Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Columbia Sportswear to PDX: Thanks, but no

Despite intense wooing from Portland officials to lure Columbia Sportswear back to the city, Columbia has informed the city that it will stay put and expand in its current Washington County location.

City officials were stung by Columbia's 2001 flee to the suburbs, doubly so by Columbia president Tim Boyle's critical comments two years ago aimed at the city and its attitude toward the business community. They had hoped to save face by luring the company back into the city, but Boyle's letter to Commissioner Sam Adams on Monday threw water on those embers.

The interesting thing about the story in this morning's Oregonian is that, in the second paragraph, the company said that "moving the company to Portland was too costly compared with expanding its current site."

After reading that, one might think the high costs relate to the moving process. It's not until paragraph 10 that you read "it was more expensive for Columbia to move to inner Portland, where it would pay more for land and build taller buildings with covered parking."

So despite a five-year property tax waiver and other incentives, the land and construction costs (and the interrelated lack of parking) were still prohibitive to bringing a significant -- and growing -- company back into the city (Columbia employs more than 1,000 people). And, the city's role in gaming the process at the east end of the Burnside Bridge means that the Burnside Bridgehead site continues to sit empty and undeveloped, despite the flowery predictions to the contrary by the Portland Development Commission.

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  • At 8/30/2007 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is unfortunate for Burnside and Portland in general. I have several friends who work at Columbia Sportswear who live on the east side of Portland. A relocation there would have saved them money and time on commute.

    When someone leaves your town, it can be very hard to get them back.


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