Portland, OR Economic Overview
Located on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland is the largest city in Oregon and the second largest in the Northwestern United States. Its growing population of 640,000+ and its location on major shipping corridors makes Portland a crucial city for economic activity in the U.S. In this economic atmosphere, opportunity is abundant and growing, which also contributes to the dynamic Portland commercial real estate market.
Portland’s economy is driven primarily by international business corporations, international shipping, technology companies, fishing and forestry. In its immediate vicinity are the Portland dry docks, the third largest dry docks in the United States, and the Portland Port, located 80 miles up-river, also one of the largest in the country. The city is home to over 1,000 tech companies, warranting the recently attributed nickname “Silicon Forest.” Moreover, many athletic and footwear companies have national or international headquarters in the city, including Nike, Adidas, Dr. Martens, and Columbia.
Portland, OR Commercial Real Estate Market
Portland is divided into five “quadrants,” split roughly by the Willamette River: North Portland, Northeast Portland, Southeast Portland, Southwest Portland, and Northwest Portland. Each of these have numerous neighborhoods where a business can find real estate out of which to operate a business. While major neighborhoods are listed below, it is important to remember two things about Portland: the first is that its recent boom in population and business has caused the rate of living and price of real estate to rise, a trend not likely to end any time soon. The second is that Portland’s government has created an economic atmosphere nearly perfect for businesses, including low tax rates and other incentives to continue growing the economy.
The Downtown Portland office market is expansive and expanding. A rather compact downtown, skyscrapers continue to open up along with floors of already existing buildings. It is surrounded by major neighborhoods offering economic opportunities and, due to its walkability, remains close to every major neighborhood of the city. With Portland’s sales tax virtually non-existent, downtown is a perfect location for businesses to open and begin operations.
Pearl District business space is also expansive, but can be quite costly. Formerly the industrial center of the city, art galleries, restaurants, and retail stores now operate out of the former factories. It is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city and offers great real estate for businesses involved in food, fashion, or art industries.
Overlook industrial space. Though only one neighborhood amongst many, Overlook is home to Adidas North America. This is just one example of a corporation being able to set up shop in the area: nearby Beaverton is home to Nike, and Washington County—just south of Portland—is home to Columbia. The outskirts of the city are home to large real estate spaces that can be used to build business.
Portland, OR Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Portland, OR Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Portland, OR Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 40,050,987 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 8,221,221 SF / 20.53% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 23,854,684 SF / 59.56% of total office
- 500k to 1M SF: 5,879,882 SF / 14.68% of total office
- > 1M SF: 2,095,200 SF / 5.23% of total office
- Class A+: 2,549,181 SF / 6.36% of total office
- Class A: 19,123,746 SF / 47.75% of total office
- Class B: 14,005,932 SF / 34.97% of total office
- Class C: 968,661 SF / 2.42% of total office
Total: 50,962,022 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 4,545,927 SF / 8.92% of total industrial
- 100k to 500k SF: 37,232,855 SF / 73.06% of total industrial
- 500k to 1M SF: 9,183,240 SF / 18.02% of total industrial
- Class A: 592,476 SF / 1.16% of total industrial
Employment in Portland, OR
Portland’s unemployment rate of 3.4% is one of the lowest in the United States and a full percentage point below the national average (which is at 4.7%). Office and administrative support in the city’s numerous businesses and government facilities, sales, and transportation make up for most of the employment in the area. Not surprisingly, with the rate of growth in the city, architecture, engineering, and construction jobs also have a high rate of employment. However, as previously mentioned, tech companies—in particular, Intel—and Nike are the largest employers in the state.
Education in Portland, OR
The Portland area’s education sector is expansive. Portland proper has six public school districts, with Portland Public Schools being the largest. There are also a large number of private schools that serve a wide array of demographic groups, including the Northwest Academy, Portland Jewish Academy, and St. Mary’s Academy.
The area is also home to major institutions of higher education. Portland State University is located in downtown Portland and has the second largest enrollment numbers next to Oregon State University, which is located in Corvallis, only 85 miles south. Other notable institutions that are located in the city are The University of Portland, a large private university; nearby Reed College, one of the best liberal arts institutions in the United States, and Lewis & Clark College, another thriving liberal arts institution.
Commuting Time in Portland, OR
Portland’s commuting time can be tricky due to the wide array of available transportation types available to residents. For vehicle owners, Portland’s traffic jams can be a real headache: according to Oregon Live, Portland’s traffic jams are ranked in the top-ten worst in the United States. However, Portland is also home to numerous bike paths, an extensive bus system, and a light rail and streetcar system that is so efficient that it is almost unmatched in the rest of the United States. Numerous companies operate in the downtown area, a neighborhood that is highly compact and easily walkable.
- Total Population639,387
- Male Population(49.5 %) 316,291
- Female Population(50.5 %) 323,096
- Median Age36.90
- Average Household Income$90,382
- Median Household Income$65,740
- Median Income Under 25$30,358
- Median Income 25-44$74,216
- Median Income 45-64$72,961
- Median Income Over 65$45,830
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