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The Portland Tech Hub: Why the Silicon Forest is Flourishing

Explore the Silicon Forest


Silicon Valley is to the tech industry what Florence was to the Renaissance movement. It’s the cradle of innovation and enlightenment—and the future.


It’s a space for the pioneers, the visionaries and the rebels. Billion dollar ideas are just as likely to be born from a musty garage as they are a legitimate institution. In fact, over the last two decades, the number of patent registrations in the area has increased tenfold.


As the Valley continues to dominate, people will keep migrating to it. But with more people come more problems. Every environment has a capacity in the space and resources it can provide. Silicon Valley is no different.


Drying up the Valley


One issue is the developable space for both commercial and residential use. With the rapidly growing population, businesses and families alike are struggling to find real estate options that won’t put them in crippling debt.


Which is hard to avoid, seeing as how Silicon Valley is the most expensive place to live in America.


Consumer goods, housing, everything is more expensive. Here’s how insane it is: Prospective home buyers in the area have to navigate a market where the median sale price for a house is a staggering $1.4 million.  


With these kinds of costs, it’s no wonder why nearly a third (29%) of the Valley’s households don’t earn enough money to meet their basic needs.


The shrinking space, the high cost of living, the severe racial disparities in quality of life, the saturated market—these and other various forces are pushing many tech professionals away from the area.


They want to forgo the Valley grind to find opportunity elsewhere. Lucky for them, the Silicon Forest is only a few hours away, nestled in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon.


Flocking to the Forest


From 2010 to 2013 alone, the Portland tech talent pool skyrocketed by almost 30 percent, surpassing that of Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.


One reason is the close proximity to California that makes for a relatively easy transition for professionals seeking refuge from their Valley woes.


Another appealing aspect of the Silicon Forest is Portland’s emphasis on work-life balance and telecommuting, with at least 7 percent of professionals in the area working from home. Workplace flexibility isn’t the only luxury Portlanders enjoy though.


The affordable housing options coupled with higher paychecks—a 2.35% increase from the national average for tech professionals—provide a very cushy lifestyle for those taking advantage of the Forest’s bounty.


And as far as finding a job in Portland? Workers have boundless opportunity with all the tech companies that make our industry so vibrant. Google, eBay, Airbnb, Hewlett Packard and Salesforce are a few of the many giants with offices in the area, but not even their presence can hinder the Forest’s thriving startup community.


Leading startups like our clients Cloudability, Puppet, CrowdStreet, CBT Nuggets and Compli are always seeking top talent, as their lucrative businesses continue to grow.


The point is—any current or aspiring Portland tech professional has unlimited options when it comes to elevating their career. In fact, we currently have several available jobs with our esteemed clients.


With all this opportunity, it’s no secret that Portland is the leading startup scene in the country.


The Valley still reigns supreme as the tech mecca of course. But who knows? Years down the road, the Forest may usurp it or even suffer its same fate of depleting resources.


At present, all that matters is that the Forest is flourishing, and the soil is more fertile than ever. Tech professionals need to act now to take advantage of everything Portland has to offer.


In the meantime, the only thing we can hope for is that the Forest remains evergreen.