McNary, site of one of Amazon's data center projects

Cheap hydroelectric power continues to entice big technology companies to the Columbia River towns of the Pacific Northwest. — operating through its Vadata data center unit — is reportedly working on three facilities in Oregon near the towns of Boardman and McNary. The Boardman facility has been in development for three years, but Data Center Knowledge reports that the project slowed after the economy tanked. Now, that project is ramping back up.

The company also is pushing forward with the McNary site, which is located near the Umatilla Chemical Depot operated by the U.S. Army. That site will include six modular units which are about 20 feet wide and 108 feet long, the Umatilla County planning director tells East Oregonian.

Here’s more from Data Center Knowledge, explaining why Oregon and eastern Washington are attractive to tech companies.

The modular project in the Port of Umatilla is located alongside Lake Wallula, a reservoir formed by a dam on the Columbia River, which is lined with major data center projects upstream (Microsoft and Yahoo in Quincy, Washington) and downstream (The Google data center in The Dalles, Oregon), all attracted by the combination of cheap, green hydro-electric power. Oregon also provides a cool climate, allowing data centers to cool their servers using fresh air instead of power-hungry chillers and air conditioners.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

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  • Chuck Taylor

    Obviously someone hasn’t spent a summer in the Mid-Columbia region. Cool it is not.

  • davenaff

    Oregon must look like an improvingly attractive place for Amazon to base facilities given the state-by-state assault attempting to establish nexus for Amazon in order to justify sales tax collection.

    Actually, I doubt that figured into their consideration, but I can’t imagine them putting a data center in Texas or Colorado where they’ve pulled everything that could be used to attempt to establish nexus.

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