The Portland-Vancouver metro contains almost 2.3 million residents and is comprised of Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington. The area is projected to grow at an annual rate of 1.1 percent over the next five years.
Portland is the largest city with a population of 602,100 persons. The city’s economy has shifted from timber to the high-tech manufacturing and services industries. Lower land costs and affordable, abundant power attract manufacturing companies. Near-term growth in alternative energy companies such as Vestas Wind, SolarWorld and Iberdrola Renewables will continue to draw employees from outside the region, as well as help retain workers.
Medical research is expanding in the metro, headed by Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU). OHSU is a world-renowned leader in biomedical research, studying a number of disorders ranging from neurodegenerative diseases, stress, genetic disorders and clinical nutrition.
Metro companies receive around $200 million in contracts each year awarded by agencies within the Department of Defense. Oregon also contains a pool of diverse firms that derive a relatively small portion of their revenues from defense work. Local ports remain the foundation of the area’s economy. Although the recession dampened cargo volume and port traffic, activity at the ports of Portland and Vancouver has increased since. The favorable tax structure, with no state income taxes in Washington and no sales tax in Oregon, attract businesses to the metro.
The Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton metro is located near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers, and stretches across the Oregon border into Washington State.
Mount Hood and the Cascade Range stand to the east Portland, and the Oregon Coast Mountain Range lies to the west. The metro is situated at the northern end of the Willamette Valley. A long growing season and mild temperatures culture a diverse field of agricultural products.