Economic Development
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DRAFT3e. Economic Development

Industrial Sectors Employment
Industrial Sectors (PDF)

Institutional Sectors Employment
Institutional Sectors (PDF)

Office Sectors Employment
Office Sectors (PDF)

Retail Sectors Employment
Retail Sectors (PDF)
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These maps show where jobs are distributed geographically, by sector: industrial, institutional, office, and retail. Portland’s Central City accounts for 34% of the City’s employment base; regional and town centers accounts for 4%; neighborhoods comprise another 28%; industrial districts (outside the Central City), 25%, and institutional areas, 9%. 

Most of Portland’s job growth since 2000 has been in the Central City, where there has been an increase of about 12,000 jobs, while the rest of the city has lost jobs. The largest growth sector outside the Central City has been institutional, largely in health care and education. The majority of this institutional employment is located in residential zones.

Employment Trends

As of 2006, Portland accounts for 40% of the 1.015 million jobs in the 7-county metro area (PMSA) and accounts for 26% of the region’s 2.1 million residents. From 2000 to 2006, covered employment data reveals an average annual growth rate of just 0.2% in the city and 0.7% in the 7-county region. However, the Central City experienced an annual employment growth rate of 1.6 %. When considered by Comprehensive Plan designation, approximately 29% of in-city employment is located within the Central Commercial zone in 2006, 22% within Industrial Sanctuary and 12% with Central Employment designations. These Central City and industrial zones account for 63% of Portland’s job base. The most rapid employment growth has occurred within the Central Employment designation. By geographic subareas rather than zoning, Portland’s Central City accounted for 34% of the City’s employment base; regional and town centers accounted for 4%; neighborhoods comprised another 28%; industrial districts (excluding the Central City industrial districts of Central Eastside and Lower Albina), 25%, and institutional areas, 9%.

Economic Geography

Industrial sectors concentrate in industrial districts to meet infrastructure and compatibility needs. They include manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, construction, and industrial services. About three out of four manufacturing and distribution jobs in the city are located in the industrial districts, as well as about half of the construction and industrial service jobs. This geographic concentration of industry is supported by Portland’s 1980 industrial sanctuary policy to provide room for industrial growth. A legacy of freight hub infrastructure investments (marine, rail, air, pipeline, freeways) in the Working Harbor and Columbia Corridor districts also support the city’s role as a West Coast trade gateway, Oregon’s distribution hub, and the region’s largest heavy industrial districts. 

Institutional sectors include health care and education, and tend to operate in a campus setting or near their customers. Education and health care have been the largest job growth sectors, adding about 14,000 jobs in the city between 2000 and 2006. Like retail and services, the institutional sectors are dispersed throughout the city, mostly within neighborhoods.  About 60 percent of the institutional employment is in residential zones. Current land use policies in most cases do not acknowledge Portland’s large institutional campuses as employment lands and limit their growth according to residential zoning standards. Since city job growth has been concentrated in these sectors, this land use policy has significant job growth implications for the city.

The City’s office sector  is also well positioned in the core of the city and continues to show greater job growth than the rest of the city (1.6% annual growth). The sectors represented include the finance, real estate, legal, accounting and administrative support, management, utilities, government, information, design and technical services. Office sector jobs in the City of Portland make up over 50 percent of the three county metro areas in all of these sectors. 

The city’s retail, food and drink, and accommodation sector employment is concentrated in the Central City with a dispersed neighborhood business district presence. In total, neighborhoods subareas accounted for just fewer than 110,000 jobs in 2006, 28% of the citywide job total. The city has 93 commercial corridor segments outside of the downtown with varying uses ranging from a mix of upscale, artful, locally serving, and mostly auto-oriented commercial areas. In addition, independent businesses, specialty shops, and “slow food” (distinct from fast food) districts are quickly evolving, forming important commercial market niches. Market performance, however, of these 93 commercial corridors varies widely – a combination of soft (underperforming markets) to transitional (emerging corridors) to healthy (revitalized) corridors. These corridors offer great opportunities for job growth, improved quality of life, and infill and redevelopment.