Once wary of Facebook and Apple, a mill town tells them to keep expanding

PRINEVILLE, Ore. — A decade ago, when five shuttered sawmills and 20 percent unemployment defined Crook County, Ore., nobody envisioned that the path to recovery would be tied to Facebook and Apple.

But on the rimrock summit overlooking this city, the county seat and home to 10,000 residents, Facebook is sinking the footings for the first of two 450,000-square-foot data centers that together will cost $1 billion when completed in 2021. The immense buildings will join the four existing data centers, totaling 1.27 million square feet, that Facebook has built here since 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion. They are among 11 centers the company has built in the United States and overseas.