Oregon may have a reputation for beards and flannel, but while we haven’t actually had the pleasure of meeting a company that combines the two to craft a shirt made out of beard hair (yet), exports from Oregon’s apparel and footwear industry have doubled over the past ten years.
We are working with many Oregon companies to grow exports, grow revenues and grow the economy. And it’s getting noticed.
Bloomberg News declares “Oregon is the picture of economic health,” details how Portland has quietly lured startups and big company satellites, and profile’s Portland’s “Boomtown Economy”.
Oregon’s skilled workforce, desirable livability, competitive business costs and access to foreign markets are all tremendous assets. That paired with what folks see when they get here—a breathtaking public coastline, majestic mountain peaks, striking river gorges, all surrounding thriving urban communities—makes Oregon a top destination for talent. And while jobs originally attract talent, it’s the presence of strong talent that in turn attracts jobs. This job growth driving Oregon’s recent economic gains is attracting attention of outlets like Bloomberg and others. Below are some recent projects happening on the ground from companies growing in Oregon.
Avago Acquires Hynix Facility in Eugene to Manufacture Mobile Phone Components
Tech company Avago purchased the former semiconductor fab for a new production line. Avago vice president Stan Strathman said “the facility is well suited to our manufacturing needs, while the Eugene location provides access to a strong labor base and an established infrastructure supporting high-tech manufacturing.”
LinkedIn Near Completion of Hillsboro, Oregon Facility
From LinkedIn: “Notwithstanding its ‘Portlandia’ depiction as the national hub of craft coffee, plaid and hipsterism, Portland is also a prosperous economy offering new opportunities for technology and innovation. The city is fast becoming a next-generation technology hub. Our newest data center in a nearby suburb will be one of the most advanced and efficient data centers in the world.”
ConAgra / Lamb Weston Expands Oregon Facility
ConAgra/Lamb Weston announced the expansion of its potato processing facility in Boardman, Oregon. Lamb Weston is one of the largest employers in the Columbia Basin, with approximately 4,500 employees at a corporate office and seven manufacturing facilities in the region.
Act-On Expands Headquarters to Portland
Oregon-based software firm Act-On is moving from Beaverton to the Bank of America building in downtown Portland this summer. Act-On CEO Andy MacMillan says “Downtown Portland is a draw nationally and beyond” and it allows the company to attract both young recruits just out of college as s well as tech veterans.
Daimler Breaks Ground on R&D Facility in Madras
Daimler Trucks North America, on the verge of completing its $150M headquarters expansion in Portland, broke ground on a new $18M research facility and test track in the Central Oregon city of Madras.
At Business Oregon, we’re excited about what Oregon has achieved, but we are also acutely aware that growth has not been equal in all corners of the state. The chart below shows that while Oregon and some of its regions are back above pre-recession employment levels, there are some that have had slower recoveries.
The housing sector drove Central Oregon down the furthest, but it’s also experienced the steepest comeback. The manufacturing and high technology-heavy Portland Metro region started its recovery first and has been on a steady employment increase since. The loss of jobs in wood products and other impacts of natural resource sectors have made southern Oregon recovery slower.
So while we should celebrate Oregon’s strong employment and wage growth overall, there’s a continued need to create opportunities for prosperity for all Oregon communities, and we will use the talent and programs we have available to do just that.