COBURG, Ore. - Just west of Interstate 5 hangs a mostly empty entrance sign for the industrial park, motivation for an old idea for growing jobs to get new life in the City of Coburg.
But the concept - called an enterprise zone - is not without a controversial past.
Councilman Jae Pudewell said it's an old idea that deserves a new look.
"Economic development is very critical for the continued health of Coburg," said Pudewell, the future acting mayor of the city of 1,100.
Pudewell thinks a key could be a revival of the enterprise zone.
"Coburg is just now beginning to look at it," "We don't know if we're going to go forward with it or not."
Land for the zone would be just west of the freeway where there's vacant industrial property.
Enterprise zones are set up to let new companies come in, build a plant and pay no property taxes for the first 3 years.
Pudewell said call centers, service or product distribution centers - like the Lowe's distribution center in Lebanon - would fit the bill.
"We're looking for and hoping for some diversity of industries and diversity of the employment base," Pudewell said.
With a $12 million I-5 interchange project starting this summer to improve access for truck traffic, Pudewell believes the time is right to attract new businesses.
"By having a much better access for them will certainly improve that substantially," he said.
Now the flip side: Pudewell said the drawback to the zone is lost tax money for other city programs and services.
Those controversies and politics led to the old program's demise in the 1990s.
The councilor stresses there will be no quick decision on the enterprise zone. He wants to get all the community involved in the conversation to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
Pudewell said 130 to 150 acres of industrial zone land in Coburg could be the basis for the enterprise zone.