Quincy, Washington

Quincy is a farm town, centered around the farming, processing and shipping of agricultural products. In recent years, however, agriculture in Quincy has changed. Profitable crops have shifted and family farms have been replaced with large-scale agriculture. The city has become increasingly Hispanic, with Latino residents now making up 66 percent of the population. At the same time, a new industry surprised both residents and town officials: the construction of data centers, also known as "server farms," by Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Intuit. These companies were attracted to Quincy by its cheap land and proximity to the Columbia River, which lowers the cost of electricity with its local water power. The server farms have significantly increased the local tax base, but some residents worry that the city's water and power resources will be too heavily taxed by these new industries. The server farms brought few long-term jobs, but did increase land and home values, prompting concerns about the availability of affordable housing. Many expect that the local economy will soon level out back to previous levels.

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Read more:

Behold the server farm. Fortune Magazine. Stephanie Mehta. July 2006.

Down on the server farm: The real world implications of the rise of internet computing. The Economist. May 2008.

Quincy: Where agriculture meets technology (city website).

The Great Columbian Plain A Historical Geography, 1805-1910. Donald Meinig, 1968.

Serenata: Quincy, Washington (upscale home development).