Oregon's semiconductor manufacturing successes are rooted in the groundwork laid by Intel when it located its largest facility in Hillsboro in the early 1970s. That period also marked the beginning of public-private partnerships that helped grow, in Washington County alone, almost five dozen semiconductor firms, which today employ more than 17,600 people.
Neighboring communities have thrived with many residents, who comprise the sector's highly skilled workforce, earning on average more than $107,600 per year.
Programs advocated for and administered by Business Oregon, such as the Strategic Investment Program, help companies offset large capital-intensive expenses incurred by growing and expanding.
The state is a catalyst for bringing together public and private business development partners and industries. In semiconductor manufacturing alone, a vital cluster has grown that has netted Oregon more than 24,000 jobs, nearly 90 related businesses and annual wages topping $101,000.
The strength of this industry sector not only helped put Oregon on the map as globally competitive, but now as a mature industry cluster, it is the backbone of the state's burgeoning position as a leader in clean manufacturing technologies.
The state is leveraging these strengths to attract manufacturers of photovoltaic components, and the strategy is working: Oregon has seen four large recruitments over the past year-and-a-half, projecting approximately 1,570 jobs. By next year, Oregon will have more annual photovoltaic production capacity than any other state in North America (more than 600mW).
The state played a key role in attracting solar cell producer SolarWorld to Oregon by proposing it take over the never-opened Komatsu silicon wafer production facility in Hillsboro. Similar creative recruiting is high on Business Oregon's agenda for troubled facilities in Forest Grove and Eugene, and the agency is optimistic that Oregon's incentives, skilled workforce and desirability as a place to live and play will help drive similar success stories.
In fact, Oregon was recently named the nation's greenest state by Business Facilities Magazine in its annual rankings of cities and states, a status the surveyors called "one of the most sought-after accolades for a state or city to receive ..."
In late 2009, Business Oregon assisted GL Solutions, a Bend software company, through the Credit Enhancement Fund to secure a $350,000 loan guarantee with Premier West Bank. The financing helped the company complete its business expansion plans and create 26 new jobs.