Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google The Internet Businesses

Google Building Tech Center Near Portland 328

Posted by timothy
from the portland-sucks-tell-your-friends dept.
jdray writes "It seems that everyone's favorite search powerhouse, Google, is building a tech center in The Dalles, Oregon. About 45 minutes by interstate highway from Portland, The Dalles is a small, economically depressed city near the world-famous Columbia River Gorge. The $60,000 average annual salary of Google employees is about double the average for Wasco county. With all the outdoor sports (windsurfing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing) in the area, sports-minded geeks should be flocking to apply for a job at the new facility."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Building Tech Center Near Portland

Comments Filter:
  • by HarryCaul (25943) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:26PM (#11724077)

    Formerly known as slashdot.

    Seriously guys, it's getting to be a bit much.

    Google is a company with a nice product. That's about it.
    • Hey, ssh, quiet down, they're "searching".
      • Dear dummy,

        Next time you plan to speak derogitorally about us, we'd suggest you post anonymously.

        Sincerely,

        Google

        P.S. You know that GMAIL invitation you just got? You can forget it now (unless you like spam). Whooo hoo haa ha ha ha ha.

    • The problem is, all true geeks nurse a desire to work at Google. Which is why (a) Slashdot keeps doing drool drool articles about them; and (b) they don't really need anybody's help recruiting people. Indeed, unless you have a really good resume, you probably shouldn't even bother.
    • Finally someone said it and managed to do so without getting modded as flamebait or trolling.
    • Well, people just don't want to work at Microsoft like they used to. Or IBM. And I don't believe Apple is hiring anywhere near the degree that Google is. Still, though, it does seem like Slashdot is acting almost like Monster.com or something.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Google never had a product, it has a service. And it's a branding monster that wants to expand its "services" / tentacles all over the place.

      They're out to lasso that massive herd of know-nothing people who use computers at home and work to be dependent on them and they will drag the rest of us in their wake.

      Eventually, they'll become like Microsoft and AOL in terms of crushing the innovative start-ups that they can't / won't buy out.

      Well, at least AOL is dying a slow, inexorible death as is Microsoft 1
  • the south (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by bogaboga (793279)
    All tech houses seem to be in the North...nothing in the south? Why? Will this be called the GooglePlex?
    • According to some folks, the only thing down here in Florida are spammers, which is not accurate.

      While there are a small group of lowlife spammers in Florida, there are also many good Internet related companies, including us. And, we have front row seats for the Shuttle launches :)
    • I would assume you don't consider Texas part of the south than. There are probably as many tech companies there as the Silicon Valley.

      Also RedHat and Epic Megagames are in N.C. Tiberon (makers of Madden Football for EA) is in Florida. There's definitely some.
      • by 1lus10n (586635) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @04:27PM (#11724457) Journal
        Texas is considered to be in the midwest. I know this because I live in South Carolina, which is part of the south, ask a southerner about texas. They react nearly has appaled as they do about california.

        There are no major tech companies in the south because of two things:

        1. There are no major tech schools, as such there is no major talent pool to draw from.

        2. There is no need. Since there are no major tech schools or major tech companies the need for tech people and tech companies is minimal. Hence the market demand isnt there and there is not company that will move into an area where it is likely to fail.

        Its getting better in some places. North Carolina has a fairly large amount of tech people and tech companies and atlanta is coming along nicely as well (do believe they have a google center IIRC) but generally places like Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Savannah, Nashville, Mobile etc etc just dont have the market to support it. Not size really ... consumer demand combined with available resources like major bandwidth and tech people to fill needs.
        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @05:05PM (#11724674)
          What the hell are you talking about? There's several tech schools in the South: Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia Tech. VT and GT and two of the highest-ranked. Plus there's lots of other very large universities in the South: Univ. of Virginia, FSU, Auburn, Univ. of Tennessee, etc.

          As for what Southerners think of various states, lots of Southerners don't even think Virginia is in the South, even though it was the capital of the Confederacy. Idiots.

          So yes, there is a very large talent pool to draw from in the South. However, most people leave the South as soon as they finish their degrees, heading for greener pastures in the northeast, California, Texas, etc. Of course, this is mostly because that's where all the good jobs are. This gets back to your point #2; companies don't want to move someplace where they're likely to fail.

          Now, the real reasons why both employees and companies don't want to stay in the South are very debatable. Maybe it's a chicken-and-egg scenario. Are companies staying away because the employees don't want to live there? Or are employees just moving to where the companies happen to be currently located?

          Personally, I graduated from Virginia Tech, which is located in the mountains of southwest Virginia. I stayed there for 2.5 years after I graduated, working in a couple of local jobs, before I took a job with a megacorp in Arizona. I thought I'd like living someplace where the cost of living was lower (as my salary was also quite low, which they tried to justify with the low CoL), there was no traffic, etc. I rapidly grew to absolutely hate the area. For one thing, it wasn't the same living in a neighboring small town as it was living in Blacksburg and going to school there (I couldn't stay in Blacksburg proper because my salary was low, justified by the low CoL, but the housing prices in the town were very high). There were many reasons. Traffic was a big one: even though there weren't many cars, all the roads were 1-lane windy mountain roads, so you couldn't go anywhere without getting stuck behind some slow-ass, making your trip take literally twice the time. And if you tried to get around at any speed, you had to constantly watch for overzealous cops eager to give out speeding tickets for exceeding the extremely low speed limits. Big-city driving isn't like that: everyone drives fast, there's many lanes, and cops are busy stopping real crimes instead of harassing motorists. Another reason was just the type of people living in that area: everyone is dirt poor, has no education, etc. There's an overriding backwoods mindset to everyone you come in contact with. Lastly, there's nothing to do there: there was one dinky mall with crappy overpriced shops, one huge wal-mart, a few other standard big-box stores, and that was about it. No specialty stores, no diversity, etc. Don't forget a lack of access to services like cable internet.

          If the people in the South want to know the real reason why tech companies and tech employees don't want to live there, personally I think they should look at themselves and their neighbors; most of us just don't want to live in that environment.
          • I would agree that Virginia is not a southern style state, I have friends that live there ... they act more like north easterners than southerners. Who was fighting on what side of the war doesnt mean squat, its a culture thing. Although generally the division is how certain culture differences came about ... its not the only reason.

            That being said GT is not a great tech school, although as I pointed out atlanta has a solid tech community. Clemson is certainly not a tech oriented school, I live within r
        • Just pickin' nits.

          Texas is considered to be in the midwest. I know this because I live in South Carolina, which is part of the south, ask a southerner about texas.

          I grew up in Illinois and lived for 14 years in Nashville. IMO, Texas is not part of the Midwest or the South. It is a world unto itself...

          1. There are no major tech schools, as such there is no major talent pool to draw from.

          Well there is Georgia Tech...

          [...] generally places like Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Savannah, Nashville, Mobile e
    • It will mostly house clerical staff and will be referred to as the Oogleplex
  • Hmm? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:27PM (#11724092) Homepage
    sports-minded geeks

    Who what now?
    • Yes, sports minded geeks! Check out my new toy on my site. Indoor bike trainer that interfaces with the PC. Making pain more fun!
    • Re:Hmm? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @04:25PM (#11724440)
      Yes, geeks participate in sports. Don't be so stereotypical.

      Google is planning going to provide equipment for all the popular sports on the campus: nerf basketball, ping-pong tables, video game consoles, model rockets, and super soakers.

    • Yeah, I've met a couple. They exist. They're a bit weird though... Actually, on second thought, It is more like they're a bit normal. Still, they'd most certainly be classified as geeks by the general population.

      *shrug* It takes all sorts.
    • I have been reading slashdot daily for six or so years and I'm a on the varsity ltwt rowing team at my university. We aren't a slow school either, we will almost certainly medal at Eastern Sprints and the IRA championships. And I'm not one of the slower ones on the team either.
  • eh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ImTheDarkcyde (759406) <ImTheDarkcyde@hotmail.com> on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:28PM (#11724101) Journal
    Did i spy geeks and sports in the same sentence?

    Not that we windows users don't enjoy living dangerously.
    • Re:eh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:30PM (#11724121)
      Did i spy geeks and sports in the same sentence?

      Not that we windows users don't enjoy living dangerously.


      Using Windows isn't sport, it's masochism.
      • "Using Windows isn't sport, it's masochism."

        Unlike installing Linux on a toaster? Pssh. Cast no stones, my friend.
      • Using Windows isn't sport, it's masochism.
        Or along the lines of alt.religion.emacs -- Using Windows isn't a sin, it's a penance.
      • by BlastM (663010)
        Using Windows [is] masochism.
        And I'm sure many geeks (myself included) think the same about sport.

        Needless physical exertion? Grown men grappling each other? Pain, sweat and tears? A geek needs not these things.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:29PM (#11724115) Homepage Journal
    These sorts of locations are ideal for geek workers. If you're running a design or marketing agency, being out of town is going to really hurt your company, but for the sort of people Google hires, this is ideal. Your money goes a lot further out of town, so you can spend more on gadgets, and since they're indoor types anyway, it's ideal. Perhaps more tech companies should be getting out of the smoke and letting their workers live in more idyllic locations. I certainly appreciate being out in the sticks and getting less distractions.
    • This really depends on the age and stage of life of said recruits. I would think, generally, that a younger out-of-college crowd would appreciate being in or near a city. For the older crowd, or those starting families, living out in the sticks as you call it would definitely be less distracting.
    • Moving to some remote location to work for one specific employer, with no other viable employment in the region, sounds like a crazy plan. Once you're there, have a family and some roots, Google has the capability of turning the screws until you bleed [google.ca].

      There will come a time, possibly in the not so distant future, when Google is Just Another Employee, and they're battling for survival amongst a wide range of contenders [msn.com] to the throne. Suddenly they're not giving out raises, or asking for salary concessions,
    • by fm6 (162816)
      Money is the key issue. It costs a lot to live in Silicon Valley. In most of the country, $60K is a lot. But it's not enough to afford a decent house within an hour's drive of Google's current headquarters in Mountain View.

      What's really interesting is that they bought the land, presumably with an eye to developing it themselves. Which means yet another attempt to build a geek paradise office building. A risky enterprise -- CEOs such as Phillipe Kahn have lost there jobs over this sort of thing.

      • " CEOs such as Phillipe Kahn have lost there jobs over this sort of thing."

        Show up in Oregon with a California license plate and you may lose more than your job. Change plates at the state line and lose the accent, a few teeth and put on a plaid shirt, real quick like.
    • I agree that this is perhaps not a bad idea for tech companies.

      I also believe Oregon has some major incentives for tech companies to locate in economicly depressed areas (pretty much anywhere outside of the Portland area). For example Symantech has most of their IT staff in Springfield, OR.

      There are some advantages for the employees too beyond the outdoor recreation opportunities, namely: lower cost of living, less traffic/shorter commutes, and far lower housing prices. (if you make $60K/year you can affo
    • Your money goes a lot further out of town, so you can spend more on gadgets, and since they're indoor types anyway, it's ideal.

      Uhm, since places like The Dalles aren't bristling with Best Buys and Fry's (which would charge the same price they charge anywhere else), people tend to order stuff online, where it's the same price everywhere.
    • you can find and afford solitude. thats the benefit of the boondocks, its something which is just not possible in the city. cost of living and all that, meh, details compared to a lifestyle.

      i think we're slashdotting the google map servers with The Dalles, Oregon on them. in other news, my first official complaint about the google map server is there's no scale. LAME.

      driving directions are 82 miles, which is a little over comfortably close enough range to portland, particularly when route 84 is about
  • by mctk (840035) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:30PM (#11724122) Homepage
    Locals wonder about "internet" phenomenon.
  • Expect more of this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigtallmofo (695287) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:31PM (#11724126)
    This is going to be The Next Big Thing. Such "Rural Sourcing" has been going on somewhat quietly for a while now and is giving offshoring your workforce a serious run for its money.

    There's even a company named (imagine that) "Rural Sourcing, Inc." that is consulting companies on how they can open up call centers, technology centers, etc. in economically depressed or extremely rural areas of the U.S.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't know if investing in The Dalles area would really qualify as Rural Outsourcing. In any case though, $60K is probably still a lot of money if you compare to places like India and China. Is it not a little weird that companies like Google and Skype are not moving all their operations overseas? The nature of their businesses makes it really easy to operate from any location in the globe. It should be much harder for a manufacturing shop to move overseas because of all the logistics involved. If this is
  • 45 minutes?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brian Knotts (855) <bknotts AT cascadeaccess DOT com> on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:32PM (#11724134)
    If you drive 120 miles an hour, maybe. It's at mile marker 82 or so. Do the math.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:41PM (#11724191)
      If you drive 120 miles an hour, maybe. It's at mile marker 82 or so. Do the math.

      Okay...

      82 miles take 41 minutes to make at 120mph. Driving at 109mph will get you there in 45 minutes.
    • Re:45 minutes?!? (Score:3, Informative)

      The Dalles is about 1.25 hours from downtown Portland, I know a lot of people that commute an hour or more up here in Seattle. If you live in the burbs, it's closer. But if I worked in The Dalles, I'd live nearby. Also, The Dalles is not Bumfuck Nowhere, it's a very nice little town near Bonneville Dam, some spectacular vistas in the Columbia River Gorge, and is becoming quite "gentrified" with rich yuppies who are bailing out of the city. It's a two Starbucks town...
      • Re:45 minutes?!? (Score:2, Informative)

        by baomike (143457)
        I would call it a little nearer The Dalles dam than Bonneville. You may be thinking of Cascade Locks or Hood River.

        The Dalles is NOT Portland, it's where the Aluminum smelter is. Weather is diff, it's east of
        the moutains, colder, windier, DRYER, etc...
        for more on weather see:
        http://www.ocs.oregonstate.edu/index.html

        Better like rocks and dry grass. If you like wind surfing and snow skiing you are in pretty good shape. Be aware that the gorge in winter can be impassable.

        PS the town is called THE DALLES
  • why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:37PM (#11724162)
    With all the outdoor sports (windsurfing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing) in the area, sports-minded geeks should be flocking to apply for a job at the new facility

    The Yahoo story I read (several days ago) said that maybe 100 jobs would be created. Not a lot, folks...and that's 100 jobs total. Not "100 techie jobs"...100 -jobs-.

    Those jobs won't be doing sexy things. The only reason you put a facility in the middle of nowhere is because it's cheap in terms of space. Skilled labor is virtually nonexistant and relocation expensive.

    Google strikes me as being like the Army. They talk a great talk(in Google's case, innovation, exciting workplace, etc; in the Army's, it's "defending freedom" and "jobs skills") and show you eye candy galore, and when you actually get in, you spend your time wading in shit (metaphorically in Google's case).

    Nevermind the locals are going to hate you because you're making twice what they are and you're "some city kid", etc. Experience has told me, "trickle down" is never popular until you forcibly remind people (for example, I've heard of companies exchanging cash to silver dollars for employees to use in the local town, to demonstrate to the community just how much of their income comes from employees).

    No thanks, I'll pass.

    • Re:why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Those jobs won't be doing sexy things. The only reason you put a facility in the middle of nowhere is because it's cheap in terms of space. Skilled labor is virtually nonexistant and relocation expensive... ... Nevermind the locals are going to hate you because you're making twice what they are and you're "some city kid", etc.

      Portland is full of skilled labor, and from the Portland burbs, The Dalles is very commutable. The quality of life in The Dalles is quite high as more and more yuppies bail out of P

      • The gorge is a nice area, but it's warmer down south, and I really like Ashland. It feels vaguely European in that it's small with a nice, well looked after (and, dare I say "vibrant") downtown. It's also got all the outdoor stuff - cycling, skiing, rafting and so on. Wonder what the high tech scene is like there. It's one of the areas I'd consider if I moved back to the states, although the "problem" right now would be my fiancee`, who is in biotech, which seems to go a lot more by clusters than IT doe
  • by imperious_rex (845595) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:38PM (#11724169)
    This is just more proof of an under-reported trend in IT: insourcing. Google gets cheap(er) labor AND avoids bad PR from outsourcing to some foreign locale known for cheap labor. $60k annual for IT work is almost a joke in the Bay Area, but it's Big Bux in rural areas like the Dalles (Hell, even I don't make that much. Hmmmmmm...maybe I should consider getting a job there, despite my aversion to rural living)
  • by afabbro (33948) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:38PM (#11724170) Homepage
    Putting lots of people in the Dalles makes sense. Putting lots of computer doesn't. Let's see:
    • In the Columbia river flood plain
    • In an earthquake zone
    • Not far from the Umatilla chemical weapons depot
    • And the big one: we're overdue for the every-300-year Cascadian subduction zone tsunami event, which will roll right up the Columbia river. And there are dams both West and East of the Dalles...

    I'm just saying...not where I'd put a data center. Many of the major data centers in Portland have moved elsewhere in the last 20 years for reasons such as this. (Yes, there are still some around...I work at one).

    • > I'm just saying...not where I'd put a data center.

      Well look where they built silicon valley. ;)

      Your argument is likely falling on deaf ears.
    • > Putting lots of people in the Dalles makes sense. Putting lots of computer doesn't.

      It's good to know what we value most.
    • Not far from the Umatilla chemical weapons depot
      I knew google was using some advanced technology, but biological computers?
  • by Brian Knotts (855) <bknotts AT cascadeaccess DOT com> on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:39PM (#11724173)
    We're all conservative rednecks out here and it's always windy, and we get snowstorms and ice storms.
  • by reporter (666905) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:39PM (#11724174) Homepage
    The principal reason that Google's management is building a technology center in Oregon is that building and running such a center in Oregon is cheaper than building and running such a center in Silicon Valley. Similar reasoning applies for why the management chose an economically depressed city in Oregon.

    Even now, taxes in California are high, and so is the price of property. Why else would management explicitly build a technology center far away from an elite university like Stanford University or UC-Berkeley?

    If more companies would do what Google is doing, then the Californian government will start to lower taxes and to limit the number of legal/illegal immigrants flooding into the state. The latter is the cause of the high prices of apartments and residential homes.

    $200,000 gets you an excellent, spacious house in most places in Oregon or Texas. That same $200,000 gets you, barely, a small noisy condominium in Silicon Valley.

    • Many of these Valley firms are hiring developers from the east coast, IIT (India) and universities in Russia and China. The proximity to Stanford and Cal is not relevant anymore. In fact I might say it is even irrelevant. These universities have moved on to biotech and to a lesser extent nanotech anyway as "big idea" fields.
    • "the number of legal/illegal immigrants flooding into the state. The latter is the cause of the high prices of apartments and residential homes."

      Say what now?

      What fraction of the homes in california are populated by illegal immigrants? Now, what fraction of the NICE houses? Do you think that most illegal immigrants are taking high paying jobs and moving to Los Altos and Palo Alto and driving up the cost of property? You really think they're having such a dominant effect on the market, or are you just sc
    • Well Oregon, though some don't know it, is extremely well engineered for anything networking related. We have a lot of fiber laid down, designed for redundant links to the 'major' cities throughout the state, so for Google, there is a lot of bandwidth they can tap into, without having to worry about digging holes.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:40PM (#11724186)
    Is anyone else noticing an interesting trend here as far as company location goes? Though Oregon already has a ton of high-tech companies(including Intel R&D), this is the second major Microsoft competitor to set up shop there in a year(the first being the OSDL). As an Oregonian I certainly welcome this, though I'm starting to wonder if I should get a bomb shelter should MS want to obliterate the competition in more ways than one.
    • For what it's worth, Google did just open a research lab in Seattle.
      • It's not in Seattle, it's in Kirkland [kirkland.wa.us]. Microsoft is Redmond [redmond.wa.us], and so is Nintendo. Real and Amazon are in Seattle [seattle.wa.us] (as is the Omni Group). Mind you, Redmond and Kirkland are adjaent to each other on the east side of Lake Washington, and Seattle's just on the west side of the lake. Getting to the east side (from downtown/uptown Seattle) takes about 45 minutes during rush hour and 15-20 minutes every other time of day. Meanwhile, the guys from Delicious Monster just sit in a coffee shop [zokacoffee.com] here in Seattle.
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:42PM (#11724195)
    When many of the pioneers of "the Valley" first set up shop, they were building on cheap farmland far away from the sky-high rents of San Francisco, and even Palo Alto. Look at a map of a place like Cupertino in the 60s...you will be blown away...nothing but farms. Some tech companies looked for cheap digs...and look at things now.
  • one catch (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You have to float your wagon down the Columbia and avoid the rocks.
  • by EvilStein (414640) <spam@NOsPam.pbp.net> on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:44PM (#11724208) Homepage
    "Google, based in Mountain View, California, is expected to pay $1.87 million for the parcel of industrial-zoned land 85 miles east of Portland, with an option to buy three other area sites."

    Dude, around here, (Mountain View) 1.87 million will get you diddly squat. 1.87 million for 30 acres near Portland, OR isn't all that bad. That's a beautiful area, not far from Portland or the PDX airport (lots of flights to Seattle and down here to the Silicon Valley every day) and Portland also has a lot of young professional types.

    Not a bad move overall. :)
  • by Limburgher (523006) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:50PM (#11724248) Homepage Journal
    The Dalles was a point along the oregon trail.

    CmdrTaco has cholera.

    Found 32 pounds of food.

    You broke a wagon tongue.

    Ah, those were the good old days.

  • by jwcorder (776512) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @04:03PM (#11724335)
    The call center I work for is in a rural area of less then 20,000 people. There are three types of jobs in this town. The educated work here. The uneducated work at a Tyson Food processing plant. The rest work in retail such as restaurants and grocery stores that the other two groups keep open.

    I live in a 4 bedroom house on 7 acres 15 mins from my job and the payment is 650 a month.

    Of course the DSL is about 400kb down on a good day.

    The problem with this is that the town growns so dependent on the two industries here that when trends cause employee moves, have the town goes belly up. The whole company used to be here but then they moved our merchandising and logistics departments to a new complex in the nearest big city and about half of this town has shutdown. Not to mention you are an hour away from any real forms of entertainment or good shopping.

    This is positive as it's cheap, beautiful, and quiet.

    It's negative because it's quiet, less technologically advanced, small town minded.

    /My 2 cents.

  • The Trail (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Apreche (239272)
    In Oregon Trail The Dalles was the place where you got to control the raft going down the river. Everybody always chose that option. You were just dumb if you took the Barlow Toll Road. Looks like Google didn't crash into any rocks.
  • ...if you don't get to take advantage of them b/c you are working 70 hour weeks?

  • by idlake (850372)
    With all the outdoor sports (windsurfing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing) in the area, sports-minded geeks should be flocking to apply for a job at the new facility

    All two of them ;-)
  • Seriously, someone has to make a movie called "Debbie does Dalles".
  • I'll take Oregon over Mumbai, India. At least they're staying domestic.
  • Was Chimney Rock already rented out? What about Snake River? Stupid Oregon Trail :)

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

Working...