Media Room

Prepared Remarks

March 20, 2015

It’s great to be here and see so many people committed to investing in Oregon.

I am here today to announce a tremendous economic development opportunity for Pendleton, for Eastern Oregon, and for the state as a whole.

The commercial UAS industry is projected to grow fivefold over the next five years, bringing high paying jobs to any region that has the necessary test site infrastructure. We can brag that three of those test sites are here in Oregon, and they are the only ones on the west coast.

To take advantage of this unique situation, this week I approved a 545-thousand dollar forgivable loan to support this facility. This loan, coupled with additional support from Business Oregon, which Director Sean Robbins is about to announce, means City of Pendleton now has the financial resources it needs to continue the development of this site.

This new funding represents more than an investment in a few concrete pads and buildings. It proves that when presented with a unique chance to seize a moment in innovation, Oregon is poised to step forward to support the community leaders who are doing the hard work to develop a new industry in an important part of the state.

I applaud the business and community leaders who are doing the heavy lifting in a region that truly is interested in growing, and that also needs jobs.
Rural Oregon is the perfect test bed to push the evolution in UAS technology into new areas like sustainable agriculture and forestry. These key opportunities are expected to be a big part of the estimated 100 family-wage jobs that this site –when fully developed--can help create.

I want to commend the leaders of Pendleton on your support for the burgeoning field of UAS technology. Your work is an economic bright spot in Eastern Oregon. The state is eager to partner with your community. We are eager to invest in Oregon, just as I hope all of you are too.