New hope for Hynix plant? Developer: E-commerce zone key

EUGENE, Ore. - When South Korean semiconductor manufacturer Hynix announced plans to cease operations in West Eugene in 2008, more than 1,100 jobs and a $62 million payroll disappeared from the community.

The plant has stood vacant ever since.

Now a proposal passed by the Oregon House and under review by the Oregon Senate could create a new opportunity for the empty plant.

House Bill 4005 would expand Oregon's so-called "e-commerce zones" from 10 to 15.

The designation carries tax credits for capital investments and a local property tax abatement.

Mike McKernan of Seattle said his development team has plans to redevelop the Hynix plant into a technology office building.

He said if the bill passes, he expects to close a deal on the Hynix plant within 90 days.

Senators still have to approve it, but David Hauser of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce said this could help land a developer for the long-shuttered plant.

"At this point in time, the opportunity to add 300 to 400 jobs over time would be enormously helpful to our local economy," said Hauser.

House Bill 4005 would provide income tax credits for developers equal to about a quarter of their capital investment, limited to no more than $2 million per year for 5 years.

"So whoever uses the facility for anything other than semi-conductor manufacturing is going to have to make a pretty significant capital investment in order to make it work," said Hauser.

The 400 jobs that could come in would't replace all 1,100 jobs lost when Hynix closed 6 years ago, but Springfield Representative John Lively said it is a step in the right direction.

"I don't think that's unreasonable to think that as the site develops and fills up--there would be that many jobs, and maybe more," said Lively.