WHAT BEGAN AS A CONVERSATION
Meet the Portland IQ
The Portland Innovation Quadrant is the center of gravity for a flourishing innovation ecosystem that attracts talent, entrepreneurs, and investment while propelling Portland, Oregon, to global prominence at the intersection of health, science, technology, and product design. The Portland IQ represents a unique, collaborative opportunity for educational institutions, entrepreneurs, incubators, and companies — large and small — to jointly influence, advise, and build an innovation ecosystem that creates a better future for each and every one of us, intentionally.
What began with conversations among Portland’s leading public educational institutions — Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland State University (PSU), Portland Community College (PCC) — and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) as an effort to better align pursuits — from workforce development through physical infrastructure — has grown to incorporate a wealth of other collaborators, including corporations, entrepreneurs, incubators, healthcare institutions, industry organizations, signature research centers, and other innovative companies at every stage and scale.
The foundation of the Portland IQ formed when Portland's rapidly maturing higher-ed anchor institutions recognized that shared goals, overlapping constituencies, close proximity, increasing community investment, and complementary real-estate development projects presented a rare opportunity for collaboration — collaboration that would provide exponentially more value as a combined effort than it would as individual projects.
The first signs of this emerging collaborative ecosystem are already part of Portland, materializing in signature projects like the OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building, a joint project among OHSU, Oregon State University (OSU), and PSU located at the Tilikum Crossing bridgehead on Portland's South Waterfront. This area — fed by bicycle and pedestrian paths, light rail, streetcars, buses, and the Portland Tram — is quickly emerging as a hotbed for life science, medical device, and digital health startups.
Today, the inspiration from that initial project is already informing other collaborative and complementary pursuits like the $1 billion Knight Cancer Center and the creation of the Eastside Innovation Hub, a new lab-office space in the Central Eastside.
The intersection of health, science,
technology & Design
The Portland IQ offers a single point of unparalleled access to cross-industry and cross-functional work groups that unite industry, education, and government partners with innovators and entrepreneurs. In short, it is the premier portal into the region’s dynamic and growing innovation ecosystem.
Now more than ever, we need a more strategic, intentional, and coordinated approach that brings a constellation of innovation assets together to make big leaps forward. The Portland IQ embraces the opportunity to cultivate the spaces, networks, resources, and talent required to solidify Portland’s position as one of the most effective hubs of innovation in the world.
Building portland's future
Our primary work groups:
• Startup Resources
• Access and Career Pathways
• Business Development and Real Estate
True collaboration moves beyond discussion and conversation. It results in activity, tasks, and outcomes. It envisions, engages, and effects change. The Portland IQ is already realizing outcomes of this extraordinary and wide-reaching collection of partnerships and connections.
Some examples of collaborations already underway include:
- Eastside Innovation Hub: A $12 million investment by Summit Development Group in collaboration with private industry to provide wet-lab and office space for bioscience startups.
- Jasmine Block: A new collaborative building designed to house PSU-OHSU School of Public Health, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, PCC Dental Programs, and the PSU Graduate School of Education.
- PIE Shop: A collaboration among Autodesk, PIE (Portland Incubator Experiment), and Uncorked Studios to provide a modern manufacturing facility for the next generation of Internet of Things and connected-device companies.
But it’s far more than helping companies and organizations. The Portland IQ is designed to ensure collaboration as we build the infrastructure of Portland’s future. The Portland IQ exists at the intersection of economic growth and city-shaping, transformative real-estate development opportunities, including but not limited to OHSU on the South Waterfront, OMSI at the east bridgehead of the Tilikum Crossing, the ODOT Blocks in the Central Eastside Industrial District, and Zidell Yards at the west bridgeheads of Tilikum Crossing and the Ross Island Bridge.
Investments made in the Portland IQ in the next few years will shape the city for generations. These investments and the projects they spawn must be made with proper and measured intent. We stand ready to help inform this development for the good our city, for the good of innovation and creativity, and for the good of the people who call Portland home. That’s why we are partnering with EcoDistricts to ensure that social equity, community resilience, and climate adaptation and mitigation strategies are front and center for the Portland IQ.
Improve portland for everyone
Leveraging innovation for all
Portland IQ principles:
• Accessible to All
• Grow STEM Pipeline
• Collaborative Leadership
• Inclusive Growth
• Compact Urbanism
We recognize that we stand at a unique moment in the history of Portland, Oregon. A time where a confluence of advancing technologies, an ever increasing influx of people and companies from around the world, and a number of expansive real-estate developments are changing the face of the city.
But in many ways, we’ve been here before. We’ve risen to realize opportunities like this before. We’ve been here when we chose to enhance the density of the city with an urban growth boundary, eschewing the popular concept of urban sprawl and suburban living. We’ve been here when the promise of a new highway gutting eastside residential areas was faced down by the people of those communities. We’ve been here when we decided that, rather than blighting the center of the city’s retail environment with a garage, we would instead make that city block into Portland’s living room. We’ve been here when we chose economical and equitable transit options to connect our citizens ahead of wider roads and more freeways.
But Portland is far from perfect. We’ve made more than our fair share of mistakes. We’ve failed to effectively collaborate. We’ve ignored or silenced the voices of those affected by development decisions. We’ve allowed the ease of gentrification to supersede the difficult path of collaboration and shared equity.
We know that Portland is capable of being better. More thoughtful. And more collaborative. That’s why we’re building a hub that makes those conversations and potential collaborations more intentional, pervasive, expansive, and impactful across a variety of industries and influencers.
Portland is home to a wealth of creativity and innovation from the latest cancer research to award-winning creative agencies, from world-renowned artists and writers to engineers changing the way the world works, and from cutting-edge apparel design to the most interesting—and delicious—ice cream flavors you’ll ever encounter. The Portland IQ provides a center of gravity for all of this activity, promoting cross collaboration through physical proximity, affordable work space, startup programming, events, and education
When it comes to quality of life, few cities can compete with Portland’s walkable neighborhoods, world-class restaurants, dynamic cultural scene, and proximity to outdoor adventure. Portland’s rare combination of professional opportunity, vibrant culture, and progressive values is attracting more skilled workers every day. The costs of living and doing business remain lower than in other major tech centers like San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston. In aggregate, these features and assets make Portland an ideal home for innovation.
While talent is today’s greatest business asset, demand is high and supply is limited. Portland-based companies are able to draw from a highly skilled workforce that’s growing every day as people continue to move to the city and our local schools and universities connect students with the skills and networks to build careers and companies of their own.
People stay in jobs in Portland three to five years longer than in other leading innovation centers. That means companies can put fewer resources toward recruiting and training and more toward growing their business. And by preserving affordable office space and creating incentives to support businesses led by women and people of color, Portland is prototyping a way of working that fosters opportunity for all.