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Coquille Indian Tribe of Oregon Invests in Renewable Technologies Firm

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Mith-ih-kwuh Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), owned by the Coquille Indian Tribe, recently bought "controlling interest" in Perpetua Power Source Technologies, which will develop renewable components for wireless applications in a final assembly and production facility to be built on tribal property.

The Corvallis-based manufacturer, founded in 2005, makes thermoelectric devices that extend or replace batteries on wireless sensors, reported The World.

The new facility will initiate further development on the waterfront of Ko-Kwel Wharf in North Bend, Oregon, said Calvin Mukumoto, MEDC chairman and CEO, in a press release. The Corvallis Gazette-Times reported that for many years the tribe has been trying to develop the 50-acre industrial park, adjacent to The Mill Casino, its profitable casino-hotel venture. It was once primed to be a retail destination anchored by Home Depot, but those plans subsided, according to The World.

Now Mukumoto envisions a manufacturing hub to draw similar businesses with an emphasis on green technology, and also retail and entertainment venues, reported The World.

“Investing in Perpetua’s production facility continues development of the Tribe’s waterfront property and also begins development of an innovation center that can make use of tribal advantages to grow a new generation of businesses that create solid employment opportunities for our South Coast communities,” Mukumoto said in a statement. “Our planning includes creating a workforce training program that would prepare local residents for job opportunities anticipated at the new production facility.”

MEDC's investment in Perpetua will also open economic opportunities for the renewable technologies firm. “Our new business relationship with the Tribe will support our local and global growth expansion plans,” Nick Fowler, CEO at Perpetua, said in a statement.

Fowler anticipates tax breaks on imports and exports by activating the site's Foreign Trade Zone designation. Other benefits may include qualifying for federal aid as a minority-operated business, Mukumoto told The World.

Construction should begin the last half of 2011 on the final assembly facility, which is expected to create approximately 30 much-needed jobs.

The 900-member Coquille Indian Tribe is the second largest employer in Coos County, Oregon. The tribe also manages business ventures in forestry, arts and exhibits, gaming and hospitality, assisted living and memory care, and high-speed telecommunications.