Ashland electric motorcycle company Brammo Inc is proof that green technology and innovation are keys to helping the state ride out the recession, Representative Greg Walden said Thursday.

Ashland electric motorcycle company Brammo Inc. is proof that green technology and innovation are keys to helping the state ride out the recession, Rep. Greg Walden said Thursday.

As part of a daylong visit to Jackson County, the Oregon Republican toured Brammo's Clover Lane facility and talked with CEO Craig Bramscher about creating jobs in Ashland.

"Here you've got clean, green energy technology — what a great combination. If that isn't definitional Ashland, I don't know what is," Walden said.

Brammo plans to hire 100 people by the end of the year, and then double its staffing every subsequent year for three or four years, Bramscher said. Five years from now, the company could employ 1,500 people, he said.

"It's good to see good Oregon manufacturing potential," Walden said. "It's pretty exciting that it's going to happen in Southern Oregon at a time when most places you go, manufacturing jobs are evaporating."

Brammo recently secured a contract with Best Buy that will allow the Ashland company to sell its Enertia bike in Best Buy stores beginning in mid-May. Brammo's Enertia can travel 45 miles on a full battery and can be plugged into a standard outlet.

"One of the things we're hoping to do is create a broad spectrum of jobs," Bramscher said. "We'd like to see three- to four-hundred more families in Ashland with kids."

As soon as building permit hurdles are cleared with the city, Bramscher plans to start construction on an eight-acre piece of land across the street from Brammo's current facility. Within a year, he hopes to have a new building completed where more motorcycles can be manufactured, he said.

The company is also working on creating an electric scooter and is looking into the possibility of creating cars in the future, he said.

In June Brammo will race a custom-made bike in the Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix, the first clean-emission professional motorcycle race.

Brammo will likely receive some assistance from the federal stimulus package, and Bramscher plans to talk with Walden's office about how to possibly secure more funding by allowing companies that make two-wheeled vehicles to dip into money for four-wheeled vehicle manufacturers, he said.

Although Brammo is one of the few bright spots in Southern Oregon's economy, the company shows that entrepreneurialism and eco-mindedness are essential to getting the economy back on track, Walden said.

"It is this sort of passionate innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that is creating these opportunities," he said. "The economy will come back as long as we continue to support this kind of thinking."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 582-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.