PRINEVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Sisters-based GFP Emergency Services has opened a new facility in Prineville and created jobs for 90 people to revamp shipping containers for use as temporary housing, medical and other facilities.
And more jobs appear headed to the city, with a Madras-based company's plans to start another container-conversion business in Prineville.
The new jobs, along with the Apple and Facebook data centers, are welcome news for Crook County, which had the highest monthly unemployment rate of Oregon's 36 counties for four years, until October.
"The data center industry, and now a company like GFP coming here, gives us reason to believe that Prineville is heading back to economic growth," said Steve Forrester, Prineville city manager.
GFP, which provides wildland firefighting services, makes evacuation shelters and provides base-camp services and catastrophe management, started leasing about 65,000 square feet at the Prineville Freight Depot last month, said GFP President Don Pollard.
The company employs about 90 workers at the Prineville facility, its own and subcontractors, to convert shipping containers into temporary buildings used during emergencies, or for energy exploration, mining and pipeline construction — activities requiring base camps in remote areas where there is no food or showers.
John Knotek, owner of ICP Northwest in Madras, said his company plans to build its own modules for both residential and commercial uses in the former Workman & Sons facility on Northeast Peters Road in Prineville.
ICP currently has between five and eight employees operating at the company's Madras and Culver locations, he said. It plans to consolidate headquarters and manufacturing in Prineville and hopes to have all approvals for the move in about a month.
"We're actually creating more jobs by relocating and consolidating in Prineville," Knotek said. "We'll be creating about 50 jobs for this year. As we complete our rollover, I can see that number increasing."
GFP Emergency Services and ICP Northwest previously worked together, with ICP serving as a subcontractor for GFP.
But a dispute led ICP to file a lawsuit against GFP in Crook County Circuit Court in December.
Russell Deboodt, Prineville and Crook County manager for Economic Development for Central Oregon, said those who lost jobs in manufacturing and construction could use their skills refurbishing containers.
"A company like that coming to Prineville looking for those skills is a good thing," he said.