such as Amazon and Google. Both firms demand clean power, such as solar, as a requirement to build as new facility. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – They draw energy from the wide open, southern Oregon sky but the solar farms that dot Malheur County are part of a long-term economic development gamble that may or may not pay off.

Greg Smith, the county’s economic development director, said he believes the gamble is a good one, especially since some big-time firms demand renewable energy as an essential condition to build locally. It’s all part of creating a “business friendly” environment, said Smith.

As large firms take advantage of state-sponsored incentives to skip paying local taxes . . .