By Business Oregon
Oregon’s unique geographies, industries, and communities create a thriving environment for businesses and families. Beyond its natural beauty, Oregon’s quality of life, talented workforce, competitive costs, and access to the Pacific Rim provide a strategic advantage to companies operating here. These companies range from large global corporations to small businesses and start-ups leveraging our culture of innovation and creativity.
Oregon’s Competitive Edge
Home to over 4.2 million residents, Oregon ranks 27th for population but outperforms other states across a broad array of metrics instrumental to a thriving business environment.
- 1st in energy infrastructure
- 3rd in transportation
- 1st rated U.S. domestic airport
Ninety percent of roads are in good condition (vs. 50 percent in neighboring California and 70 percent in Washington). Oregon offers seven commercial airports, two seaports, and 2,400 miles of freight railroads.
Portland International Airport (PDX) offers numerous global nonstop flights daily. Both Tokyo and Frankfurt can be reached in 10.5 hours. PDX has been rated the #1 airport for business travel eight out of the past nine years by Travel + Leisure.
- 3rd in job openings (10-year growth)
- 3rd in semiconductor employment
- 4th in wood products employment
- 5th in exports
- 4th in patents
- 1st in university licensing of new technologies (largely affiliated with the University of Oregon)
- 3rd in top public colleges and universities (Oregon Institute of Technology)
Oregon ranks among the top ten states for low electricity, natural gas, and workers compensation costs. The state also ranks in the top ten in industry R&D investment and GDP growth.1
Additionally, tax and other incentives and land availability make Oregon a favorable business climate, including:
- No sales tax including on machinery or equipment
- Property tax holiday (three to five years and up to 15 years in rural areas)
- Corporate income taxes assessed on Oregon sales only
- Over 1,500 available sites for industrial and commercial development (as of August 2023)
Statewide economic development efforts in Oregon are prioritized for the following traded sector industries as they demonstrate a competitive advantage regionally, nationally and globally.
Home to the Silicon Forest, the state’s concentration of high-tech companies has made a name for Oregon across the globe. Companies like Intel, Tektronix, and HP have long roots in the region and have spun-off hundreds of other startups. Today, there are more than 7,000 high-tech businesses statewide that provide nearly 82,000 jobs. Oregon is home to Intel’s largest facility in the world and supported by a highly skilled and experienced workforce that drives the company’s global R&D. This talent and infrastructure have contributed to the development of the fast-growing software and IT industry as well.
Forestry & Wood Products
Oregon is the largest softwood lumber producer in the U.S. With 30.5 million acres of forestlands, about 50 percent of the total landmass of the state is covered in forest. An internationally-recognized leader in wood product manufacturing, Oregon combines accessible raw materials with cutting-edge innovation to produce a diverse range of high quality, value-added wood products.
Advanced manufacturing in Oregon consists of three key subsectors, Metals and Machinery, Aerospace and Defense, and Biomedical Equipment and R&D. Employment in these sectors is predominantly in urban areas although its presence is also felt in rural economies around the state. Oregon employs over 35,000 workers in this sector, which has grown by 15 percent over the last decade (nearly twice the growth rate of the U.S.).
Food & Beverages
Oregon is an iconic location for craft beer and wine, with the state’s pinot noir and IPAs recognized as some of the finest in the world. Building on Oregon’s diverse range of agricultural products, employment in the industry has grown quickly, increasing 34 percent over the past decade. It is an important growth industry for rural Oregon and has one of the most diverse workforces of Oregon’s target industries.
Outdoor Gear and Apparel
Home to Nike, Adidas America, and Columbia Sportswear, outdoor gear and apparel is one of Oregon’s iconic industries. It has blossomed from these large global brands, with new ideas, opportunities, and companies sprouting from the large pool of industry talent that has amassed here. Growing, mid-sized companies have benefited from the extensive design and logistics expertise found in the region. Oregon’s proximity to the Pacific Rim facilitates easy interactions with industry counterparts in Asia, as well as the exchange of materials and finished goods.
Recent Legislative Successes
Oregon recognizes the importance of policies that support its key industries and underserved communities. Recent legislation reflects these objectives, including:
- CHIPS Act Funding: Oregon has committed an additional $240 million in state funding to help semiconductor companies applying for federal CHIPS Act Funding. This federal legislation was passed in 2022 to spur investment in U.S. advanced manufacturing and R&D. Oregon expects to attract a significant amount of this federal funding.
- Oregon Broadband Office: Launched in 2023 with nearly $700 million in federal dollars leveraged that will provide broadband access to rural and underserved communities.
- Research & Development Tax Credit: Passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2023. Provides refundable income and corporate tax credits for qualified R&D activities.
Recent Wins – Global Corporations & Small Businesses
Strengthened by CHIPS Act funding, Intel recently announced plans for a multibillion-dollar expansion and modernization of its world-renowned R&D facilities in the Portland Metro area. This investment seeks to bolster the semiconductor manufacturer’s lead globally, and it starts here in Oregon.
Ground Up PDX
Women-owned and founded locally in 2016, Group Up is a high-end food manufacturer (nut butters) and practices inclusive hiring to employ women transitioning from incarceration or houselessness. Ground Up was awarded a grant from Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, for their market expansion project. Funds will be used as working capital to assist the company in strengthening their product inventories and market expansions.
Oregon’s Investments in Businesses and Communities – Business Oregon
In collaboration with numerous regional partners, Business Oregon provides technical and financial assistance to help our economy and communities thrive. In fiscal year 2023, the agency awarded over $450 million in direct financial assistance across 700 projects ranging from business development, financing, and export assistance to municipal infrastructure improvements, to investments in historically underserved communities. Awards were split evenly between urban and rural communities in every region of the state.
1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wiser Trade, Business Oregon research, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Energy Information Administration, U.S News & World Report, Travel & Leisure Magazine