SoloPower hopeful over Wilsonville deal
By Erik Siemers, Business Journal staff writer
Business Journal staff writer
SoloPower disclosed Monday a new $9.6 million investment.
The Wilsonville City Council on Monday is expected to cast votes on a tax abatement proposal that could determine whether well-funded solar startup SoloPower Inc. opens a plant there.
Despite rhetoric implying the plant was Wilsonville’s to lose, Tim Harris, CEO of the San Jose-based maker of thin-film solar panels, on Friday chose only to express his confidence that the deal will go through.
“I’m still really optimistic that we’ll have a successful close with Wilsonville,” Harris said. “It’s such a tremendously good deal. If we’re communicating right, it’s got to be approved.”
The proposal would create an urban renewal district that includes only the 26-acre site where SoloPower hopes to turn a former Nike Inc. distribution center into a manufacturing plant that could one day employ up to 500 people.
The deal would provide an estimated $11 million worth of redevelopment assistance to SoloPower, including a $4 million incentive package, of which 50 percent would be reimbursed to the city by Clackamas County should anticipated tax revenue not exceed the advance.
The city council delayed taking action last week during a meeting in which the proposal met stiff opposition from some Wilsonville residents. That includes former Mayor John Ludlow, who believes creating an urban renewal district for a single building sets a bad precedent.
In an interview last week, Ludlow said the council's vote would for the first time create an urban renewal district without first letting the public cast nonbinding votes on the matter. He said voters have twice successfully approved ballot measures in support of such urban renewal districts.
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