Located in central Douglas County, immediately adjacent to Interstate 5, the zone encompasses the cities of Oakland Sutherlin Industrial Park, as well as industrial lands in the Wilbur Winchester Industrial Park areas just north of Roseburg, the County seat. There are numerous well-serviced industrial parks in the area. With reasonably priced industrial properties, a high quality of life, and skilled workforce, the zone offers unique opportunities for existing businesses to expand, and new or emerging businesses to site in the area. The zone is only one hour from the Eugene Airport and three hours from Portland. Tourism opportunities abound in the region, as does economic development support for expanding, new and emerging businesses.
Purpose and Benefits
The Enterprise Zone program is designed to encourage businesses of all sizes to make new or additional investments that will improve employment opportunities, spur economic growth and diversify business activity within the communities each zone encompasses.
The primary benefit to qualifying businesses is a 100 percent abatement from local property taxes for at least three, and in some cases up to five, years on plant and equipment newly invested in the zone. Property tax exemptions of seven to 15 years may be available to businesses, making a sizeable investment and bringing well-paying jobs.
Enterprise zones target “for-profit” business operations that do not compete significantly within the local economy and that bring in outside income. There are four basic requirements a prospective enterprise zone candidate must satisfy for the three to five year exemption.
1. Eligible business activities are limited to the provision of goods, products or services to other businesses that do not involve the following or similar activities: entertainment, tourism, health care, child care, serving meals, finance, housing, property management, leasing space, construction and sales of goods and services at the retail level. Most eligible businesses are manufacturers, but this is not the only possibility. Eligible activities may qualify even if a firm is engaged in separate, ineligible activities. A non-retail operation of a retail firm, such as a warehouse for a retail chain or the manufacturing facility of a business firm that sells its products directly to non-business customers, is also eligible.
2. The firm must make an investment in the qualified property, either through a pur-chase or lease.
3. A qualifying business firm in the zone must increase employment by at least 10 percent or one new job whichever is greater; only full-time, year-round employees are counted. The firm must also not diminish employment more than 30 miles outside the zone in Oregon concurrent with the exemption.
4. The firm must enter a “First Source Agreement.” The agreement requires the firm to consider qualified applicants referred by job-training providers before hiring new employees.
To receive a fourth- or fourth-and-fifth-year exemption, new employees must receive compensation including benefits that on average is at least 150 percent of the county average annual wage at the time of pre-certification. Also at that time, the firm must enter into a written agreement with the local governments that sponsor the enterprise zones, which may include additional requirements for the extra years of abatement.
Construction in Process
Before the enterprise zone exemption, property tax abatement is available for commercial and industrial construction still under way on Dec. 31.
Hotels, Motels and Resort Facilities
In the Sutherlin/Oakland Enterprise Zone benefits also apply to hotel, motel and destination resort facilities and retail establishments associated with such facilities.
The Sutherlin/Oakland Enterprise Zone is managed by CCD Business Development Corporation on behalf of the zone sponsors: the City of Sutherlin, the City of Oakland, and Douglas County. An enterprise zone pre-certification form must be filed prior to starting any eligible investment or hiring new employees, although a building may already be under construction if sold or leased to the pre-certified business prior to use or occupancy of the premises.
Once the investment is completed and the new employees have been hired, pre-certified businesses must file a tax exemption application with the Douglas County Assessor between Jan. 1 and April 1, the first year in which the exemption is sought.
Enterprise Zone Sponsors:
City of Oakland
City of Sutherlin
Board of Commissioners