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Vestas on the prowl for other manufacturing locations in northwest

Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, is exploring the potential for setting up shop in other towns in the US Northwest, even as it negotiates with officials from the town of Portland, Oregon, to site a wind turbine manufacturing there. Vestas made a June visit to a 300-acre site on the Columbia River, 40 miles northwest of Portland, according to George Cress, director of planning and development for the Port of Longview. Cress says the company is probably also looking at other sites. Vestas company director Mogens Filtenborg confirms this is the case. All the sites Vestas is looking at, he adds, are close to Portland, though locally there is keen interest on which local authority will benefit economically from the final geographical location of the factory. Martha Richmond of the Portland Development Commission, which is negotiating with Vestas along with the Port of Portland, says talks to reach a lease agreement with Vestas for 113 acres of land have not broken down. But she adds that Vestas has raised additional financial issues since it announced in April it would build the factory. Those issues, all to do with incentives offered to convince Vestas to locate in Portland, could take as long as late August to resolve. Vestas initially said it planned to begin building turbines in Portland from next summer and to reach the plant's full capacity of 300 turbines annually by 2004. It is also moving its North American sales and installation offices from Palm Springs, California to Portland. Vestas has opened a local office in downtown Portland and is recruiting for Portland-based jobs.

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