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Garmin announces expansion plans in Salem

Jonathan j. Cooper, Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- GPS device maker Garmin AT Inc. announced Monday it will expand in Salem with the help of state incentives.

The company, which designs and builds aircraft navigation equipment and also runs a call center in Salem, said it plans to hire at least 65 new employees for software and engineering positions. Garmin already has about 400 employees at two locations there.

Garmin executives said they'll build a new 66,000-square-foot building near the company's existing property at the Salem airport, where they'll consolidate and expand their staff. The state lent Garmin $500,000 that will be forgiven if Garmin meets job-creation targets. The company must create at least 65 jobs at 150 percent of the statewide average wage, and maintain the jobs for at least two years.

Salem Mayor Anna Peterson welcomed the expansion, saying Garmin brings coveted jobs and helps solidify Salem as a hub for avionics companies.

"The jobs here are high-paying, they're jobs that people stay in for long periods of time, and that creates stability in the community," Peterson said. "And they are jobs that result in many other jobs, of vendors and related businesses around the community."

Garmin expects to open its new facilities by January 2015, said Steve Van Arsdale, general manager of Garmin AT, a Salem-based subsidiary of Garmin Ltd., which has headquarters in Olathe, Kan.

The building will have room for up to 150 additional engineers and 80 additional call center positions, Van Arsdale said.