Portland Innovation Quadrant


The Portland metro area serves as an economic driver for a state founded on wood products and natural resources and transformed by durable manufacturing. Its concentrated economy results in greater vulnerability to economic downturns. Since March 2009, metro area unemployment has been two percentage points above the national average and reached a full three percentage points higher in April 2009. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been among the nation’s five highest since spring 2009.

The City of Portland’s Economic Development Strategy aims to create 10,000 jobs in the next five years and lay the foundation to build the most sustainable economy in the world. This requires a balanced focus on job growth, innovation in sustainability, and equality of opportunity. Portland holds a unique competitive position as a national leader in the industries and talent supporting sustainability, which will translate into revenue and profit growth for the city’s existing business base. These industries include Clean Tech and Sustainable Industries, Advanced Manufacturing, Apparel, and Software. The city intends to expand exports, support the innovation efforts of higher education institutions, and align workforce development to match the skills needed in sustainable industries.

Innovation Quadrant
Click on the map for a larger view


Portland’s Innovation Quadrant (IQ) provides the physical manifestation of the strategy by enhancing the connections and collaboration between higher-education institutions, workforce development providers and private sector partners that are currently located in four districts in the Central City. The quadrant extends across the Willamette River. On the west side, Portland State University’s (PSU) University District and Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) Marquam Hill and Schnitzer campuses form the general boundaries. On the river's east side, in the Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID), the quadrant contains the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland Opera and Portland Community College (PCC). PSU, OHSU and PCC are the three largest higher education providers for the region. Their collaboration with one another and with the private sector represent the economic engine that drives the Innovative Quadrant. Together, the four districts of the quadrant are projected to grow by approximately 30,000 jobs and 11,000 households over the next 25 years.

TIGER Project improvements will offer reliable and timely access to IQ employment centers, educational opportunities and community services. These improvements will expand business access to markets. By facilitating new job creation and providing access for people and goods, the TIGER Project represents best practices in transportation planning to connect multimodal alternatives, enhance environmental initiatives and spur inner city redevelopment. This is accomplished by accommodating planned densities for households and employment close to the Central City core which are serviced by high-capacity transit corridors, furthering the city’s progress towards meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals. The TIGER Project supports the following Innovation Quadrant districts and institutions.

Districts Map
Click on the map for a larger view
  • University District: The University District encompasses PSU and the surrounding office and residential uses. The district supports nearly 6,000 jobs with recent annual job growth of 8%. PSU generates more than $1 billion annually in regional economic activity and has a vision to become one of the world's leading academic institutions in the field of sustainability. A 220,000-square-foot, fully funded expansion is reliant upon completion of the TIGER Project to facilitate the parcel's development.

  • Marquam Hill: Marquam Hill is located directly south of Portland’s Central City. It is the primary campus for OHSU, a top-20 nationally ranked academic medical research institution and the fourth largest private employer in the state. OHSU generates close to $3 billion annually in economic activity.

  • South Waterfront: This 120-acre district encompasses the Central City’s largest supply of remaining vacant land. Until 2004, former manufacturing operations left the district largely vacant, contaminated, and below the flood plain. In the past five years, public investment spurred the private development of six residential towers and a 400,000-square-foot OHSU building – the first in the institution’s district expansion, connected to Marquam Hill via a 0.5-mile aerial tram that was completed in 2006. Fully funded phase I Schnitzer Campus expansion plans rely on the completion of the TIGER Project to render adjacent parcels developable.

  • Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID): This Central City district provides valuable industrial, distribution and business incubator options within one-half mile of downtown. The CEID supports close to 16,000 diverse jobs as well as key workforce and cultural institutions. The Portland Community College Workforce Training Center, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Portland Opera all have existing and future planned investments directly adjacent to and reliant upon completion of the TIGER Project.

2009 Portland Innovation Quadrant