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Portland Eschews Incentives, Touts Workforce In Amazon HQ2 Bid

Portland Eschews Incentives, Touts Workforce In Amazon HQ2 Bid

The public-private economic development organization Greater Portland Inc. and its partners submitted a proposal Thursday for Amazon HQ2. The Oregon cities of Beaverton, Milwaukie and Portland, and Clark County, Washington, all proposed sites as an ensemble. A regional distributed campus concept, making use of sites in all four locations, was also included.

The proposal offered no formal incentives to Amazon. A partial list of existing state, local and institutional programs and incentives, as well as the qualifying criteria, was included.

Greater Portland’s proposal touts the strength of the region’s workforce, composed of a pipeline of students at universities and community colleges, as well as a healthy influx of highly educated talent.

According to the proposal, the region leads markets like Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and others in domestic net migration of those 25 years or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“We're the 24th-largest metro area nationwide with one of the highest percentages of college graduates,” Greater Portland Board Chairman Wally Van Valkenburg said. “We effectively meet Amazon's key criteria of attracting and retaining strong technical talent."

The proposal also highlighted the region's logistics and connectivity, including multimodal transportation and daily nonstop domestic and international flights. The multisite distributed campus concept leverages this connectivity.

Greater Portland tapped Aecom, a global infrastructure specialist, to help develop the proposal, and help design the distributed campus concept.

Economic development players such as Business Oregon, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, the Columbia Willamette Workforce Collaborative, Greater Portland’s Higher Education Committee and Portland General Electric all contributed to the regional proposal.