The Economy of Portland Oregon
Portland's metro area population growth has outpaced the national average uring the last decade, with current estimates showing an 80% chance of population growth in excess of 60% over the next 50 years. This population growth improved Portland's economic forecast.
Portland's location is beneficial for several industries. Relatively low energy cost, accessible resources, North-South and East-West Interstates, international air terminals, large marine shipping facilities, and both west coast intercontinental railroads are all economic advantages.
Real estate & construction
Oregon's 1973 "urban growth boundary" law limits the boundaries for large scale development in each metropolitan area in Oregon. This limits access to utilities such as sewage, water and telecommunications, as well as coverage by fire, police and schools. Originally this law mandated that the city must maintain enough land within the boundary to provide an estimated 20 years of growth, however in 2007 the legislature altered the law to require the maintenance of an estimated 50 years of growth within the boundary, as well as the protection of accompanying farm and rural lands.
The growth boundary, along with efforts of the PDC to create economic development zones, has led to the development of a large portion of downtown, a large number of mid- and high-rise developments, an overall increase in housing and business density, and an increase in average house prices.
Computer components manufacturer Intel is the Portland area's largest employer, providing jobs for more than 14,000 residents, with several campuses to the west of the city in the city of Hillsboro. The metro area is home to more than 1,200 technology companies. This high density of technology companies has led to the nickname Silicon Forest being used to describe Portland, a reference to the abundance of trees in the region.
Portland is home to the regional headquarters for Adidas. The metro area serves as the headquarters for the Columbia Sportswear corporation, and Nike, Inc., the only Fortune 500 company which is located primarily in the Portland Metro Area. Philip Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike, is an Oregon native and University of Oregon alumnus.
The steel industry's history in Portland predates World War II. By the 1950s, the steel industry became the city's number one industry for employment. The steel industry thrives in the region, with Schnitzer Steel Industries, a prominent steel company, shipping a record 1.15 billion tons of scrap metal to Asia during 2003.
The aluminum industry expanded in the Portland area during the later half of the 20th century. This was primarily due to the comparatively low cost electricity in the region, courtesy of the many dams on local rivers. The industry has been one of the more intrusive industries politically however, due to the effect on residential and business energy costs to the rest of the city, and the pollution associated with aluminum production.
Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States, and is the second largest port for wheat in the world. The marine terminals alone handle over 13 million tons of cargo per year, and is home to one of the largest commercial dry docks in the country. The Port of Portland is the third largest U.S. port on the west coast, though it is located about 80 miles (130 km) upriver.