Google- The Dalles

Beginning in 1996, Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin built a search engine called “BackRub” that used links to determine the importance of individual web pages. By 1998 they had formalized their work, creating the company we know today as Google.

Google now offers dozens of products and services, including various forms of advertising and web applications for all kinds of tasks in scores of languages. And starting from two computer science students in a university dorm room, they now have thousands of employees and offices around the world, one of them being The Dalles Data Center.

All of the services that providers like Google host live on a server somewhere. Google’s data centers are placed worldwide to provide high speed service and build in resilience to unforeseen issues like power outages and natural disasters. The Dalles facility was the first that Google built from scratch, starting construction in 2005 and completing the project in 2007. In April 2015, the site opened a new building which doubled Google’s investment in The Dalles from $600M to $1.2B.

Congressman Walden at Google.
Congressmen Walden celebrates the grand opening of Google’s new building in The Dalles in April 2015.

Google’s data centers are some of the most efficient in the world, using 50% less energy than the typical data center. Google is the first major Internet services company to gain external certification of the high environmental, workplace safety, and energy management standards of its data centers.

When considering where to locate their data centers, Google looks for sites with affordable green power, affordable land, a good workforce and good fiber optic connectivity, such as the  Q-Life Network in The Dalles. The Dalles campus is currently home to over 80 Google employees and around 150 jobs total, including contractors such as Menlo Worldwide Logistics, G4S Security and Bon App├ętit Management Company. With the addition of the newest data center building, these teams will continue to grow.

Google has been an important partner in the community. In April they announced a grant of nearly $100,000 for computer science education in Wasco County Schools. Since 2008, the company has awarded more than $9 million in grants to Oregon schools and nonprofits, including over $200,000 previously to North Wasco County School District #21, over $366,000 for a free WiFi network in The Dalles, and grants to numerous other STEM education and energy efficiency projects and programs.

Google has been a strong supporter of the GTA, from grants to develop our robotics program to sponsorship and Dave Karlson’s participation on the Board of Directors. “The biggest reason that Google is involved in the GTA,” says Dave, “is because we feel it is important to build relationships with and have open communication between all of the technology partners here so that we can learn from each other and work together.”  Learn more at

About Dave Karlson, Site Manager, Google- The Dalles

Dave came to the Gorge in 1993 looking for a place that had the right balance of professional opportunities and outdoor lifestyle choices. He was an avid skier, having spent two years working at Snowbird in Utah prior to moving to the Gorge, and also wanted to learn windsurfing and get on his mountain bike more. Prior to Google, Dave worked for over 4 years as Systems Analyst for Mount Hood Meadows and over 8 years as Technology Director for what is now known as Columbia Gorge Education Service District serving the schools of Hood River and Wasco counties.

Dave and his family live in White Salmon, where he serves on the White Salmon School Board and where his wife, Kate, volunteers at the schools that their two sons attend.  The family spends much of their free time outdoors.  As the family has grown (and as the boys have gotten older), their interests have expanded to include road biking, wake surfing, tennis, skateboarding, basketball, and soccer.

View Google’s profile on our website at