Oregon is home to more than 700 athletic and outdoor industry firms. Why do so many innovative brands and talent choose Portland and Oregon as their home?

  • Portland firms are internationally renowned for their design talent and innovation.
  • Heritage firms have provided a strong talent pool and nurturing environment to expanding/start-companies.
  • Portland's reputation as a design center allows local talent to export their skills globally.
  • Portland has global access through its international airport and ports.
  • Portland has year-round outdoor recreational opportunities

We are bringing together industry, higher education and the public sector to make Portland, Oregon the recognized global hub of the athletic & outdoor industry.


Athletic & Outdoor Industry Cluster Update

Collaboration between the PDC, Oregon Business Development Department, Oregon Business Council, Portland State University, Impresa Economics, the University of Bern, and industry representatives resulted in the first ever comprehensive study of the athletic and outdoor industry. This study helped to inform an Action Plan for the industry. The study, action plan, executive report, and infographic were unveiled by the Mayor and industry executives to the public at an event on November 16, 2010. Implementation of the action plan will continue throughout 2010 and into 2012.

Athletic & Outdoor: A Signature Industry for the Portland Region
A summary report of the findings of the Athletic & Outdoor Industry Cluster Analysis and a Call to Action for the industry. [.pdf]
Athletic & Outdoor Industry Cluster Analysis
The complete and in-depth technical study of the Athletic & Outdoor Industry and the basis for the summary report. [.pdf]
Action Plan
A specific plan for engaging industry representatives, entrepreneurs, and higher education. [.pdf]
A&O Objectives
A diagram that lays out the vision, mission, and objectives of Portland's industry-led efforts
Video: Inspired By Portland
Total Statewide Employment (OR) 14,000
Average Annual Wages $80,000 +
Annual Payroll $1.2 billion
Number of Firms 700
Number of Self-Employed 3200
Sales revenues of Self-Employed $95 million
Portland Share of Regional Employment 90%

What does this cluster contribute to the economy?

  • More than any other cluster PDC focuses on, the firms and entrepreneurs within these clusters have made Portland a force to be reckoned with in the Athletic & Outdoor world for the last thirty years.
  • Cluster companies and entrepreneurs have global ties that provide pathways for exporting local expertise, recruiting skilled workers, sourcing and nurturing innovation domestically and globally.
  • In addition to workers that Athletic & Outdoor companies employ, there is a significant amount of additional economic activity generated by contractors and freelancers that provide services primarily to this cluster but who are self-employed in the Portland region.
  • This cluster is instrumental in bringing young talent to the region – people drawn by Portland’s cool factor, affordability and live-work balance.
  • This cluster is synergistic with Portland and Oregon’s unique environment offering a diversity of recreational opportunities, and residents who are passionate about their outdoor activities. People from outside Oregon visit for the range of outdoor recreational opportunities, bringing tourism resources to the city, region and state.
  • Footwear Manufacturing and Bicycle Frame Building are both sectors that grew more than 70 percent between 2001 and 2006. Specialized Design grew more than 30 percent during that time.

Top PDC Initiatives

What is PDC doing? Why?
Entrepreneurial Peer-to-Peer Sessions A series of peer-to-peer sessions with 8-10 small to medium sized firms takes place on a bi-monthly basis. The sessions aim to help business owners learn from each other and focus on topics that are relevant to growing companies, such as social media, human resources and finance/accounting.

PDC also works to connect small businesses with state and federal resources to assist in international trade show participation.
OIA Eco Index Support PDC provided a matching grant for Portland area companies - Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Icebreaker, KEEN and Korkers - to participate in a cohort program, which provides customized training and resources around testing the next version of the OIA Eco Index. The Eco Index is an environmental impact assessment tool providing a common language and framework to benchmark and measure product-level sustainability throughout the supply chain.
Design Forum PDX Guided by an Advisory Committee of industry leaders representing architecture, design, higher ed, activewear and creative services, PDC facilitated the development of a business plan to determine if a materials resource library was feasible and economically sustainable. The business plan was completed in February 2010. Design Forum PDX has hired an Executive Director and are officially recognized as a 501 (c) (3) organization. For more information visit

Athletic & Outdoor Industry Website:


Athletic & Outdoor Industry Poster
Info-graphic illustrating the industry over time and the linkages between companies. Add your company to a future version of the map.

  • Nike
  • Icebreaker
  • Horny Toad (Nau)
  • Adidas
  • Keen
  • Yakima
  • Nautilus
  • Ziba
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Dunderdon
  • Benchmade
  • Pendleton
  • Danner/LaCrosse
  • Leatherman
  • Castelli