Portland, Oregon is well-known for outstanding land-use planning, as well as for its investment early on in light rail transportation. This commitment to conscious city planning has earned the city respect as one of the most environmentally progressive cities in the world. Firms seeking office space for rent will find a community in an era of job growth, as Portland added 27,500 new jobs in 2013. Office vacancies fell as a result of this job creation, and according to Jones Lang LaSalle, Portland edged out New York and San Francisco to have the lowest vacancy rate in the U.S. in 2013 at 11%. Commercial space for rent is therefore somewhat limited, as creative demand is currently outpacing new supply in the area. The downtown area has prime space to lease, but many other sectors of the city have excellent rental opportunities. Manufacturing concerns have traditionally located in Portland due to multi-faceted access to transportation hubs: a deep water port, international airport, major north-south and east-west interstate highways, and both west coast intercontinental railroads.
Historically, Portland’s economy has been based on the deep-water port located at the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, which flow to the Pacific Ocean. In its earliest years, the city became a regional shipping center, and a big part of the lumber industry and manufacturing industry. Today the port is the 3rd largest tonnage port on the West Coast, with import and export shipments in the billions of dollars annually. The city is home to more than 1,200 high-tech companies, including Tektronix, TriQuint Semiconductor, Lattice Semiconductor, Siltronic, ON Semiconductor, WaferTech, LaCie, Gentech, FLIR Systems, and Astronics Max-Viz. Intel Corporation is the city's largest employer, employing 15,000 people over several campuses. Portland has also become a hub for athletic gear and footwear, with national or US headquarters for Nike, Adidas, Columbia sportswear, Li-Ning, Keen, and Hi-Tec Sports; other like manufacturers that have opened offices in Portland include Under Armour, Merrell and Amer Sports. The city is friendly to software companies as well, including McAfee, Mentor Graphics, Jive software, Extensis, and Autodesk.
The city of Portland prides itself on individuality, environmental health, and a friendly atmosphere. It has many lovely parks and gardens, which incorporate water features, sculpture, and other public art. Nicknamed “The City of Roses,” Portland has the perfect climate for growing the fragrant flower: wet and sometimes chilly winters and warm, dry summers. Art is another key part of Portland’s cultural personality, with many galleries, art museums, and public art throughout the city, including along the light rail lines. MAX is Portland’s outstanding light rail transportation system, connecting downtown with three counties for ease of commuting. The Portland Rose Festival is a major annual celebration that takes place over 25 days in June and has over 70 events, including the Grand Floral Parade, a waterfront carnival, a fine arts festival, and an Indycar race.
Portland’s name was decided on the flip of a coin, which is now known as the “Portland Penny” and is on display in the Oregon Historical Society Museum. The site of the future city was originally known as “The Clearing,” aptly named for a clearing in the trees along the Willamette River where Native Americans of the Multnomah and Clackamas tribes and European traders used as a resting spot along well-traveled trade routes. Founders Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy each wanted to name the town after their own hometowns--Portland and Stumptown, respectively. By the 1850s, Portland was a bustling trade center, which expanded further in 1883 upon the completion of a transcontinental railroad. During World War II, Portland became a major shipbuilding and manufacturing center. As the city grew, city planners integrated parks and green spaces, setting a precedent for a healthful environment and controlled growth that continues to this day.
As of 2012, Portland had 603,106 residents, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States, and the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest region. The median income of residents is $52,158, just slightly above the state average. The city’s workforce is well-educated and stable, as 27% of the population has a bachelors degree or higher. Low turnover and high productivity define the employment marketplace, and the unemployment rate continues below the national average. Race and ethnicity statistics show a predominance of residents identifying themselves as White, at 65%, or African American at 18% of the city population. The citizens of Portland are in general progressive thinkers that prize environmental consciousness and preserving natural beauty. The city is a craft beer capital, a specialty coffee haven, and one of the best cities for street food carts.
Portland currently has higher demand than supply for commercial rental space, as well as a lack of large and contiguous spaces. There is high positive absorption, however, which means that for now firms are able to find space to meet corporate needs. Job growth continues to expand, with numbers in 2013 exhibiting the strongest growth since 2006, before the Great Recession.
Many commercial lease opportunities exist in Portland’s downtown area, the city’s central business district. Some rental hot spots around Portland and its metropolitan area include the Central Eastside District (CED), the Pearl District, and Silicon Forest. The CED is primed for a period of rapid growth, with many of the city’s light industrial athletic gear manufacturers locating here. Many renovations of existing buildings are in the works, and the area is in high demand due to its close proximity to the CBD and varied light industrial capabilities. The Pearl District is known for art galleries, but also for high-end businesses that serve adjacent upscale communities. Silicon Forest is not so much a specific location, but represents the high-tech industries that lease in or around Portland. Many of these companies are clustered on the west side of the city; some, such as Intel, are located in Hillsboro, an incorporated city in the Portland metropolitan area.