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Why Greater Portland is the right place for Amazon HQ2

September 15,2017 | By Janet LaBar
As you’ve likely seen, Amazon has announced it will site a second headquarters location, stirring interest in every metro and economic developer in the country.
GPI already started the ball rolling, communicating with stakeholders our intent to lead and coordinate a regional response in partnership with Business Oregon, Columbia River Economic Development Council and our cities. We’ll also leverage the expertise of partners and those who have first-hand experience working with Amazon.
Some media speculation has focused on why our region can’t field a competitive proposal. We’re more bullish.
Here’s why we believe Greater Portland is a compelling choice for Amazon, based on the four location preferences (LP) stated in the company’s RFP:

LP1: Metropolitan areas with more than one million people

Check the box. Greater Portland has a population of 2.4 million, and according to Metro, our region is expected to see some 500,000 more people by 2040.

LP2: A stable and business-friendly environment

We’re no strangers to business growth and innovation. We haven’t looked back since Lewis & Clark. The athletic industry originated in 1916 with Jantzen swimwear. Nearly 30 years later, we launched modern aerospace and telecommunications around the world when Tektronix invented the world’s first triggered oscilloscope. These examples—and so many more over decades—were made possible by big thinking, broad support and a climate allowing businesses to start and thrive.

LP3: Locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent

Forget the potential. We have the proof. Of the top 10 markets for educational attainment, our region ranks fourth. Our workforce includes 50,000 techies, and from 2012-2016, Greater Portland added more than 14,600 tech jobs. Our tech industry startups number nearly 1,300, and they’re in good company with anchors like Mentor Graphics/Siemens PLM, Salesforce, Intel, Airbnb and Puppet Labs. Just ask AWS Elemental. 

LP4: Communities that think big and creatively

It’s not our first rodeo. World-class transit in Greater Portland connects our urban and suburban communities, and our region has literally been in the think-big driver’s seat for the last 30 years. Creativity may as well be our middle name with firms such as Wieden+Kennedy, ZGF Architects and Ziba Design calling our community home. Creative occupations grew by more than 22 percent from 2003-2013, substantially outpacing the national figure of 4.7 percent. We’re a creative human capital powerhouse.
GPI is more than enthusiastic about our case for Amazon HQ2. We’ll position the region as a solution to the connectivity, talent and infrastructure Amazon seeks; and in the process, show site selectors, investors and companies why Greater Portland should be their first choice for a relocation or expansion.
We look forward to sharing this journey of pursuit with you, and thanks for your continued partnership and support!

Janet LaBar
President and CEO, Greater Portland Inc

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