Opinion

Editorial: Delivering a new addition

At a time when most economic news is bleak, Oak Harbor got some good news last week with the grand opening of Waste Management’s new call center at Harbor Station.

The operation, which fields service calls regarding Waste Management’s operations throughout the region, supplies more than 100 good jobs to Oak Harbor residents, including Navy spouses who have long had a shortage of employment opportunities on Whidbey Island. When fully operational, the center will handle 20,000 customer calls each week.

The fact that the call center is located in the new Harbor Station development is another plus. Harbor Station is a fine looking project, providing retail, business and residential space in an attractive package, all well within the city limits. This is “in-filling” at its best.

Waste Management’s call center didn’t just happen to appear in Oak Harbor. It could have been located anywhere, including Portland, Ore., which was in the running until late. They were brought to Oak Harbor by a long, concerted effort by city and school district officials, business leaders, the Navy and the Island County Economic Development Council. Harbor Station developers worked to make sure Waste Management had the space it needed. Everyone’s efforts obviously paid off, with 100-plus clean jobs for the community.

The call center will provide a good payroll for the Oak Harbor and over $1 million annually in badly-needed tax revenue for the city. Waste Management officials have been so impressed by their welcome to town that they’re thinking of bringing more jobs here. “We chose this area for its opportunity for growth,” said Duane Woods, senior vice president.

Waste Management’s call center is a great example of positive development in the community, made possible by various elements working together for the common good. It was an outstanding effort all around, and something with which everyone involved can take pride in having accomplished.

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