Tech Sector Makes Inroads in Portland

Low prices and a less frenetic working environment are drawing tech employees to Portland, Oregon. Gentrification may loom, but along with it may come expanded economic opportunities for the city and state.

1 minute read

February 29, 2016, 10:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Portland Streetcar Bike

David Wilson / flickr

Portland may be joining the rest of the West Coast as a center for employment in software and tech. Residential and business costs are far lower, especially when compared to the Bay Area. "'We'd have people come up from the San Francisco office to work in Portland, and they'd just want to stay,' [businessman Gino Zahnd] says. That's fine by him: In Portland, he pays less than one-third of his San Francisco office expenses."

Since 2010, Peter Robison writes, "The technology workforce in the city's surrounding Multnomah County has grown 82 percent, to more than 13,000, compared with a 29 percent gain nationwide in the same period, according to market researcher EMSI."

Portland's status as a newcomer to the tech scene still poses some obstacles for businesses. "Among the factors limiting industry growth, Portland doesn't have the top engineering universities and investor networks of San Francisco or even Seattle." Needless to say, some residents are also concerned that a massive inflow of tech could lead Portland down Seattle's path.

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